GRAND RAPIDS –– When online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. announced the top 20 possible locations for its second headquarters this morning, it did not include Grand Rapids in the list of metropolitan areas up for consideration.
The West Michigan city submitted a “long-shot” proposal for the $5 billion economic development sweepstakes in late October and was among 238 North American metropolitan areas to do so.
Locally, the effort was led by Grand Rapids-based economic development organization The Right Place Inc., along with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., officials from the cities of Grand Rapids and Wyoming and the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Areas up for consideration include Chicago, Toronto, Pittsburgh and New York City. Detroit also failed to make the cut, despite a major effort by civic and business leaders.
The Seattle-based online retailer made clear in its initial request for proposals that it was seeking metropolitan areas of at least 1 million people with a deep workforce, vicinity to higher education institutions and infrastructure such as mass transit and airports offering direct flights to both the east and west coasts.
While Grand Rapids didn’t check every box, business and government officials here said they felt the area could compete based on its growing population and quality of life attributes.
"As much as this process helped identify our major assets, it also helped us to assess our gaps and where we can continue to improve," Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place, said in a statement. "We plan to continue working together as a region to market West Michigan as a destination for business success."
The Right Place has declined to make details of the bid public.
Various downtown Grand Rapids locations were part of the pitch to Amazon, as was the Site 36 industrial site in Wyoming, as MiBiz previously reported.
In a statement, Gov. Rick Snyder expressed disappointment that Detroit was left off the list, but did not mention the Grand Rapids proposal.
“It’s disappointing we will not be welcoming a new Amazon headquarters to Detroit, but appreciate their continued investment and expansion in Michigan, including right in the heart of our Comeback City,” Snyder stated. “Detroit’s proposal to Amazon was incredible and garnered positive attention for the city from all across the world. As a state we will continue to pursue these types of valuable opportunities for our talented workforce.”
The 20 metro areas being considered for Amazon’s HQ2 are:
- Atlanta, Ga.
- Austin, Texas
- Boston, Mass.
- Chicago, Ill.
- Columbus, Ohio
- Dallas, Texas
- Denver, Colo.
- Indianapolis, Ind.
- Los Angeles, Calif.
- Miami, Fla.
- Montgomery County, Md.
- Nashville, Tenn.
- Newark, N.J.
- New York City, N.Y.
- Northern Virginia
- Philadelphia, Pa.
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Raleigh, N.C.
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Washington, D.C.