Manchester on board as NH prepares to woo Amazon HQ2

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Maybe Manchester isn’t ready for (Amazon) Prime Time, but we should be swinging for those development fences, says Chamber President Mike Skelton. Above: Screenshot of GMCC website

MANCHESTER, NH – In anticipation of Gov. Chris Sununu’s Oct. 18 announcement that New Hampshire wants to be the home of the next Amazon headquarters, the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday night endorsed Manchester as a possible contender for the project.

Letters of support were submitted by Mayor Ted Gatsas, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Director Mark Brewer and Manchester Transit Authority Executive Director Mike Whitten, with the caveat that this is a “coordinated statewide effort” to attract the online retail giant to the Granite State.

“Should Amazon choose to expand to New Hampshire, the City of Manchester stands ready to work with our regional and state partners to ensure we are able to meet the housing, transportation, and workforce needs of the company,” wrote Gatsas.

In describing Manchester’s attributes, Gatsas detailed the anticipated growth of the city as a business and cultural hub:

“The City of Manchester is a thriving urban center of commerce and innovation in Northern New England, with easy access to Boston which significantly enhances New Hampshire’s bid to attract Amazon. Manchester’s historic Millyard is a thriving ecosystem of high-tech companies comprised of more than 800 businesses with 18,000 employees. Our Millyard is home to Dean Kamen’s ARMI biotech initiative, which is an ideal example of how an innovative, Amazon HQ-like, development can be successful in Southern New Hampshire. Amazon employees will also find Manchester offers a high quality of life, arts and culture amenities, a thriving downtown and nightlife, and a variety of housing options that cater to millennials and young professionals. The City of Manchester is very excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to bring Amazon to the region, and we look forward to working with you throughout this process and in the future.”

Of course, Manchester is not alone in its desire to host Amazon’s new headquarters – with a potential for 50,000 jobs and the promise of more than $5 billion in capital expenditures.

Londonderry is also wooing Amazon, touting its proximity to I-93, the airport, and home to a sprawling “shovel-ready” site at Woodmont Commons.

It’s a hot project that has got major cities around the country head-over-heels in love with the notion of being Amazon central –  officials in Tucson, Ariz., uprooted a  21-foot-tall cactus which they tried to send to the company’s headquarters in Seattle. Birmingham, Alabama, built giant Amazon shipping boxes and displayed them around the city. And a Kansas mayor bought a thousand items from Amazon and posted online reviews for each one – no word on whether he was on the clock when he did that.

BusinessInsider.com details the “$5 billion dollar bidding war” erupting around the country over the promise of hosting Amazon’s HQ, including the “craziest proposals” from around the U.S.

So it seems if New Hampshire is serious, it’s going to have to do more than send love letters.

And yes, it’s likely an exercise in futility anyway for New Hampshire, based on some New York Times “match-game” math which has already concluded that Denver is a perfect demographic match, based on a process of elimination.

But we can still dream – and we should dream, says Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mike Skelton. In September he blogged about the Amazon opportunity, acknowledging that while Manchester isn’t a perfect fit based on the retailers stated site requirements, which includes on-site access to mass transit. But Skelton says it’s time for Manchester to “start thinking and acting like we are capable of seizing these ‘swing for the fences’ type of opportunities.” 

You can read more here on Amazon’s Request for Proposal requirements, which are due by Oct. 19.

About Carol Robidoux 5552 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.