Cincinnati, Newport, Liberty Twp sites included in regional bid for Amazon HQ2

Cincinnati, Newport, Liberty Twp sites included in regional bid for Amazon HQ2
In this Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, photo, an Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati, Newport and Liberty Township are among contenders in a regional bid with other cities across the nation to convince Amazon to build its second North American headquarters in the Tri-State.

Thursday is the deadline for bids. Amazon is expected to announce their selection next year.

The online retail giant is seeking locations to a $5 billion facility to employ as many as 50,000 workers on either 100 acres for new construction or a 500,000-square-foot building. Cities across the U.S. are vying for the bid.

"The Cincinnati region is a competitive choice for large companies," wrote State Rep. George Lang (R-West Chester Township) in an Oct. 5 letter to Jeff Bezos, Amazon's president and CEO obtained by FOX19 NOW.

"The community is accessible for all and works together to create an environment for companies to thrive. This community understands investing in itself is the only way to make lasting change and I invite you to be a part of the renaissance.

"I strongly believe Amazon will find Greater Cincinnati provides the company an unparalleled competitive edge," Lang wrote. "Amazon will have access to the resources, infrastructure and talent it needs to thrive. By locating in Greater Cincinnati, Amazon can attract regional talent from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

"I understand Ohio and Kentucky are working together to offer Amazon a competitive, unique opportunity that could include a number of opportunities for Amazon," Lang's letter states.

"I am confident that two states have never worked this closely to bring one unified offer to a company – your choice to locate in the Cincinnati region would represent a historic collaboration that unites three cities and two states."

REDI Cincinnati, a regional business attraction and expansion organization, is compiling a joint application with input from city leaders and economic development firms in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has said their package includes at least two Ohio Riverfront locations: The Banks in Cincinnati and the 13-acre Ovation site in Newport, according to our news partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

He told CNBC last month that Cincinnati would be "very aggressive with tax incentives to land this incredible opportunity."

It was not immediately clear Wednesday what location in Liberty Township is being proposed.

Lang said it is in the northern portion.

"They've got so much land up there that's undeveloped and so much that has potential for development," he said.

"Liberty Township is uniquely located to be very attractive to Amazon for their new headquarters.  Combined with West Chester, this location has become the economic epicenter of the Cincinnati Dayton corridor.  If Liberty is selected, their location will allow the positive impact of this project to be felt throughout the entire region."

Non-disclosure agreements prevent REDI from releasing details on potential sites or economic incentives that will be part of their application, said Erin Rolfes, REDI spokeswoman.

"We think that Cincinnati is competitive and meets all the requirements," she said.

Liberty Township Trustee Steve Schramm said Wednesday REDI approached the township with the idea.

"We've made a play for it," Schramm said. "It got passed up to us from REDI Cincinnati. They know more than we do. We were part of a regional pitch. This has been kept very, very quiet.

"I'm excited at the thought. I think it would be an amazing add to the region. It would have to be a regional play.....Nobody could handle the size of a project like this alone

"It really wasn't on our radar screen, but when we started doing the math, with what West Chester and Liberty Township have to offer with a well-trained workforce, we thought 'well, we have as much as everybody else.'"

Liberty Township is located in southeastern Butler County along Interstate 75 between Cincinnati and Dayton.

In the last 20 years, it has undergone an explosion of growth and doubled its residents to nearly 40,000.

Most recently, the $750 million Liberty Center mixed use development with restaurants, shopping, apartments and a hotel opened on the northwest corner of I-75 and Liberty Way in 2015.

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