Mayor Unveils New Details About Region’s Bid for Amazon HQ2

Aerial photograph of Osgood Landing, the former Merrimack Valley Works of Western Electric.

The lower Merrimack Valley has everything Amazon is looking for in a location for its second headquarters, including a sizable, available work force.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini and planner Nate Robertson made the case for the region’s bid to host the online retail giant, and the Haverhill City Council wasted no time passing a resolution to support the proposal.

Fiorentini said the region’s bid was the first to be sent to the state, which will screen proposals and submit the best to Amazon for its consideration.

North Andover is leading the team’s bid, since it is home to the expansive Osgood Landing (pictured) campus that is the centerpiece of the proposal. Haverhill, Andover, Lawrence, and Methuen are secondary players, but all have something to offer, Fiorentini said.

Osgood Landing, the former AT&T/Western Electric building, has the 500,000 square feet of industrial space available that is at the top of Amazon’s list of needs, said  Robertson, who is working in the city’s Economic Development office.

Osgood Landing’s ready-to-go status is a big bonus, said Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

“One thing businesses like this don’t want is to wait for permits for development,” he said. Osgood Landing can phase in Amazon's development as it’s needed.

Also high on the list is a work force numbering about 50,000. Fiorentini and Councilor Michael S. McGonagle refuted a recent Boston Globe article that said Amazon would have difficulty finding that many available employees in Massachusetts.

“Somebody has to impress upon these folks the work force we have here. This isn’t going to be 100,000 engineering jobs. (It will also be) logistics, warehouse (positions) ... we have those people right now ready to go to work,” McGonaagle said.

Fiorentini pointed out that while Haverhill’s unemployment rate is low, the same can’t be said for all communities in the region.

“Lawrence has a high unemployment rate. Normally that’s a negative, but in this case, it’s a positive,” he said. Haverhill’s Mount Washington neighborhood also has low worker participation.

Robertson said the region meets every need in Amazon’s request for proposals, including proximity to two international airports, high-density residential centers, major highways and rail transportation.

The city’s industrial parks on Hilldale Avenue and off Broadway provide acres of land with potential for future expansion, and the opportunity for a rail stop at the Hilldale site as well as at Osgood Landing, Robertson said.

The state’s ability to offer tax incentives also makes Massachusetts attractive, Fiorentini said. The mayor said he believes in addition to the Valley, Boston and Weymouth have the best chances of luring Amazon.

The New York Times predicted the finalists will be Colorado and Massachusetts, with Colorado ultimately winning Amazon’s heart.

“I believe Massachusetts has a shot at this. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure it comes here,” Fiorentini said.

Robertson said it would great for Amazon to locate here, but even if the company went to Boston, it would still be a victory for Haverhill, simply for having the chance to participate in the proposal process.

“I know it’s a longshot, but you know what you get if you don’t try? You get nothing,” Bevilacqua said.

4 thoughts on “Mayor Unveils New Details About Region’s Bid for Amazon HQ2

  1. While I applaud the effort in trying to lure Amazon here, what does it say about Haverhill when It’s buildings are falling apart ? What does it say when the Mayor and City council have neglected our own infrastructure and saddled the city with millions in extra costs by not fixing deplorable conditions until they become emergencies ? How about the perception of the city by people outside the city when they find out it took 8 years to put in place a simple parking plan ? What does it say about a city that ignores the serious crime issues and refuses to put public safety first ? Does anyone think Amazon will NOT do their due diligence and research about a potential location and its’ politicians ? We must be realistic about these things and realize other people do pay attention and watch what we are doing. Sadly, the mismanagement of this city over the last 20 years has created problems that will last for decades.

    • Jack…you nailed it!!! Exceptional points!!

      The bottom line is…Votes have consequences! Voters elected Failurentini & Company and look what it produced. It turned what was 20 years ago the best place to live in America into a very dangerous sanctuary city full of illegal invaders, rapists, gangs and drug dealers. The fact that voters continue to elect liberals promoting a proven destructive agenda says a lot about the intelligence of the supposed workforce in this area.

      Jack, you left out the mayor’s incompetence and lies regarding the problems at the police station that you pointed out so well last week. Do the people managing this process even realize how having Failurentini, with all of the incompetence and failure on his resume, looks to the people at Amazon? How do they even have him involved?
      Your point about due diligence is exactly right!! Great post !!

  2. Anyone ever deal with the mayor in person? What do you think the first impressions of executives at Amazon are going to be when Mayor Fettuccine shows up with his suit that is two sizes too big and he has spaghetti sauce stains on his tie? The executives at Amazon making this decision are world class professionals use to dealing with similar professionals. And the Merrimack Valley is going to send Jimmy Taxes into those meetings? What do you think they’re going to think when they research…and they will…that Jimmy Taxes was an ambulance chasing lawyer?

    What do you think these highly educated, highly experienced, incredibly articulate people at Amazon are going to think when they find out that Joe Bevilacqua has literally never had a real job? Do the people managing the Merrimack Valley pitch think the executives at Amazon don’t recognize a do nothing local political hack when they see one?

    A decision like this will be made based on features and benefits. What will the Amazon executives think when they find out Lawrence is a sanctuary city which averages on armed robbery per day, and Haverhill isn’t far behind?

  3. “Lawrence has a high unemployment rate. Normally that’s a negative, but in this case, it’s a positive,” he said. Haverhill’s Mount Washington neighborhood also has low worker participation. –

    Anyone ask Mayor Jimmy why their work participation is so low?

    “The New York Times predicted the finalists will be Colorado and Massachusetts, with Colorado ultimately winning Amazon’s heart.” –

    While not trusting anything the MSM states these days, especially The NYT, Bezos will go to a state where he can operate with impunity. Given the political ideological narratives of Beacon Hill, MA would be attractive to Bezos, as Colorado is split politically.