Amazon in Enfield? Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts issues letter supporting Connecticut HQ
SPRINGFIELD -- The Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts has issued a letter supporting a bid by Enfield, Connecticut to be selected as the second national headquarters of multi-billion dollar internet retail giant Amazon.
The Seattle-based company is looking to locate a second headquarters in North America that could result in as many as 50,000 full-time jobs over the next 15 years in the chosen area, with a capital investment of more than $5 billion.
"There are no state boundaries for our region's workforce, company supply chains and students," Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Economic Development Council, wrote in a letter supporting Enfield. "We urge Amazon to think big, not just locating to a single city, but to locate to a region that Amazon can dramatically change for the better with its significant investment."
The proposed location of Amazon in Enfield "will positively impact the Western Mass economy, provide equal access to employment opportunities, attract new talent to the region, many of the employees will choose to live in Western Mass, and Amazon will create a supply chain and attract new companies to the region, many of which will be located in Western Mass," Sullivan wrote.
The letter, dated Sept. 26, was addressed to Michael Ciriello, director of development services in Enfield.
Enfield is along the so-called "Knowledge Corridor," the economic region that includes Springfield and follows the Interstate 91 corridor in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Economic Development Council is a founding member of the Knowledge Corridor initiative to promote economic development, Sullivan said.
Enfield has applied for consideration as Amazon's second headquarters, according the Journal Enquirer in Enfield.
The Economic Development Council, as a supporting region, would anticipate "having a seat at the table in future discussions of share benefits and mitigation of any potential impacts from the Amazon project," Sullivan said.
On Monday, Springfield's City Council voted unanimously to support the effort to bring Amazon to the Knowledge Corridor, and to consider the region as a new home.
Councilor Bud L. Williams, who also serves as state representative in Springfield, joined in supporting the council resolution, but urged caution. He stated he was concerned an effort in the region might have an adverse effect on Boston's negotiations trying to attract Amazon.
"Boston is in the running," Williams said. "We don't want to get in the middle of negotiations."
Several councilors including the lead sponsor, Council President Orlando Ramos, disagreed with Williams, saying Springfield officials should be part of the regional pitch for Amazon, although Springfield alone cannot meet Amazon's stated needs.
Councilor Kenneth Shea said that if anything of such magnitude comes about, the Springfield area "has an obligation to make a pitch" for the city and region.
"If the other part of the state gets upset about it, I think that's too bad," Shea said.
Williams said it was important to make sure key officials in the region including Mayor Domenic J. Sarno are "in tune with" the Amazon effort -- but, he joined in the vote to support the regional effort.
The City Council proclamation states that Amazon prefers metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people, proximity to major highways and an international airport, and the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent, among other needs.
The Knowledge Corridor is "one of the country's highest academic concentrations and larges capacities for research, with 41 colleges and universities and 215,000 students," the resolution states.
It is conveniently close to major highways and Bradley International Airport, and offers a great lifestyle that includes "diverse natural environments, cities and towns rich with culture and history, and world-class educational, arts and entertainment opportunities," the resolution states.