PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – While the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation is staying tight-lipped about the details of their proposal to land Amazon.com’s second headquarters, cities and towns are releasing more details about the seven sites being suggested.
Amazon has said the new office could reach 8 million square feet and employ 50,000 people with an average salary of $100,000, and communities from coast to coast have submitted proposals to the e-commerce giant.
It’s still unclear exactly what Rhode Island’s 125-page proposal to Amazon includes, as it’s password protected on the state’s Amazon website. State officials have not released any incentives being offered, telling Eyewitness News in October they want Amazon to have the chance to review the proposal in full before it’s made public.
Amazon executives are expected to announce their final choice sometime in 2018. Here’s what Rhode Island has put on offer.
Warwick is hopeful that close proximity to the airport, access to train lines and tax-stabilization incentives get Amazon to pick their City Centre district as its new home. City planning director William DePasquale Jr. didn’t offer specifics to Eyewitness News about the precise location pitched to Amazon, but pointed to the city’s work to develop a 110-acre area around the airport that they hope will be a “hub of mixed use commerce.”
“The area assets may also be attractive to Amazon for their headquarters, or as part of a smaller regional operation, considering its location to Providence and Boston, its location along I-95, the northeast rail corridor, T.F. Green International Airport, UPS distribution center and the Amazon regional fulfillment center in Fall River,” wrote DePasquale in an email.
DePasquale says all new developments inside the City Centre district are automatically eligible for a 15-year tax break if the construction project is at least $5 million, and if it conforms to the area’s master plan and zoning.
City officials tell Eyewitness News the capital city didn’t make an independent pitch — instead the Commerce Corporation included state-owned property as part of their overall proposal to Amazon.
Renderings released by Commerce show there are at least two potential sites in Providence being offered up: some of the 195 land in the Jewelry District, and areas surrounding the State House and Providence train station.
The town of Richmond is pitching 244 acres of land off Route 138 known as “Richmond Commons.” The land has sat vacant for years. According to a real estate listing, the site is the former home of a gravel operation. The hilly area offers views of 95 and surrounding areas, including the Heritage Trail.
If Amazon picks East Providence, its new headquarters will come with a waterfront view. The city has put forth nearly 90 acres of vacant land on the southern waterfront, owned by Chevron, the Providence & Worcester Railroad, UNOCAL and the state.
“We offer a signature location on Narragansett Bay, motivated property owners, easy access to Amtrak in downtown Providence, an emerging entertainment and arts culture, and a diverse population,” wrote City Manager Tim Chapman in their pitch. “The City of East Providence welcomes an opportunity to work with the Amazon now and into the future.”
The parcels being offered up by North Kingstown are located between Frenchtown Road and the Quonset Freeway — just five miles from the Quonset Business Park. The 103 acres of land near 200 Frenchtown Road directly abut the Quonset Freeway, providing access to rail lines, air transportation and Interstate 95.
“We are excited to provide this potential site to Commerce RI as a location for Amazon’s headquarters,” wrote Nicole LaFontaine, the town’s director of planning and development, in an email. “We believe North Kingstown is well positioned to handle the magnitude of such a project.”
Pawtucket and Central Falls made their pitch jointly, suggesting the Pawtucket Central Falls Train Station District, which straddles the border between the two cities. The district has more than 50 acres ready for development, according to a city news release.
“Bringing America’s retail giant is the next step for our region to continue to grow a regional, cross-boundary, creative economy,” said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa in a joint statement with Pawtucket. “We stand ready to lead.”
“We stand together, ready to hit the ground running to welcome another industry game-changer, Amazon, and tens of thousands of jobs to our Train Station District,” added Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien.
The district is set to see the opening of an MBTA commuter-rail station in 2020.
Eyewitness News made repeated attempts to obtain specifics from Woonsocket about the city’s pitch, but no information was provided before this article was published.