Vision 2030 Business Attraction Committee Reviews Amazon HQ2 RFP
Learning from Amazon's HQ2 RFP
The Business Attraction Committee recently met to discuss Amazon’s HQ2 request for proposal (RFP). The group’s goal was not to assemble a bid or package to submit to Amazon, but rather to use the RFP as a case study. The group was pleased, but not surprised, to discover the region’s business attraction efforts align well with the preferences described by Amazon.
So, what is Amazon asking for and what is Northeast Indiana proactively doing about it?
Here’s a list of decision drivers from Amazon’s RFP and what the Regional Partnership and regional business leaders are doing to progress the region.
Amazon’s RFP outlined significant needs for existing buildings or greenfield sites. The business attraction committee has identified sites and buildings as a focus area. The committee is now working on a comprehensive inventory of all sites and buildings in the region’s 11 counties.
Capital Operating Costs
Amazon requires a stable, business-friendly environment and tax structure and specifically calls out state and local incentives. The committee has identified a tax and regulatory focus area that is working to create a toolkit for economic development practitioners and local officials.
Amazon wants to be within 30 miles of a major metropolitan area that has more than one million residents with a highly educated labor pool and strong university system. This decision factor aligns with Vision 2030’s goals to achieve by 2030: increase regional population and educational attainment.
Amazon needs its new location to be within a few miles of major highways and arterial roads. Another important consideration is that the facility must be within 45 minutes of an international airport with daily direct flights to Seattle, New York, the Bay Area and Washington D.C. The Regional Partnership’s business attraction efforts have long prioritized infrastructure and air access. Recent wins include updating interstate standards on U.S. 30 and increasing air traffic and flights at Fort Wayne International Airport.
Time to Operations
Amazon wants assurance that the time between making its decision where to expand and beginning operations there is short. Amazon wants to pick a community that can streamline the building process and provide a quick timeline to get the facility up-and-running. The region’s business attraction efforts have focused on streamlining the regional permitting process to ensure efficient time to operations. Nearly 20 different permit-issuing departments across the region engage in continuous improvement through the Permitting Excellence Coalition.
Cultural Community Fit and Quality of Life
Diverse population, higher education institutions, local government structure and engaged elected officials are also critical factors in Amazon’s decision-making. These factors confirm that community engagement and quality of life assets are critical in business attraction projects. From site selectors to business decision-makers, these experts are increasingly looking for these community attributes in RFPs. The Regional Partnership’s talent attraction and talent development committees are working on many collaborative quality of life improvements. Specifically, the brand ambassador focus area is exploring opportunities to directly engage business leaders in spreading the word about our investments in quality of life assets in Northeast Indiana.
What Amazon is looking for aligns well with the strategy, tactics and progress happening now in Northeast Indiana. Thanks to the collaboration, leadership and determination of regional business leaders in all 11 counties, we are on our way to moving our region forward.
To learn more about the business attraction committee, please contact Vice President of Regional Initiatives Ryan Twiss.