Last week Mercer County announced it was putting together a proposal to lure Amazon’s new headquarters to the area (U.S. 1, September 13). Now the county will have to first pass muster and be included among a unified proposal sent on behalf of the entire state.

Governor Chris Christie announced the Partnership for Action — a group comprising the New Jersey Economic Development Agency, the Business Action Center, and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education — would coordinate the state’s bid to woo Amazon.

“We have restored New Jersey’s status as a premier location for business, a fact demonstrated by every economic indicator — from eight years of steady employment growth and rising wages, to the historic number of new businesses filing annually to open in our state,” Christie said in a press release. “The Garden State is an epicenter of innovation with a burgeoning pool of tech talent, and we plan to make a compelling case to Amazon as they locate a second corporate headquarters.”

Amazon announced it was looking for a site somewhere in the U.S. for a second headquarters, where 50,000 employees could potentially work. In a request for proposals, the company said it would highly consider “incentives” (tax breaks) when choosing where to build.

The Partnership for Action (PFA) was soliciting proposals from every county in the state. “From our ideal location and highly educated labor pool to our world-class infrastructure and top-notch research universities, New Jersey offers inherent advantages to businesses operating in an increasingly global marketplace,” said Michele Brown, president and CEO of Choose New Jersey. “Together with the state’s powerful incentives and responsive government, New Jersey has a compelling case to make as we pursue this exciting opportunity.”

In the announcement the PFA said it was looking for a location that matched the specifications Amazon set forth in its request for proposals: “Metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people; urban or suburban locations with a significant labor pool with expertise in computer software development and engineering, executive management, legal, and accounting; direct access to mass transportation on site; and, real estate and infrastructure to support a minimum 500,000 square feet of space that can expand over time to support up to 8 million square feet.”

NJEDA executive officer Melissa Orsen said the state has a better chance of winning the bid if it submits only the strongest proposal, including only locations that meet the criteria.

“We view this as an opportunity to transform the state’s economic landscape, and a coordinated and comprehensive response to the RFP will allow us to put our best foot forward as we showcase why Amazon should choose to locate in New Jersey,” she said in a statement. “The PFA has successfully worked with local and county officials over the last seven years to spur business growth and expand employment opportunities, and we look forward to continuing this partnership as we seek what would likely be the largest corporate investment in our state’s history.”

The proposals are due to the PFA on Tuesday, September 26 (

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