Rep. Tim Ryan wants Amazon to consider NEO for HQ


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan wants Amazon to consider Northeast Ohio for its next headquarters after pulling out of New York.

But not only doesn’t the company have any plans to look elsewhere, this area would be a longshot at best if it did.

Ryan of Howland, D-13th, wrote a letter Friday to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos urging him to build the company’s headquarters in Northeast Ohio. Amazon announced Thursday it was canceling its plans to build its second headquarters in New York City after some politicians and activists objected to the nearly $3 billion in incentives the state and city were offering the company.

Amazon announced in November it had chosen the Long Island City section of Queens for one of two new headquarters, with the other in Arlington, Va. Both would get 25,000 jobs. A third site in Nashville, Tenn., would get 5,000.

Amazon said Thursday it had no current plans to find a replacement location. The company said it will spread some of those 25,000 jobs planned for New York around at other Amazon sites in the U.S. and Canada and expand its existing New York offices.

More than 230 municipalities in North America competed for HQ2, taking part in a monthslong bidding war that Amazon eagerly fomented. Cities offered billions in inducements. In New Jersey, state and local governments put $7 billion in incentives on the table as part of the Newark bid.

No location in Northeast Ohio made the cut last year of the top 20 potential locations chosen by Amazon. The closest city was Pittsburgh. The only city in Ohio on that list was Columbus.

Ryan said Friday: “Northeast Ohio is a perfect fit for Amazon to build its second headquarters.”

He touted the area's transportation infrastructure, “business-friendly environment” and universities.

“We have people here ready to work, and the dedication and commitment they show every day is second to none,” Ryan said. “I will work with Jeff Bezos and leaders in our community to make this a reality. And I hope Amazon can consider Northeast Ohio as their newest home.”

In October 2017, early in the process, the Cafaro Co. offered its Enterprise Park in Niles as a potential Amazon site. But the site failed to meet several of Amazon’s key preferences including not being a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people, not having the workforce needed to fill up to 50,000 jobs at the headquarters, not within 30 miles of a major population center and not within a 45-minute drive from an international airport.

Anthony Cafaro Jr., Cafaro Co. co-president, said: “I haven’t given a specific thought about considering the Mahoning Valley again. Obviously it would be outstanding for job development for the area. I’m not sure how feasible it is for us. [Amazon] had a short list before.”

Sarah Boyarko, chief operating officer for the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, said if Amazon is looking for a new location and changes its criteria, “we would be interested. If they do come back around and adjust their criteria, we’d consider a submission.”

Contributor: Associated Press

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