Dear Mr. Bezos: An Open Letter From Everywhere

Dear Mr. Bezos:

With apologies to Pittsburgh and Philly and the Carolinas, the Lower Hudson Valley has what it takes, and it’s all one quick drone flight from Manhattan. Why not Rockland?

I do not believe Grand Rapids needs Amazon. But I do believe that Amazon needs Grand Rapids.

My name is Gary and I am a legacy city in the northwest corner of Indiana. I was born in 1906 and my parents were Elbert Gary and U.S. Steel… I am ready to welcome a new business to town—but not just any business, one like Amazon that will transform me for my citizens.

Yes, we know you have more than 50 cities across the country putting in bids to house your multi-billion-dollar headquarters, and you’re probably thinking: Why York County? Or maybe you’re thinking: Where’s York County?

As someone who is from the Ohio River Valley and someone who has learned about, read about, wrote about and consumed Kentucky/Indiana all my life, I want to put a bug in your ear about this place — which you probably aren’t considering… yet.

“If ever a city truly deserved a prime break, it’s Flint, Michigan.”

As the elected leader of the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council, I am writing you to express our sincere offer of partnership …  Every construction project undertaken in Philadelphia is constructed by members of our Council. We pride ourselves on safe, quality construction accomplished on time and on budget.

You’ve already heard it from Madonna: We’re one of the coolest cities in America…. After emerging from the largest municipal bankruptcy in history in 2014, Detroit is drawing major private investment. A recent CBRE Group Inc projects the city’s downtown will enjoy $5.4 billion in capital investment between now and 2020. That level of attention from the business community isn’t happening by accident, and an investment from Amazon could be the catalyst that transforms Detroit into the Silicon Valley of the Midwest.

I’d like to suggest Peoria. I know what you’re thinking — why would the fastest growing company in the country want to hunker down in debt-ridden Illinois? Why come to central Illinois when high-tech corridors are calling from Boston to Austin? The answer to both is the opportunity to be distinctive and do some good — not just for your company and employees but for a region in the heartland of America.

As a millennial who has lived and traveled all over the world, I have never seen a place that has more potential greatness than Bridgeport, Connecticut. Our streets once hummed with an energy that powered technology and industry forward. Driving through downtown, you can still feel that energy in the air. We are a city that knows its history, knows what it can be and is impatient to remake itself anew.

I want to make the case for Amazon to strongly consider Cincinnati… We are long shots, to be sure. We can’t give you an ocean, or even a sound, but what we can give you is land, lots of land with a pretty river running through it, an educated workforce that is sophisticated yet down to earth and access to more than half of the United States’ population within half a day’s drive.

Dreamers and doers. That is what Albuquerque is made of. Here you will find a community where people think big and are passionate about creating, where transformational ideas come to life. Albuquerque is a city on the rise that welcomes innovation and collaboration.

I’m proud to say Milwaukee meets all your requirements and even prouder to say our incredible renaissance would compliment your vision. You will learn more about all the great assets we possess as a city and region when we submit our proposal next month. But I couldn’t wait to let you know how excited we would be to have you on America’s “Fresh Coast.”

The key resource that Amazon is looking for is the ready availability of experienced software programmers and STEM talent. Hartford is always mentioned in lists of the top 20 regions in the U.S. for programmers (mainly due to Hartford’s long history with the insurance industry, which was a very early adopter of computers). Experienced scientific and engineering personnel are also readily available.

If ever a city truly deserved a prime break, it’s Flint, Michigan. I know you’ve not considered Flint, Jeff, and I can’t blame you for that. It’s been suffering, for sure, but if you jump on board now, you can have your second headquarters and reshape the future of one of the greatest hard-luck cities in the world.

The Bronx offers many unique advantages when compared to other municipalities. We have seen a record investment in our infrastructure, and we are leading the way in job creation. Companies from all over the world are taking a fresh look at The Bronx, and our existing companies are expanding their presence in our borough. With smart planning and collaboration, Amazon could become a key piece of our ongoing renaissance.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Amazon has rejected the 21-foot (6.4-meter) Saguaro cactus that southern Arizona economic leaders planned to send as a gift to CEO Jeff Bezos, in a bid to attract the company’s second headquarters. “Unfortunately,” an Amazon tweet read, “we can’t accept gifts (even really cool ones).”

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Dan Bigman
Dan Bigman is Editor-in-Chief and Chief Content Officer for Chief Executive Group, which includes Chief Executive magazine, Corporate Board Member magazine, and ChiefExecutive.net.

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