NEWARK, NJ - Mayor Ras Baraka declared that Newark could transform Amazon should the company bring its second headquarters here in an opinion piece that was published by the Washington Post.
The retail giant on Valentine’s Day pulled out of its New York selection after lawmakers and residents there opposed the second headquarters. Newark, which was previously one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2, has now been eyeing the company again.
Although the company has said it does not plan to reopen its HQ2 search at this time, that hasn’t stopped city officials here from trying to convince it to come to Newark. On Valentine’s Day, city officials sent a Valentine's Day package -- with red heart-shaped balloons, cupcakes and sign that read "NJ & Newark Still Love U, amazon" -- to a Manhattan office for Amazon.
In November, the company announced that it would pick Long Island City, Queens and Arlington, Va. over Newark for its new headquarters. The second headquarters is expected to create thousands of high-paying jobs.
Baraka, in his Washington Post op-ed, said having the second headquarters in Newark would also create 70,000 to 110,000 indirect jobs.
"Just Capital, a nonprofit organization that ranks companies based upon their performance on issues of justice, currently ranks Amazon as No. 30 in the country," Baraka wrote. "But in October 2018, a report said that by implementing socially conscious steps, including selecting a city such as Newark for its new office location, Amazon could elevate to the top 10.
"As it turns out, a company can do well and do good at the same time."
Not everyone has been on board though. When city council passed a $2 billion tax incentive for companies like Amazon -- in addition to the $5 billion approved by the state -- residents raised concerns about gentrification.
Still, the mayor said in a statement the same day Amazon decided to pull out of New York that the community in Newark is "engaged."
"Legislation regarding the tax incentives has already been passed, our real estate options are still viable, and the community has been – and will continue to be – engaged," Baraka's Feb. 14 statement read. "Newark is becoming a national model for what equitable development should look like across the country and we welcome the opportunity to resume conversations with Amazon and provide them an opportunity to be a part of its renaissance.”
The mayor's op-ed piece was published Sunday online by the Washington Post.