What is Ohio's edge in attracting Amazon's new corporate headquarters?

Posted at 7:02 AM, Sep 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-20 07:05:39-04

It is the brass ring, Holy Grail and every other cliché of business success you can think of off the top of your head. 

Amazon possesses the ultimate golden ticket with their plans to name a lucky city as its second company headquarters.

Cleveland, Akron, Columbus and Cincinnati are among the Ohio cities salivating all over North America at the possibility that comes along with Amazon’s plan to invest over $5 billion in construction as it grows the facility to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

10,000 jobs at a $100,000 a year alone, for example, would mean an additional $20 million a year in income tax revenue.

In its headquarter city of Seattle from 2010 through 2016, Amazon estimates its investments resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy.

So what Ohio has that other states bidding do not is a working relationship with Amazon that has resulted in a steady stream of investments in the state over the last two years.

JobsOhio is the state’s private non-profit corporation established by the Kasich Administration in 2011 to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention, and expansion efforts.

They began working with Amazon in the spring of 2014 to lure a trio of data centers to the state which they landed a year later in May, 2015. 

“Frankly today is just the beginning with Amazon in this state,” said Paul Misener, Amazon’s Vice President of Global Policy during that 2015 announcement.  

“The state’s central location, its great workforce, its strong economy, they’re hard to miss and to ignore but when it came right down to it it was the governor and his vision, his leadership and his support of Amazon throughout this whole project that made the difference, it made it easy to come here to this state,” he said.

It was followed up with the creation of two Amazon windfarms in Northwest Ohio, two Amazon fulfillment centers in the Columbus area, a third announced last month for North Randal and a fourth announced just this week for north of Cincinnati.

“This is called teamwork,” Governor John Kasich said at that initial 2015 Amazon announcement. “We know we win with team.”

JobsOhio as a practice does not discuss what business opportunities they are pursuing but it’s safe to say they will be putting together the incentives that are needed at the state level to lure Amazon to Ohio.

Cities have until October 19 to submit their bids for consideration.

Among the requirements, Amazon wants a metropolitan area with more than a million people. While Cleveland alone stands at 385,000, the population of the greater Cuyahoga County is well over the 1 million mark. They are looking for existing buildings of at least 500,000 square feet with approximately 100 acres of developable land nearby.

A drawback for Cleveland may be the lack of an airline hub after United pulled out after their merger with Continental a few years back but the newly refurbished Cleveland Hopkins International Airport comes with the infrastructure in place to handle expansion should Amazon be the carrot to lure an airline back.