Thornton, Westminster to make case for Amazon HQ2

Metro North cities join throngs vying for retail giant’s new development

Posted 9/22/17

With work on Amazon’s Thornton warehouse moving along on schedule, Metro North city officials say they may be ready for more involvement from the retail giant.

“Practically speaking, we are going to see growth in this region that will be of …

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Thornton, Westminster to make case for Amazon HQ2

Metro North cities join throngs vying for retail giant’s new development

Posted

With work on Amazon’s Thornton warehouse moving along on schedule, Metro North city officials say they may be ready for more involvement from the retail giant.

“Practically speaking, we are going to see growth in this region that will be of this kind of order and magnitude over time,” Westminster Economic Development Director John Hall said. “The question is whether it’s going to happen with one company or if it’s going to happen in a broader sense — or both.”

Amazon kicked off speculation across the country Sept. 7, announcing plans to build a second corporate headquarters, a supplement to the company’s Seattle headquarters.

According to the eight-page request for proposals the company posted on Sept. 7, the $5 billion headquarters would bring in 50,000 full-time employees with average annual salaries of $100,000.

The company said it’s looking to expand into a large metropolitan area with more than one million people and a highly educated labor pool, close proximity to international airports, highways and mass transit.

In a Sept. 9 story, The New York Times said the Metropolitan Denver area is the clear choice for Amazon, citing the area’s lifestyle, housing affordability compared to cities like San Francisco, Boston or New York and labor force.

According to Amazon’s request, municipal proposals are due to them by Oct. 19. The company said it will announce its final site selection in 2018.

The Metro Denver Economic Corporation is coordinating the applications for Denver’s communities.

Metro North ready

John Cody, Thornton economic development director, said his city will be ready on Sept. 19.

“We have a site that we think meets their criteria,” he said. “We determined it early on and we are in the process of filling out the information about it. “

Cody declined to specify exactly where he proposes the new Amazon location or details of the city’s proposal. The site is more than 200 acres, on either side of Washington Avenue, he said.

It would good complement, he said, to the robotic-centric warehouse being built on the northeast corner of 144th Avenue and Interstate 25. The building should cover 855,000 square feet on three stories when it’s completed in August 2018.

In Westminster, Hall, said the city’s Downtown Development, along 88th Avenue between Sheridan and Harlan, would be the best site. City councilors were scheduled to discuss the application at their Sept. 18 meeting.

“We believe that Westminster Downtown meets the requirements Amazon has outlined,” Hall said.

Hall said it’s good timing for Westminster. The proposed development is meant to combine retail, housing and commercial development in one complex. Plans call for an RTD light rail station to be located immediately across 88th Avenue and the area has easy access to U.S. 36.

“Sometimes, there is a convergence between the site you’ve been working on for quite some time and your plans and vision and an opportunity that comes up,” Hall said. “Clearly, we were not planning on Amazon coming out and looking for a new location. We simply believe that the principles and practices we’ve been pursuing may be a good fit for the criteria Amazon is using for the site.”

But Hall said he’d be happy if Amazon expands anywhere in Denver.

“If it ends up in the region, it’s a win for all of us,” he said.

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