September 22, 2017

Setti Warren: Amazon should come to Worcester

Courtesy/Setti Warren
2018 gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren said on Friday that Amazon should come to Worcester

Newton mayor and gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren said Friday that Amazon's search for a second headquarters should focus on Worcester.

"I propose that Amazon locate its second headquarters in Worcester, in the heart of the Commonwealth, and that, Amazon and the Commonwealth work together to fund the construction of a bullet train connecting Western Massachusetts with Boston," Warren said in a conference call Friday.

The giant tech company, currently based in Seattle, is currently soliciting proposals from cities, states and towns to build a second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, that would eventually host 50,000 workers.

The company is seeking 100 acres of space in a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people and a stable business-friendly environment.

In the call with reporters Friday morning, the 2018 Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate and Newton Democrat cited the city's "nine fantastic local colleges," a growing innovation economy and a well-educated workforce.

Warren proposed using tax revenue generated from Amazon to fund a high-speed rail linking Springfield to Worcester and Boston and improve the commuter rail already in service.

The location would also give Amazon employees the ability to live in a much less-expensive area in Central and Western Massachusetts, Warren said.

"Public investments have helped Worcester emerge as a dynamic, economic powerhouse," Warren said. "Worcester grew into a shining example for the rest of the nation of how prudent public investments can set the table for entrepreneurs to unleash their creativity and create jobs, companies, and entirely new industries."

Warren's comments come after a City Council meeting this week at which City Manager Ed Augustus said the city is working with state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash on a statewide application.

Worcester alone wouldn't be able to offer Amazon everything it asks for, he said, so a statewide application that could possibly propose to locate at least some Amazon jobs in the city might hold more weight.

With "two bookends of amazing talent pipelines" with colleges in the Worcester and Boston area, Augustus said, Amazon could build its headquarters throughout the Worcester, MetroWest and Greater Boston areas and make heavy use of the commuter rail.

"I think it strengthens our position," Augustus said. "They could literally have everything that's required."

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