Buffalo, Rochester team up to make pitch for new Amazon headquarters

Posted at 10:45 AM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-12 17:51:39-04

Two cities are joining forces to entice Amazon’s proposed second North American headquarters (HQ2) to come to WNY. 

Invest Buffalo Niagara (InBN) and Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE) announced a joint collaboration between the Buffalo and Rochester metro regions to build H2q here. 

“In assessing the full scope of the Amazon HQ2 RFP opportunity, it was apparent that by linking our efforts, the combined Buffalo Rochester Metro Corridor can offer a proposal that is both compelling and extremely competitive,” said InBN President and CEO Tom Kucharski and GRE Interim President and CEO Matt Hurlbutt. “With over 2.2 million people, a very talented labor pool, and an extremely livable community, our organizations are excited to join forces in attempting to draw the interest of Amazon.” 

On September 7, 2017, Amazon issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a project related to potential site locations for the company’s second corporate headquarters (HQ2), at which Amazon will hire as many as 50,000 new full-time employees with an average annual total compensation exceeding $100,000 over the next 10-15 years, following commencement of operations. The project is expected to require over $5 billion in capital expenditures. “This collaboration demonstrates the undeniable connectivity that already exists between our two great communities,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. “In addition to several excellent site options and a low-cost operating environment, we believe that it is our people, highly-skilled workforce, world-class colleges and universities, and strong regional competency in radio-frequency identification (RFID), sustainable packaging, flight controls, drone technology, high-performance computing, software development, and data analytics that will help our proposal stand out.”

 “Over the years, some of the most innovative companies in the world have called Buffalo and Rochester home,” said City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “We look forward to seeing that pioneering history showcased in the proposal alongside the recent resurgence that our cities are experiencing, be it through notable downtown commercial and residential developments, tech and startup industry expansion and activity, affordable housing and good jobs, or the newfound urban vibe that has been attracting millennials and working professionals to the region.” 

The combined Buffalo Rochester Metro Corridor submission will provide detailed responses to the various components of the Amazon RFP, while expounding upon several potential proposal differentiators, including the well-documented affordability of the region, low operating costs for business located there, ease of travel—via bicycle, public transit, or automobile, and extensive access to leisure/lifestyle activities considered attractive to the prototypical Amazon worker.

 The proposal document will feature dynamic site locations, information on the region’s existing and evolving innovation eco-system, and background on the area’s 60+ colleges and universities—including the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), University of Rochester, and University at Buffalo, amongst others. Additionally, the submission will include the Buffalo Rochester Metro Corridor’s central location within the internationally significant U.S./Canada community, as well as its ties to a multitude of Canadian businesses, universities and researchers, relationships which have proven to be mutually beneficial for Upstate New York’s talent and technologies. “While there is little doubt that we will be up against some stiff competition, our team is committed to submitting a sophisticated, robust proposal that shines a positive light on the Greater Buffalo Rochester Metro Corridor, no matter the outcome,” concluded Kucharski and Hurlbutt. Various area companies and business organizations, university and community leaders, and elected city and county officials are also contributing to the efforts.