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Westchester Makes Pitch For Amazon HQ2

County Executive Rob Astorino was joined by leaders in business, real estate, labor, construction and education at the County Center on Tuesday.
County Executive Rob Astorino was joined by leaders in business, real estate, labor, construction and education at the County Center on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Joined by leaders in business, real estate, labor, construction and education, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino made a pitch on Tuesday outside the County Center to Amazon to open a second headquarters in Westchester.

Astorino distinguished Westchester from other major cities competing for the global giant’s planned HQ2s.

“Westchester has everything Amazon is looking for and more: Talent, accessibility, quality of life, value and locations, locations, locations,” said Astorino. “Amazon laid out the criteria and Westchester matches them, making Westchester the smart choice for Amazon.”

As an example of Westchester’s ability to deliver customer fulfillment, Astorino had his pitch to Amazon delivered by drone. Earlier this month, the Seattle-based internet retailer announced that it was seeking proposals from cities and metropolitan areas across North America to compete for its second headquarters, a 500,000 square-foot facility known as HQ2 that is expected to include $5 billion in private investment and create as many as 50,000 new high-paying jobs.

Amazon’s preferences are that any potential location be situated in a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people, have a stable business environment, offer urban or suburban locations, and the ability to retain talented professionals. It also wants to have access to mass transit and major highways and be situated within 45 minutes of an international airport, characteristics that make Westchester the right fit for Amazon, Astorino noted.

Westchester’s assets were recently featured in a series of advertisements promoting the county from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency. View them here.

Leaders in business, education and government joined the County Executive in support of Westchester’s efforts to attract Amazon. Here’s what they said:

“Westchester County is in a unique and outstanding competitive position to attract Amazon to our County,” said Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester. “Long the home of the world’s major corporations like IBM, PepsiCo, Regeneron and MasterCard, Westchester clearly has the assets of vibrant downtowns, excellent real estate, mass transit, transportation mobility, technological infrastructure and most important the talent and intellectual capital to attract and retain the employees needed. With our pro-business attitude and practices, Amazon will find Westchester the very best place to locate.”

“Westchester County has the features Amazon and companies like them are looking for in terms of population, access to mass transit, and educational institutions,” said William M. Mooney, Jr., President and CEO of The Westchester County Association. “Plus we have a great lifestyle, good schools, diverse communities, and a few million square feet of available inventory. In short, our infrastructure is second to none. We are also on the way to attracting gigabit speed broadband to our urban centers, which will create the right digital infrastructure for companies like Amazon.”

“As Amazon does its due diligence in their search for a second American headquarters, they are going to look for a place with a highly educated workforce, infrastructure that supports their logistics and, with all of the online attacks and breaches regularly being reported in the news, access to highly trained Cybersecurity professionals,” said Jonathan Hill, Dean of Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. “Westchester County is a vibrant area for tech savvy young people filled with educational institutions and employers ready to hire recent graduates, while the demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing three times faster than the overall IT job market, and 12 times faster than the total labor market.”

Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President of Westchester Community College, said: “As the largest higher education provider in the region, Westchester Community College offers degree programs and workforce training that prepares students with the twenty-first century skills that high-tech and high-performing organizations need. Students seeking four-year and graduate degrees get a strong start in any of our hundreds of transfer pathways that guarantee junior standing at many colleges and universities in the region.”

“With the former IBM and PepsiCo campuses available, Somers has world class commercial real estate in a strategic location, providing easy access to three Metro-North train stations, highways and area airports,” said Somers Town Supervisor Rick Morrissey. “The Town is located in New York’s intellectual capital with a highly educated and talented workforce, close to world renowned colleges and universities, at the northern cross-section of the greatest metropolitan area in the world. Tech companies have thrived in suburban enclaves, and Somers is fertile ground for the east coast tech scene.”

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