San Antonio leaders say that the Alamo City is not ready for the billion-dollar headquarters Amazon has in mind, so when they pulled out of the bid, the decision upset many citizens.
Amazon invited cities to submit a proposal for their second headquarters, "HQ2," by October 19, 2017 back in September. The company said that it would cost at least $5 billion dollars to construct and operate and create 50,000 high paying jobs.
Cities across the U.S. are submitting proposals for the big tech business, but San Antonio leaders decided not to submit a formal proposal this week.
Councilman Greg Brockhouse said that he found out about the decision through Facebook and believes that more people should have weighed in.
“I believe that, untimely, we should have attempted to do it,” Councilman Brockhouse said.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Judge Nelson Wolff, and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation played a key role in the decision.
Judge Wolff said that they came to a unanimous decision, adding that the city has a lot of improvements, including some important requirements, that the company is looking for.
“Where we fall shorty is public transit. All we have is a bus system,” Judge Wolf said. “We fall short in airline traffic, we’re not anywhere near where we need to be for business travel, and we still haven’t developed the work force that we need to develop.”
Amazon says that the ideal site for their new headquarters consists of a metro area of more than one million people, creative communities with big ideas, and real estate options. The location should be within 45 minutes of an airport, no more than two miles from major arterial roads, and have direct access to rail, train, or bus routes.
The San Antonio Economic Development Foundation released the following statement:
In addition, we determined that as aspirational as we are about our community’s potential, we simply wouldn’t be highly competitive from a real estate and incentives perspective.
The mayor and Judge Wolff sent an open letter to the Amazon CEO stating, in part:
It’s hard to imagine that a forward-thinking company like amazon hasn’t already selected it’s preferred location.
Judge Wolff said that San Antonio didn’t stand a chance in the running.
"I don't really understand where the letter is coming from other than this is how great we are, but we aren’t going to make an attempt to earn your opportunity," Councilman Brockhouse said.
The open letter also said that no city meets all the requirements, so many are attempting to lure Amazon using incentives.
“We know one thing, we are not going to gamble billions of dollars in local taxpayers dollars for one company,” Judge Wolff said.