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Prime Proposal: Grand Rapids submits application for Amazon HQ

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grand Rapids has officially put its name in the running for Amazon's second headquarters in the U.S.

The online retail giant announced its search for a second location early last month, in addition to its headquarters in Seattle.  The new HQ would create nearly 50,000 jobs in the community.

Grand Rapids is likely one of 53 cities in the country to put in an application.  The Right Place, a group focused on economic development in West Michigan, was behind the application and partnered with a few others.

Those involved say this could be a "game changer" for West Michigan.  Amazon says it'll invest nearly $5 billion in construction, pledging to create 50,000 jobs over 10 years.

Birgit Klohs, President and CEO of The Right Place, says they submitted a 108-page proposal to Amazon on Tuesday.  She said the company received it Wednesday.

"We've made our case that for Amazon, as one of the fastest growing companies to come to one of the fastest growing regions, because that's what we are," Klohs said.

Klohs says Grand Rapids meets most but not all of the criteria.  There's room for growth in mobility, like mass transit.

The application included a few possible locations for the headquarters, which aren't being released to the public just yet.

"We can't talk about the details because we, once you've given a proposal like this to a client, you don't really talk about the details," Klohs said. "A- the client doesn't like it. B- you don't want to show your hand.  And C- you don't really want to show your competitors."

Klohs says Grand Rapids may have a good chance with Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos investing in Michigan. The company has large warehouses on the east side of the state.

Detroit also submitted an application to Amazon for the bid.

"If Detroit makes it to the final cut we would definitely support our sister city on the other side of the state because we look at it as a win-win for the whole state if they were to choose Detroit," Klohs said.

As far as the next step, Klohs says they are kind of in the dark. Amazon only says they'll have a final site selection and announcement sometime in 2018.

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  • celiathaxter

    If Amazon came to Grand Rapids, it would be the death of the city. Everything that is great about living here — the quality of life, the affordability of most living expenses (save housing and rent, which is inflated), and the beautiful open spaces and scenery, not to mention overlooked brilliant touches, such as the sodium street lamps (the LED lights in Seattle are hideous, abrasive, and environmentally destructive), the friendliness of the people here, etc., you can kiss that all goodbye.

    I left Seattle because Amazon destroyed it. I was there for a wonderful three decades, until Amazon took root and began to parasitically feed off the infrastructure, the city council, and the real estate to create a giant, absolutely ugly, crowded, dangerous Company Town. Seattle now has 12,000 homeless people, most of them strung out on drugs like heroin, meth, and fentanyl. There are homeless encampments spread out all over the city. It also has the highest property crime rate in the nation. One is lucky if they can rent a 350 square studio for $1,000. Amazon brought in tens of thousands of highly paid tech bros, many of them from overseas, exploiting in its parasitical fashion HB5 visas, and this influx of tens of thousands of workers jacked up the rents and housing prices such that no one who lived in Seattle who worked a normal middle class job could afford to live there.

    It’s sad that such a beautiful, uniquely human-scaled, culturally diverse city like Grand Rapids would vie to attract a corporate behemoth whose only goal is to use and abuse the city in which it resides. I feel relatively confident Amazon will not select Grand Rapids (it’s not politically liberal enough for Amazon for one thing), but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel sorry for the city that is selected.

    The best approach would be for Amazon to develop its own unique city somewhere perhaps in the southwest, and build an entirely new city from scratch instead of absolutely destroying the city that is the target of their next headquarters. Amazon has a great business model — I give them credit for that. But don’t kid yourselves about the supposed benefits of having them move to Grand Rapids. Amazon brings nothing but destruction to the real estate it inhabits. This is not something I would wish on any city, much less such a beautiful, sane and livable place like Grand Rapids.

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