Why ROC: Amazon bid

Local News

Rochester is among 238 cities which submitted proposals to land Amazon’s second headquarters.

Matt Hurlbutt of Greater Rochester Enterprise explained what’s at stake and why he believes the Flower City is a contender to land the coveted prize during our Why ROC conversation Wednesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“As we’ve talked about before, this is a very unusual process,” Hurlbutt acknowledged. “Amazon announced September 7 that they would be seeking a second headquarters, spending about five billion dollars over a 15 to 20 year period and adding as many as 50,000 jobs with an average salary of $100,000, so every community in the United States and many beyond have issued requests and proposals and options for them to consider.”

Rochester combined with Buffalo in it’s effort to attract Amazon to the region. A new report from Moody’s Analytics ranking Rochester as a top four contender has bolstered the bid. “It really goes to our talent,” noted Hurlbutt of the findings. “One of the things that we talk about all of the time at Greater Rochester Enterprise is the fact that we’ve got great technical talent and capabilities. People in this region are very smart. We’ve got smart companies here and we also have a great quality of life, and a lower cost of doing business.”

Hurlbutt the analysis from Moody’s touches on part of what separates Rochester from other Amazon applicants. “I think it’s part of what we just talked about, an outstanding quality of life. We also afford them the ability to be transformational in upstate New York. We have a lower cost of doing business and we have great technology talent, outstanding colleges and universities – more than 60 colleges and universities between the two metros – as well as the fact that we’ve got expertise in optics, photonics, imaging, RFID technology, data science, health informatics, pharmaceutical research related to our universities.”

As Amazon begins to sift through the submitted proposals, Hurlbutt said Rochester is already focused on what’ next. “The next stage will be most likely a deeper dive into some labor analytics, as well as showing that you have the talent, the graduates, the ability to attract people to your region, so we expect we’ll be getting some questions on that, as well as a little more detail on the real estate side, and unfortunately those are things I really can’t get into right now.”

All of the work that has gone into luring Amazon to the area can have a ripple effect with other companies as well. Hurlbutt said, “We believe we’ve got a great story to tell, and not just for Amazon, but for other technology companies that should really take advantage of the talent, the business environment we have here, our connectivity – which is something that we talk about in the office quite a bit, but the fact that you can get a problem solved with a phone call in this community is really outstanding.”

Amazon is expected to announce where it will locate its second headquarters next year.

For more information about Greater Rochester Enterprise, click here.

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