Stapleton developer Forest City is submitting possible sites to the state as Colorado responds to Amazon’s September 7 announcement that it is seeking to develop a second corporate headquarters. At the Sept. 21 Citizens Advisory Board meeting, spokesman Tom Gleason said Forest City is pitching two sites: vacant land south of the Central Park station, and a “midfield” site (between Northfield and Stapleton south of I-70) in the 40th Ave. corridor. Gleason said the Stapleton sites are suitable for an initial phase on through full build-out.
Colorado’s response to the Amazon request for proposals (RFP) is being coordinated by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). Initial vetting of sites is being run through the Metro Economic Development Corporation (Metro EDC). Submittals from partner organizations were due to Metro EDC on Sept. 22. The state’s response to the Amazon RFP is due October 19. Amazon, which now has its headquarters in Seattle, has said only that the decision on a second site would come sometime in 2018.
The Amazon HQ2 project is of enormous scale: 50,000 employees at build-out with average salaries of $100,000 in a phase one building of at least 500,000 square feet and a complex at build-out in the 8 million square foot range on 100 acres with a total investment of $5 billion. Amazon is open to infill or greenfield sites. In addition to the Stapleton area, rumored locations in Denver have included land near the downtown Pepsi Center or the former Gates Rubber site on Broadway. The City of Aurora has indicated they too will be submitting sites to Metro EDC for consideration.
Site requirements defined by Amazon include location within a 45-minute drive of an international airport, no more than two miles from a major highway, access to mass transit and location within a 30-minute drive of a population center of 1 million or more people. This limits a Colorado submittal to the Denver region.
Amazon’s RFP strongly recommends a coordinated proposal from any given jurisdiction; however, Amazon will consider multiple sites within a unified response. OEDIT will make the final selection of sites to be proposed to Amazon. The state will also address other RFP requirements such as level of financial incentives and, according to OEDIT spokesperson Liz Cahill, preparation of “ancillary” information such as labor and wage rates, partnerships with institutions of higher education and state approaches to workforce development.