JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Who wants Amazon’s second headquarters in their city? Basically everyone.
Missourians and cities across the nation have utilized several different avenues in their attempt to draw the attention of Amazon, including Kansas City Mayor Sly James’ reviewing of Amazon products, Tucson’s sending of a 21-foot saguaro cactus, or Stonecrest, Ga.’s offer to build a city and name it after the company, but the latest pitch from Missouri is looking to “be bold.”
“We want to challenge you, Amazon, to think differently, more expansively in both time and space, more boldly in terms of impact,” the final plan, issued by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, reads.
Many cities across the nation have put forward bids of their own, hoping to land what looks to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the promised land of economic prosperity: a $5 billion project that could amount to 50,000 high-paying jobs.
Both St. Louis and Kansas City have made their own pitches to the online retail giant, but Greitens’ team says Amazon could have both St. Louis and Kansas City if they choose Missouri as the location for its second headquarters.
“While each proposal stands on its own, I also encourage you to envision what Amazon could achieve by partnering with us to unleash the combined strength of the entire State of Missouri,” Greitens writes to Bezos.
In short, Missouri’s proposal is asking Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to look not at what Missouri is, but what it could be.
In a proposal shared by Governor Eric Greitens on Thursday, the final day of bidding, the state’s plan was unveiled, revealing a proposal full of hope and ambition, full of innovative ideas – that have yet to be realized.
The two biggest components to their pitch: the city of Columbia and the Hyperloop.
“While considering Kansas City and St. Louis on their independent merits, we also hope that you will consider how powerful it would be for Amazon’s future if these two great cities in the very Heartland of America could both be part of Amazon’s HQ2. Imagine that Columbia – Missouri’s fifth largest city in the middle of our state, a vibrant university community – could also be part of your HQ2 solution,” the proposal reads. “Look further and see HQ2 as more than just a campus, but rather an integrated series of campuses linked to form an innovation corridor that stretches from the banks of the Mississippi in St. Louis in the east, across I-70 through Columbia, to Kansas City on the Missouri River in the west.”
But even more ambitious, and potentially attractive, is the promise of the Hyperloop. The high-speed transportation system could revolutionize the transportation of goods and potentially support more growth and expansion.
Rob Lloyd, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, has committed to working with Missouri to move the feasibility study forward, and members of the project have called the proposed route in Missouri, from St. Louis to Kansas City, one of the “best we’ve ever seen.”
If the hyperloop were put in place and activated, it would transport passengers and cargo on a route parallel I-70, cutting a four-hour-drive down to just 25 minutes or so.
In addition to that, the plan also points out tax incentives the state can offer, as well as the educational opportunities, tax structure, and AAA bond rating. But the proposal falls short of actually saying how much taxpayer money they are willing to commit, nor the specifics of the incentives.
Check out the proposal in its entirety here:
Here’s some of the reactions from Missouri legislators on social media:
— Jason Holsman (@JasonHolsman) October 19, 2017
— Elijah Haahr (@elijahhaahr) October 19, 2017
— Caleb Rowden (@calebrowden) October 19, 2017
— Lauren Arthur (@RepLaurenArthur) October 19, 2017
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.