Amazon is reportedly trying to secure 1 million square feet of office base from a Boston Seaport developer, according to published news reports and the company’s plan has local officials hopeful about the online shopping firm possibly building an 8 million square foot second headquarters at Union Point.
Amazon is trying to secure 1 million square feet of office base from a Boston Seaport developer, according to published news reports. The company’s plan has local officials hopeful that the online shopping firm will build an 8 million square foot second headquarters at Union Point.
Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund said he believes Amazon’s interest in having an office building in Boston offers proof that the firm is still interested in having a second headquarters in the Northeast, which might include Union Point.
"I had a conversation with a source earlier in the week and he told me that this bodes well for the proposal we submitted," he said. "It would bode well for Amazon to continue their expansion here or have something in Boston and Weymouth."
A letter requesting Amazon to consider building a headquarters at Union Point was sent to the firm by both Abington and Rockland selectmen, Hedlund and the SouthField Redevelopment Authority in October.
The letter stated Union Point had infrastructure and land in place to accommodate an 8 million square foot second headquarters which would be located less than 30 miles from downtown Boston and Logan Airport.
Union Point developer LStar Communities is offering 101.4 acres of free land to Amazon to construct the Union Point headquarters if the firm agrees to donate $200 million to South Shore charities during the next decade.
Union Point is among various communities trying to lure Seattle-based Amazon to their municipality with a facility where 50,000 people would work.
Proposals have come from, Boston, Worcester and Londonderry, NH.
Worcester is offering Amazon $500 million in tax breaks to build a headquarters in the city.
New Hampshire officials are touting a 603–acre site in Londonderry as being shovel ready with the slogan, "All the Benefits of Boston Without All The Headaches."
L Star Communities president Matthew Barry said it is very exciting to hear that Amazon is interested in having an office building in the Seaport district.
"That is great for Boston and it benefits us," he said. "That is exciting information if it is accurate. We feel we are still in strong contention and we will continue to track that development. We feel pretty good about where we will be as Amazon’s determination progresses."
Rockland selectmen chairman Ed Kimball said Amazon would benefit Boston and the South Shore economically by having an office building in the Seaport district.
"We could accommodate them (Amazon) at Union Point," he said. "If they are looking to have a million square-foot office in Boston, that is great. Hopefully that will lead us to getting the other 8 million square-foot headquarters."
Kimball said the South Shore has good public services to offer Amazon’s workforce if it builds a headquarters at Union Point or an office building in Boston.
"There is a lot to offer the workforce," he said. "They want to raise their families in a good community where there are good schools and good amenities like police and fire departments and libraries. They want to be close to medical services and open space. I think it is great if Amazon decides to come to Boston. We could get Amazon employees who might be our neighbors. That is a good thing and it can only get better. You will have a new demographic of people that will be living here. We will all benefit."
Massachusetts launched an all-out effort in September to persuade Amazon to consider 26 potential sites to construct a second quarters through a code-named Project Rufus, according to documents and emails obtained by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.
State officials collected data about Massachusetts -highly educated workforce, a technology driven economy, cultural and historical sites in addition to a state commitment to reduce green gas emissions.
The data also included details about 10 sports championships won by Boston area teams since 2000.
The Achilles heel cited in the report was the shortage of and high cost of housing in the Greater Boston area.
"There is a high probability that adding 50,000 new jobs for one employer over the next 15 years will dramatically exacerbate the situation making the current housing and transportation challenges even greater," the report warned.
The summary suggested state officials should commit enough funding to a recently created Workforce Housing Trust Fund to create 50,000 new units of housing or one unit for each new job that Amazon would bring to the area.
Kimball said the MBTA might need to upgrade its public transportation system to accommodate Amazon if it decides to construct a second headquarters at Union Point.
"We will get the benefits of the improvements being made," he said.
State officials paid nearly $177,000 to Vanesse Hangen Brustlin Inc to help the state shape its pitch to Amazon, according to Mass Development, the state’s semi-independent economic finance agency.
The former Suffolk Downs racetrack emerged as a preferred site for Boston’s proposal to Amazon, but internal documents reveal the state settled on a strategy to promote Massachusetts in general rather than a favored location.
A complete summary of the report obtained by the Associated Press can be reviewed on WCVB’s website: https://tinyurl.com/y9qcp8pu.
WCVB and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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