Six other N.J. municipalities submit bids for Amazon HQ2

(Editor’s note: This story was updated Friday with the addition of a sixth bidder.)

At least six New Jersey municipalities that were not selected by the state are putting in a bid to land Amazon’s second headquarters.

As of the application deadline, Thursday, Atlantic City, Camden, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Trenton and the Kearny Point complex have indicated they will compete for the project, which Amazon says will create 50,000 jobs.

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie said Newark will have the state’s support in the process.

New Jersey plans to offer Amazon an incentive package worth $7 billion. Amazon has said it will invest $5 billion to develop millions of square feet of office space.

George Sowa, the founding CEO of Greater Trenton, essentially said you have to be in it to win it.

“Clearly, this is an extremely competitive process, with cities across North America courting Amazon for this potential $5 billion second headquarters project, but we can’t showcase the possibilities and demonstrate our abilities by sitting on the sidelines,” he said.

Sowa said the plan submitted by Greater Trenton in conjunction with the city of Trenton and Mercer County, showcases 14.3 million square feet of highly transit-orientated mixed-use development among five interconnected campuses in the city that includes office, residential, parking and retail space.

The plan concentrates development at the Trenton Transit Center and creates a linear-connected campus by incorporating opportunities along both of Trenton’s existing light rail stations. Further, the plan showcases development opportunities in Trenton’s downtown by connecting to, and through, the downtown to provide development and recreational activities utilizing the city’s extensive riverfront and network of parks.

Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson said the application is meant to show the city’s willingness to attract companies.

“Trenton is open for business; that’s the message we’re sending not only to Amazon, but to businesses of all sizes,” Jackson said.

Chris Paladino, the president of the New Brunswick Development Corp., said the city meets all of the requirements.

“New Brunswick’s Hub Innovation and Technology District offers a unique mix of urban, suburban and university-based sites, historically rooted in innovation,” Paladino said. “New Brunswick is a transit-oriented city with a livable, bustling downtown, corporate headquarters, and home to Rutgers University, graduating future Amazonians in such disciplines as computer science, supply chain management, engineering, marketing and management.

Paladino feels the city’s history of development makes it the ideal place to take on such a mammoth project.

“New Brunswick’s strong record of public-private partnerships has become a national model for successful redevelopment,” he said. “In short, New Brunswick can execute at this level.”

The Camden County Freeholder Board, along with the city of Camden and Coopers Ferry Partnership, submitted a 197-page document in an effort to land the tech giant.

Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli said the city and county are in a unique position to attract a technology company the size and scope of Amazon.

“We have done our homework and believe our team has put together the best submission in the nation to make Camden an Amazon town,” Cappelli said. “As I said in September when we started this journey, I believe the city brings a comprehensive variety of tangible and intangible assets and amenities that many localities cannot compete with. Furthermore, our infrastructure and geography are second to none.”

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop feels the same way about his municipality.

“Whether it is our diversity, our unparalleled access to mass transit or our commercial and residential real estate, Jersey City has a compelling story for why Amazon should locate their second headquarters here,” Fulop said.

“We feel confident that Jersey City will be a part of the conversation as Amazon makes their ultimate decision.”

In a statement Monday, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said the process was a help toward development ideas moving forward.

“We have used Amazon’s invitation for proposals as an opportunity to meet with state and county representatives, the business community and others to develop a plan for business expansion in Atlantic City.

“We need to diversify our economy to provide new job opportunities for our residents.”