Merchandise giant Amazon wants to expand to a second headquarters location, and North Texas cities are teaming up to make a unified bid.
The Irving Las Colinas Urban Center has available vacant land with DART rail transit stations already in place to connect the area with downtown Dallas along with Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
The new Toyota Music Factory entertainment center, just being completed, is one of the new Las Colinas attractions that could please Amazon workers.
“This is going to be a good thing for us. With the addition of Amazon, that would be even better,” said Italian Café owner Harry Redzematovic.
After 20 years in business in Las Colinas, his restaurant does good lunchtime business. But Amazon expects up to 50,000 employees at a new headquarters. The restaurant owner said that could easily fill his empty tables.
“That would be great for the city of Irving and the state of Texas as well,” Redzematovic said.
Customer Lonnie Franklin is a native of Seattle, currently the only headquarters location for Amazon.
“It made the cost of living go up,” Franklin said. “Everything is considerably higher. You can’t buy a house in Seattle for less than $600,000, and that’s still going to be a starter home.”
Franklin works in Las Colinas and said the good would outweigh the bad with the addition of Amazon.
“It would be good for this area,” he said. “A lot of upside.”
The Irving Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce is compiling information on the area for Amazon.
“Irving, Texas, truly is a community built for business and so much more,” said Chamber President Beth Bowman. “Our assets are definitely our location, our access to talent, just our pro-business spirit and the innovation that’s brewing here.”
Downtown Dallas also has a pitch to make for Amazon with vacant land like the former Reunion Arena site, near the Union Station rail transit stop. There is also vacant land along the planned Dallas Trinity River Park and on the east side of downtown along Ross Avenue near the Bryan Street DART rail station.
Downtown Fort Worth has a major redevelopment area on the north side surrounding the Fort Worth Trinity River project called Panther Island which could host Amazon. A new TEXRail transit system to link downtown Fort Worth with D/FW Airport will include a Panther Island station.
Leaders of McKinney in Collin County have also said they want to be included in the pitch to Amazon.
“There could be some in one community and another, or on one side of the street or another,” said Jessica Heer, vice president of the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The Dallas Regional Chamber is assembling the proposal for North Texas to compete with other U.S. cities.
“We’re ready to go,” she said. “We’re happy to coordinate this with all the communities in the region, and this will be the Super Bowl of economic development projects.”
The Amazon campus in Seattle is a cluster of buildings in what was a rundown area of that city.
In a Sept. 7 release, Amazon said it wants add a second headquarters office location in a metropolitan area of at least a million people, with a stable business friendly environment that can attract and keep technical talent and think big.
Heer said North Texas fills those requirements and more.
“Talent definitely is a huge driver. Texas is a low-cost state. We’ve won a lot of projects in recent years, specifically the Dallas-Fort Worth region,” she said.
Amazon requested proposals be submitted by Oct. 19.
Presented by NBC 5 News, September 12, 2017