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St. Louis and Missouri submit bids for Amazon's 2nd headquarters

Amazon's shipping operation, known as a "wish fulfillment center,'' in Edwardsville.
File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio
Amazon's shipping operation, known as a "wish fulfillment center,'' in Edwardsville.

Updated on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 1:15 p.m. with St. Louis's regional bid - St. Louis area leaders are taking a regional approach to attracting Amazon's second North American headquarters. They submitted a bid Thursday, which was the deadline set by the online retailer.  Financial details have not been released. Officials cite a non-disclosure agreement among Amazon, local governments, and states hoping to land the $5 billion investment.

Regional leaders say their bid involves both sides of the Mississippi River and downtown St. Louis. It's being supported by the governors of Missouri and Illinois along with a host of local political and business leaders.

All of that was expected.

But St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern says the unified effort is still significant. It's the first time he can recall such a bipartisan effort on a development project along the Mississippi.

"That is a big first," he said in a release from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

"It's a visionary proposal."

The unified bid is in addition to a plan submitted by the State of Missouri that includes equal support for St. Louis and Kansas City, along with an option to create a statewide innovation corridor involving both cities.

Updated on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 10:30 a.m. with details of Missouri's bid -

The state of Missouri on Thursday submitted its formal bid to bring Amazon's second North American headquarters to the Show-Me State. Thursday was the deadline set by the internet shopping giant for proposals to be considered.

Missouri's Chief Operating Officer Drew Erdmann says the state is giving equal support to both St. Louis and Kansas City in its pitch to Amazon. But he says they're giving the retailer another bold option, creating an innovation district that includes both cities in the long term.

"Start in one city but remember, and grow with us and develop with us to create an innovation corridor that literally spans from St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City," Erdmann said.

New technologies like a hyperloop and autonomous cars could make that achievable for a district campus within the next 20 years. Erdmann says Missouri may be the only state that offered a regional campus option.

He says while Amazon could start building in either city in 2019, long-term the campus could extend across the state.

"It's a possible vision. They're a bold company and we're challenging them to be bolder and imagine what you could do if you harnessed an entire region right in the heart of the United States."

The state of Missouri would not reveal any information regarding financial incentives offered in the Amazon bid.

St. Louis and Kansas City are on the long list of cities trying to attract the online retailer's HQ2. Amazon says it would be a roughly $5 billion investment, eventually creating 50,000 jobs. Higher-profile cities including Boston, Chicago, and Toronto, Ontario are also interested.

Amazon could announce a winner next year.

Our original story from Sept. 8, 2017 -

Amazon’s announcement of plans to build a second headquarters in North America has city leaders throughout the continent expressing interest in putting together a competitive bid.

The company’s new headquarters would amount to more than $5 billion in spending and house as many as 50,000 employees.

Almost immediately after Amazon’s announcement, regional leaders including St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announced they were interested in putting together a proposal to lure the company to the area.

Regional economic development leaders and the mayor of Edwardsville joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to talk about the value of having the company in the area and the process going forward to submit a bid.

“The magnitude of it is almost hard to grasp right now but we will put together a package that is very aggressive, innovative and [we will] really be responsive to Amazon,” said Sheila Sweeney, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

The community of Edwardsville knows well the impact of having Amazon jobs in the area. Two years ago, the company was interested in building a fulfillment center in the area that would employ about 600 people.

That and more became a reality. The company built two fulfillment centers in Edwardsville that collectively employ about 2,000 people with the possible addition of about 600 seasonal jobs.

“They’re a company that delivers,” said Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton, without a sense of irony.

“We have 29 different warehouses in our warehouse district that includes Procter & Gamble, Hershey and World Wide Technology. So there were about 5,000 employees there before Amazon came on board,” Patton said.

It’s no doubt that financial incentives will be part of St. Louis’ bid for the company’s new headquarters.The city of Edwardsville provided seven years of property tax abatement, infrastructure improvements and other incentives to lure Amazon.

“It is a transformational opportunity. It is at least five to 10 times the impact that the NGA has had,” said Otis Williams, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corporation. “The whole concept of more jobs in this region – no matter where it lands – it will be great for this region with the number of jobs that are proposed to come to this area.”

To listen to more of the discussion about what St. Louis has to offer and how the region is going about the process of submitting a competitive bid, listen to the audio below.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
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