Christie picks Newark as state’s Amazon bid; announcement today

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Newark has been selected by the governor’s office to be the state’s endorsed recommendation in the effort to land Amazon’s second headquarters, ROI-NJ has learned.

Two sources familiar with the decision told ROI-NJ that Newark was the selection. Both sources asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the process.

Gov. Chris Christie is expected to make a formal announcement at 1 p.m. Monday at the Rutgers Business School in the city. He will be joined by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, the city’s former mayor.

Christie made the decision after hearing presentations about the state’s four finalists — Newark, Jersey City, New Brunswick and Camden — from officials from the state Economic Development Authority last Wednesday.

Last month, Amazon announced it was seeking a location for a second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, which could bring $5 billion in spending and as many as 50,000 employees to the chosen state.

Bids are due to the Seattle-based e-commerce giant by Thursday.

The state’s three runners-up (and any other municipalities) are still able to make a proposal to Amazon, but the bid would not come with the state’s recommendation.

Amazon’s announcement that it was seeking a site for a second headquarters created a frenzy among municipalities throughout North America.

When making the announcement on Sept. 7, Amazon detailed a number of requests, including but not limited to cities that have a metropolitan area of more than 1 million people, access to mass transit, a major highway (within two miles) and an international airport (within a 45-minute drive).

The company also wanted high-speed internet coverage, proof of an educated workforce pool and connections to universities.

(READ MORE from ROI-NJ on the governor’s choice.)

It’s unclear how the selection of Newark stacks up with others in these areas.

New Jersey, however, has made known it is willing to meet Amazon’s request for financial incentives, as Christie, along with Democratic and Republican leaders in the state Legislature have pledged to pass legislation that would produce $5 billion in tax incentives.

The gubernatorial candidates, Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Democrat Phil Murphy, have both said they will support the measure.

But, first things first.

Earning the recommendation of the governor’s office is just Step One. Newark now takes a place among what many believe will be at least 50 municipalities formally bidding for the project.