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home : most recent : retail - food November 18, 2017


10/18/2017 6:09:00 PM
Gary, Hammond, Northwest Indiana make bids for Amazon's second headquarters, up to 50,000 jobs
Hammond pitched the State Line Generating Plant as a site for Amazon's second headquarters. Staff file photo by John J. Watkins
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Hammond pitched the State Line Generating Plant as a site for Amazon's second headquarters. Staff file photo by John J. Watkins
Gary took out an ad in the business section of the New York Times making a bid for Amazon's second quarters, which would bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment. Staff photo by Joseph S. Pete
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Gary took out an ad in the business section of the New York Times making a bid for Amazon's second quarters, which would bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment. Staff photo by Joseph S. Pete

Joseph S. Pete, Times of Northwest Indiana

Hammond, Gary and Northwest Indiana have submitted bids for Amazon's widely coveted second headquarters, which could invest $5 billion and employ up to 50,000, six-figure employees over the next 15 years.

Hammond, which filed its bid Wednesday evening, pitched the old State Line Generating Plant property on the coast of Lake Michigan. The 77-acre property was a landmark Art Deco coal-fired electrical generating station, which burned for 83 years before being shut down in 2012 and demolished.

"Although I think our chance is minuscule, I didn't feel right about passing up an opportunity like this even with a very small chance of success," Mayor Thomas McDermott said. "It doesn't hurt to try, even though we realize our chances are a long shot."

Gary also filed its bid last Thursday in conjunction with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the Northwest Indiana Forum. The bid focused on prospective sites in Gary's downtown but include prospective Northwest Indiana locations outside of the Steel City, in case Amazon preferred building on a greenfield site to redeveloping an urban area, Northwest Forum Chief Executive Officer Heather Ennis said.

The state government is backing bids from Northwest Indiana, the Indianapolis area and the Indiana suburbs of Louisville.

"It's exciting that Northwest Indiana is presenting itself as worthy for a project like this," she said. "We're continuing to build and continuing to prove ourselves, but we need to dream big. We need to get in the game and tell our story about the Region. Dreaming gets people excited. It's motivating."

Gary took out an ad in the business section of the New York Times to grab Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos's attention and launched a Moveon.org petition that more than 1,000 people have signed.

McDermott supports Gary's bid, but said the prospect of 50,000 high-paying corporate jobs was so tantalizing his city had to take a shot. He said Gary's vacant buildings were a potential advantage because it meant a lot of property would be available for redevelopment.

"As you know, I signed on as a supporter for Gary's bid and I truly hope that they are chosen," McDermott said. "They most likely have a better shot than does Hammond as they have the available space that is required under Amazon's RFP to grow, unlike us here in Hammond. We are landlocked in Hammond, which is a good problem to have. This lack of space in order to grow is one of Hammond's biggest liabilities in our RFP response to Amazon. However, we decided to go forward with our RFP response anyway in the hopes that we are chosen with this amazing opportunity."

Related Stories:
• Indianapolis, Fishers hush-hush about Amazon HQ2 bid
• University of Washington professor: Cities should think carefully about Amazon
• Northwest Indiana launches Amazon bid teams
• River Ridge partnering with Louisville on Amazon HQ2 application
• Louisville metro area submits 'strong' application for Amazon headquarters
• Louisville doesn't place in latest unofficial Amazon HQ2 ranking; Indianapolis 34th

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