Long Island, New York City and Westchester County together form one of four regions in the state vying for Amazon.com’s second headquarters in North America, a top state official said Thursday.
Howard Zemsky, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s economic development czar, said the metropolitan area, Buffalo/ Rochester, Syracuse/Utica and Albany each submitted bids to the online retailer by Thursday’s deadline.
Amazon wants to have another headquarters besides its Seattle office. Dubbed Amazon HQ2, the project promises to create 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in capital investment.
The company is accepting applications only from areas with populations of at least 1 million, leading upstate cities and counties to come together to submit bids.
The winner is to be announced next year.
At a Manhattan board meeting of the Empire State Development business-aid agency, Zemsky said Thursday each application includes a letter from Cuomo to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos touting New York’s attributes.
Cuomo wrote “commercial innovation is embedded in New York’s DNA,” and he compared the Erie Canal to Amazon’s online shopping innovations. “From the booming tech industry to our vibrant film industry, from agriculture and food processing to logistics to aerospace and drone testing, we lead in the industries that align with your company,” he said.
Cuomo also highlighted the state’s legalization of same-sex marriage, new family-leave policy and the eventual $15 minimum wage. “We believe that economic progress and social progress go hand in hand,” the governor said.
The state is offering “competitive, creative and comprehensive” incentives to Amazon, Zemsky said, but he declined to provide details. The grants, state tax credits and other incentives will be the same regardless of which New York location Amazon selects. “This decision will not be determined by the incentives, it will be one of many factors,” Zemsky said.
He predicted the sal aries paid to Amazon HQ2 employees will total $125 billion over 20 years.
Cesar A. Perales, board director of Empire State Development, asked Zemsky if he was concerned that no New York State communities are being mentioned in media reports on the top contenders. Zemsky said no, because “some of the metros that were selected [by the media] are way off the mark in terms of what I think [Amazon] is looking for.”
Last month the online retailer expanded its presence in Manhattan, adding an office in the 5 Manhattan West development, where 2,000 people will eventually work.
Amazon also has a warehouse in Bethpage.