WIVB-TV by Chris Horvatits, News 4 Reporter - 7M ago
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – New information is being released about the pitch Western New York made to reel in Amazon’s new headquarters. The joint bid between Buffalo and Rochester didn’t make the list of 20 finalists.
That’s despite it including a lot of tax breaks, more than $500 million of tax breaks just in Erie County. Another $700 million of breaks were offered in Rochester.
“It was obviously a really competitive process,” said Alan Rosenhoch, the director of business development for Invest Buffalo Niagara. “We could speculate on the different reasons (Buffalo did not get selected). The feedback we got from the company was very positive.
Invest Buffalo Niagara is one of the groups which worked on the proposal to land Amazon’s HQ2. Much of the company’s campus would have centered around Canalside and the Cobblestone District. Among the highlights, Amazon was offered space in Seneca One Tower, plus the Buffalo News and HSBC Atrium buildings on Washington Street.
“Incentives are a part of economic development in this country and around the world,” Rosenhoch said about the tax breaks offered. “In order to compete for large projects, as well as small projects, it’s all about putting together a package.”
That package included $502,574,000 worth of breaks offered by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.
Amazon did list “incentives” as one of its decision drivers in its request for proposal.
“Identify incentive programs available for the project at the state/province and local levels,” company officials wrote in the RFP. “The initial cost and ongoing cost of doing business are critical decision drivers.”
“There’s never been a single economic development project of this size in our country’s history,” Rosenbach said. “There’s no reason why there wouldn’t be incentive packages along with that.
“The incentives would go up with that scale.”
Now that they know Buffalo and Rochester will not be the site of Amazon’s new headquarters,” Rosenbach and his colleagues are shifting gears.
“There’s so much more to our proposal that we can go out there and sell,” he said.
Amazon started with more than 200 bids to choose from. The company is expected to choose from its list of 20 finalists this year.