Newark makes Amazon’s list of 20 HQ2 finalists

The most coveted prize in economic development has 20 finalists.

And Newark is one of them.

Newark is one of 20 cities that advanced to the next round of the Amazon HQ2 headquarters sweepstakes, the e-commerce giant announced Thursday morning.

The Brick City was the only entry from New Jersey to make the list of 20 locations, although New York City and Philadelphia both were on the list.

Mayor Ras Baraka obviously was thrilled by the announcement.

“Amazon’s decision to place the Newark on its short list of 20 municipalities to host its new headquarters is by itself a great victory for our city,” he said. “It means that world-class corporations and organizations like Amazon have recognized the success of our administration’s efforts to build a stronger city that welcomes business, is open to innovation and at the cutting edge of technology and transportation.”

Baraka said he feels Newark has all that Amazon is looking for.

“Newark is the perfect destination for Amazon because of our incredible business assets and resources, and the fact that it is a place where Amazon could have a tremendous social and economic impact,” he said. “With more than 60,000 college students in the city, the most untapped bandwidth of dark fiber in the world, and access to Newark Liberty International Airport, the docks, railways and roadways of the eastern corridor, Newark has unparalleled logistical advantages for a company like Amazon. This moment provides an opportunity for Amazon to show that a company can do good in the world and also do well as a company.”

More importantly, Baraka feels the announcement is affirmation to the quality of the population of Newark.

“It also speaks to the essential strengths of the people of Newark — our resilience, our diversity, our talent, our productivity and their amazing work to transform our city and its narrative over the past 50 years,” he said. “Newark’s momentum has become unstoppable. Amazon can be a powerful partner in helping to forge our future. At the same time, we can help Amazon move its people and products like no other city can.”

Amazon, which said it received applications from 238 locations, did not give further details on how it will proceed from here or whether there will be another cutdown. The locations were listed as finalists.

Gov. Phil Murphy said his administration fully supports bringing Amazon to Newark and is ready and eager to do whatever it takes to land the project.

“Amazon’s announcement that Newark is among the finalists for ‘HQ2’ proves New Jersey’s amazing strengths and potential to once again be a global driver of technology and innovation,” he said. “Our location is unparalleled, our highly educated workforce is among the best anywhere, and our strong public schools, diversity and infrastructure combine to create communities that businesses and workers would love to call home.

“While today certainly is good news, our work is not done. We are going to continue to press our case for Amazon to come to Newark.”

A final choice is expected to come later this year, bringing 50,000 “high-paying jobs” as well as a $5 billion investment to the winning area.

Baraka said the announcement was a result of a team effort — both in Newark and around the state.

“The fact that we are on the short list reflects the powerful collaborative effort that went into pitching Amazon: Gov. (Chris) Christie, Gov. Murphy, Sen. (Cory) Booker, the state Legislature, Newark Economic Development Corp., all of our major corporations, universities, and anchor institutions,” he said. “This is how we get things done in Newark. We come together as a city and our skill in collaboration is itself something that will enormously benefit Amazon.

Baraka said there are many reasons why Newark is a superb choice for the headquarters, including:

  • The world’s fastest internet, at 10 gigabits-per-second data speeds, built on an existing 26-mile underground dark fiber network downtown where Amazon already rents space.
  • The capacity to provide the most cost-effective internet for the speed
  • The capacity to provide the fastest free outdoor Wi-Fi in the country, delivering 400 megabits per second.
  • The fact that Newark’s downtown and the proposed Amazon sites are 10 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport, a FedEx hub that offers flights to more than 165 cities.
  • The fact that Newark hosts the nation’s third-largest seaport; major rail lines; extensive mass transit, including Amtrak, NJ Transit and PATH; as well as seven major highways, putting 40 percent of Americans within a day’s drive of Newark.
  • The presence of New York City, Jersey City, Hoboken, New Brunswick and dozens of major suburban communities within a 30-minute rail, bus or car commute to Newark.
  • That New Jersey ranks among the five most diverse states in the nation, and Newark is its oldest, largest and most diverse city.
  • That the region represents a full spectrum of American life, and is home to the world’s largest and most diverse pool of top technical, scientific and business talent, with a highly-educated workforce, a tradition that dates back to Thomas Edison, who developed his first inventions on the downtown Newark street that now bears his name and accommodates the Prudential Center.
  • The presence of a half-dozen prominent colleges and universities in Newark, which, with those within commuting distance, together graduate 100,000 students annually from every background and field.
  • And the fact New Jersey is home to 21 Fortune 500 companies.

Here is the list of the 20 finalist locations (in alphabetical order):

  • Atlanta
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Indianapolis
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Newark
  • New York City
  • Northern Virginia
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Toronto
  • Washington, D.C.

More from ROI-NJ on Newark and Amazon:

  • Why just making Amazon’s final 20 is big win for Newark
  • Why tax talk could hurt Newark’s chances at HQ2
  • Officials celebrate selection of Newark (and Philly)
  • Editor’s Desk: New Brunswick learned from Amazon bid, even in defeat
  • These 20 locations are Amazon’s HQ2 finalists
  • A look back: Newark officials detail four possible landing spots for Amazon