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Buffalo, Rochester to submit joint bid for Amazon HQ2

Buffalo and Rochester will team up in the pursuit of a second headquarters for Amazon that eventually could employ as many as 50,000 people.

The two development agencies that are heading the pursuit of Amazon in the two cities – Invest Buffalo Niagara and Greater Rochester Enterprise – said Thursday they have agreed to work together in a joint bid to lure Amazon to Western New York.

"It was apparent that, by linking our efforts, the combined Buffalo Rochester metro corridor can offer a proposal that is both compelling and extremely competitive," the two groups said in a statement.

By presenting a joint bid, the Western New York consortium hopes to overcome some of the shortcomings that each city would have faced as it tried to meet Amazon's criteria for its second headquarters site.

Amazon has said it wants a metropolitan area with at least 1 million people. It wants to be in an area with a “stable” economy that is “business friendly,” and it wants an initial building of 500,000 square feet on a location that could eventually accommodate 8 million square feet of office space. It also wants access to major highways, mass transit on the site and to be near an international airport with non-stop flights to cities like Seattle, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

It also wants access to a highly educated labor pool and to be located near a strong university system – something that a joint proposal would better meet by combining universities such as the University at Buffalo with resources from the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The company also wants to be in a place where it can attract top technical talent  and offers a wide array of recreational and educational opportunities that contribute to a strong quality of life.

Neither Buffalo nor Rochester individually was considered to be a strong contender in the competition. A ranking of potential Amazon sites by a private consulting firm, Anderson Economic Group, listed 35 metro areas that met all of Amazon's criteria, and neither Western New York City made the cut.

Amazon's announcement that it was launching a competition for its second headquarters has set off a flurry of activity among major cities across the country, each scurrying to come up with packages that combine what almost certainly will be billions of dollars in incentives with other resources that each area can offer.

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