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Amazon asks Richmond to bid for new headquarters

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is working to convince Amazon to open its second headquarters in the Commonwealth. And despite its size and lack of mass transit, the governor believes Richmond has a shot and landing the prime corporate prize.

Governor McAuliffe discussed the Amazon issue Wednesday morning on WTOP radio in Washington, D.C.

“When I talk about Amazon, this is a Capital Region project. Wherever it goes it will benefit D.C., Maryland, and Virginia [assuming it chooses that region],” the governor said. “My guesstimate is that in Virginia, we are going to have probably three, four, five locations bid.

“The original RFP (request for proposal) said they wanted a million people, they wanted a metro, or mass transit, and they wanted an international airport.

“Clearly, if you look at that, Northern Virginia and the Loudon area, and the Fairfax area, the Prince William area – perfectly suits that.

“Then I had Virginia Beach – which was also mentioned at the top for being the best millennial city in America – the mayor reached out to me, Will Sessoms, and Levar Stoney, the mayor of Richmond reached out to me, so I checked with Amazon.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (left); People walk past the signature glass spheres under construction at the Amazon corporate headquarters on June 16, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

“And [I] said here’s your RFP, [Virginia Beach and Richmond] don’t have mass transit, but they have other assets. And [Amazon] said please have them bid.

It’s not exactly as the RFP would say, but we got until the 19th, so, I believe for sure we are going to have four or five locations bid.”

The governor said he has a consultant helping Virginia Beach and Richmond put together sales pitches for Amazon. Money, he said, he would not spend unless he thought those cities had a chance.

“I was specifically told, please have them bid,” he said.

When asked earlier this month about the Amazon bid, Richmond City Hall was tight lipped about its plans.

“Officials are constantly receiving, soliciting and pursuing economic development opportunities for the city,” Jim Nolan, a spokesman for Mayor Stoney, said. “That said, it is city policy not to discuss any plans for any prospective project, real or imagined.”

Cities are already eager to be the new home for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Earlier this month, Amazon announced plans to open a second headquarters in North America. Dubbed “HQ2,” the facility will cost at least $5 billion to construct and operate and will employ as many as 50,000 workers.

Cities and regional economic development organizations have been invited to submit proposals, and several cities have already expressed interest in the possibility of Amazon’s new headquarters coming to their turf.