An Amazon delegation is likely to tour sites in metro Atlanta before the end of this month for possible locations for its second headquarters, which could bring a $5 billion campus with as many as 50,000 jobs to the region.
Officials from the Seattle-based tech giant are expected to visit multiple sites in downtown Atlanta and its suburbs, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the plans. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the secretive headquarters search.
Spokeswomen for the state Department of Economic Development and Metro Atlanta Chamber declined to comment.
The timing of the visit, two of the individuals cautioned, could change.
State and metro Atlanta business and economic development officials are preparing what’s described as an “elaborate” experience for the Amazon visitors. Few details are known, but the roadshow is expected to highlight some of the city’s top business and cultural touchstones, including the Atlanta Beltline, and will focus on the city’s quality of life, workforce, transportation infrastructure and research universities.
Amazon identified Atlanta as one of 20 finalists for HQ2, and the company started visiting contenders in recent weeks.
Amazon officials reportedly toured sites in and around Washington, D.C., where the district and two suburbs are among the 20 finalists. Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin also reportedly received Amazon officials.
The expected visit will come shortly before one of the state’s marquee recruiting showcases, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Red Carpet Tour, an economic development push during the Masters Tournament in Augusta next month.
The state earlier pitched dozens of locations across the city to peruse, but the visits are likely to focus on several top sites that include downtown Atlanta’s Gulch. Others could include multiple development sites in Midtown near Georgia Tech’s Technology Square, the former General Motors plant in Doraville and the High Street site near Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody.
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Amazon declined to confirm when the company will call on the Atlanta area.
In a statement, a spokesman said, “Amazon is working with each HQ2 candidate city to dive deeper on their proposals and share additional information about the company’s plans.”
“We’re excited to visit each location and talk about how HQ2 could benefit our employees and the local community,” the statement said.
The visit is welcome timing for business leaders worried that last week’s vote to punish Delta Air Lines and support for other contentious legislation could hurt Atlanta’s bid.
Like most everything else involving Amazon, the details of the visit are being held as closely-guarded secrets. The state’s bid will top $1 billion in taxpayer-funded incentives and other perks. But the details are shrouded in secrecy under an exemption in state sunshine laws for active economic projects.
Veteran recruiters point to Georgia’s long courtship of Mercedes-Benz for its USA headquarters as a template for how the Amazon deal could go down: quiet meetings, unrelenting involvement by high-level government officials, a push for more cooperation and cutthroat competition with rival cities.
Election-year politics has injected another wrinkle into the state’s proposal. Gov. Nathan Deal has pledged a special session to hash out incentives if Georgia is named a top finalist, but some candidates and lawmakers from both parties are squeamish about doling out high-dollar perks before the election.
Earlier this week, after a press conference to announce a sprawling new Facebook data center complex in Social Circle, Deal was asked to respond to some who believe the Delta flap might dash Georgia’s chances for HQ2.
“I look forward to proving them wrong,” Deal said.
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