Boston’s Amazon HQ Bid Centered On Suffolk Downs

EAST BOSTON (CBS) — Suffolk Downs is the main focus of Boston’s bid to host the new Amazon headquarters, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told WBZ-TV Thursday.

The mayor said the 144-acre East Boston property, the site of a former race track, should be attractive to Amazon because of its prime location.

“I don’t think any bid in America will be as close as that to the airport,” Walsh said. “You’re literally three minutes away from the airport, you’re two minutes away from I-90, and you go up to the tunnel and you’re on I-93 North and South … and it’s owned by one owner, it’s not an assembly you have to put together.”

Between ten and twenty cities and towns across the Commonwealth are trying to get Amazon to consider them as sites for their new HQ. Tuesday marks the deadline for proposals by cities all over the country to be submitted, and Amazon said they’ll take 90 days to review proposals before deciding which communities move on to the next round.

Walsh said other areas included in Boston’s bid are the South Boston waterfront, Widett Circle, and sites in Allston.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of ideas that Amazon is going to have,” Walsh said. “Their ask is a 100-acre contiguous site, but I think a lot of people came up with different ideas. Hopefully, we get to the next step, and then we get a chance to see what the other bids were and what they’re looking for.”

He said that Revere is part of the bid.

“I think the two cities together have a good story to tell,” Walsh said.

More: Keller: Hey Amazon, Don’t Waste Your Time With New Hampshire

Walsh also responded to New Hampshire’s bid, which poked fun at Boston’s traffic and housing costs.

“It’s alright, if they think that’s going to give them a competitive advantage, I don’t think it’s going to work,” he said.

Some experts, however, say cities bidding for Amazon should be care what they wish for.

“There are real tradeoffs in being the winner. Seattle now experiences high inequality, not enough affordable housing,” said Amy Liu of the Brookings Institution.

James Bessen runs Boston University Law’s Technology and Policy Research Initiative. Bessen said he has also heard cautionary tales.

“I’ve talked to one company a couple weeks ago and they’ve lost a couple key employees to an Amazon subsidiary here. That type of thing may just happen more frequently if Amazon headquarters is here,” said Bessen.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports

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