September 29, 2017

Blackstone Valley considers Amazon push

Grant Welker
Officials from the Blackstone Valley are considering a joint bid to land retail giant Amazon with a Seattle headquarters pictured here.

One of New England's manufacturing breeding grounds wants a piece of the Amazon pie.

Officials from the Blackstone Valley met earlier this week to discuss a joint bid to court online retail giant Amazon to the area, according to a press release from State Rep. Joseph McKenna's (R-Webster) office.

Amazon, based in Seattle, is planning to build a second headquarters. With the company will come 50,000 jobs and a $5-billion infrastructure investment. It's seeking proposals from states and communities.

Representatives of Douglas, Millbury, Sutton, Northbridge and Uxbridge met with the Central Mass Regional Planning Commission and other state officials in the Uxbridge Senior Center on Wednesday.

No vote was taken, but the group plans to continue meetings to discuss a potential proposal. The company has imposed an Oct. 19 deadline for communities to submit a bid.

The announcement noted concern about the scope of the project. In the company's request for proposal, Amazon says it has a preference for a metropolitan area of more than 1 million people. The valley falls short on that ask, but does have the space along the Rte. 146 corridor to accommodate the eventual 8 million square feet the company is seeking, said Uxbridge Planning Board Vice Chairman Barry Desruisseaux in a press release.

"We all have lots which we've identified as build-ready economic development sites," Desruisseaux said of the five communities present. "Now is the opportunity to work together and utilize the best that all of those can become."

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