October 20, 2017

Massachusetts proposes Downtown Worcester space in state's Amazon bid

Courtesy/Massachusetts
The state used the public and private investment of the City Square project as an example of what it could offer Amazon.
Courtesy/Massachusetts
Massachusetts has highlighted five sites in Downtown Worcester in the state's official Amazon bid.

Massachusetts released its official Amazon proposal on Friday and highlights several Worcester-area features and incentives in a bid to lure the online retailer to the state.

The proposal to lure the online commerce giant's second headquarters, 50,000 jobs and a $5-billion infrastructure investment includes bits and pieces from Worcester's official bid (as well as other proposals from cities and towns), but includes information about five sites in downtown Worcester within a third of a mile of Union Station, totaling 13.1 acres with full buildout capacity of 1.85 million square feet.

In the city's official bid, it proposed 98 total acres at three mostly contiguous sites along Rte. 20.

"Worcester, New England's second-largest city, is the thriving hub of Central Massachusetts," the state said in the bid.

In a statement, Gov. Charlie Baker called the state a "leading innovator" with top educational, research and development institutions.

"Throughout this collaborative and bipartisan process, we have been committed to putting the Commonwealth's best foot forward, and would welcome Amazon joining thousands of other public and private entities who are leveraging Massachusetts' assets for our mutual growth and development," Baker said.

Under the incentives category, the bid highlighted the City Square project in Worcester, which is slated to eventually have 2.2 million square-feet of mixed-use space. The state noted the investment of more than $28 million by MassWorks for the project, including another $25 million and $15 million from the state and city, respectively.

Worcester's higher education institutions, most notably UMass Medical School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University and the College of the Holy Cross were featured.

The state did not detail any specific incentive dollar amount it would offer to Amazon, but did explain, at length, incentive tools and infrastructure grants that can be made available.

Access to the city from Boston, Logan Airport and the Commuter Rail was also highlighted in the state's bid.

The bid, of course, leads with sites in Boston, including Suffolk Downs, South Boston Waterfront, the Harrison Albany Corridor and the South Station Corridor.

A total of 26 potential locations were submitted in the state's bid, including sites in Marlborough, Leominster and Gardner.

Space in Foxborough's Patriot's Place was also offered, and Robert Kraft, Patriots owner and chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, wrote a letter urging Amazon to come to Massachusetts.

The bid highlights the state's 125 colleges and universities and growing technology innovation sectors budding from those institutions.

The company's official policy Twitter account, @amazon_policy, on Thursday retweeted a Boston Globe article about Worcester's proposal, saying the company "love[s] doing business" in the state.

Bids were due Thursday, and Amazon is expected to make a decision sometime in 2018.

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