How did the top officials in Newark react to a published report that Amazon was considering pulling out of its deal with New York City to create a new corporate campus that comes with 25,000 jobs?
With the quiet confidence of a city that knows it has a lot to offer, should Amazon decide to reopen the process.
You can be sure the top leaders, including Mayor Ras Baraka and Newark Alliance CEO Aisha Glover, saw the report. And that they discussed it. But they did so during the normal course of business. And they didn’t create any new plans of action.
So said Glover, who continues to be the point person on Newark’s quest to get part of Amazon’s HQ2 project.
“There are not any kind of open or pending items that we’re working on,” she told ROI-NJ Friday.
Glover said the report certainly was a spark in the day, but she said it didn’t change the position Newark has had since Amazon released an RFP for a second headquarters in September 2017.
“We’ve been saying, from the beginning, that it makes complete sense to split it between two sites,” she said. “We just hoped it would be Newark and New York City, not Crystal City (Virginia) and New York City.”
Glover said Newark has been restating its attributes since November, when Amazon selected Northern Virginia and Long Island City to share what was proposed as a 50,000-job second headquarters, one that came with the promise of a $5 billion investment.
So, when the Washington Post reported Friday morning that Amazon was considering pulling out of New York City due to resistance from some local groups and politicians, Glover said Newark decided to stay the course.
That includes the approximately $8 billion in tax incentives, which remain available. As do all of the potential locations the city offered.
“We are reaffirming our position, our assets, our selling points,” she said. “And reminding everybody that Newark is in the New York City metropolitan area, which folks seem to forget.”
For that reason, Glover said Newark would be happy to share New York’s portion of the award.
“If it comes to a place where it’s split and not a complete pullout, then I think both cities benefit,” she said. “Quite frankly, we’ve been saying that for a while now.
“We don’t necessarily have to take all 25,000 jobs, but we would be open to having a conversation.”
Glover, who served as the head of the bid in her previous role as CEO of the Newark Economic Community Development Corp., reaffirmed the organizational structure as it stands now.
“The city is still taking the lead,” she said. “I am still the city’s point person. And the city is working in partnership with the state.”
So, don’t expect any big moves by Newark following this report. Glover said the city is happy to keep making its case about its tremendous attributes.
Glover, however, did say the city always is ready to up its game.
“This is Newark,” she said. “We’re not afraid to be bold.”