NEWARK, NJ - Amazon has just announced that 20 cities are finalists for its second headquarters and Newark was among those making the cut.
This decision comes several weeks after New Jersey lawmakers approved a legislation to attract Amazon's second corporate headquarters to Newark, presenting the company with nearly $5 billion dollars in tax break incentives to lure the that could create up to 50,000 jobs.
Former Gov. Chris Christie was a strong advocate for having Newark be the potential location although Camden and other communities were also in the running.
"New Jersey has the features that would make us a great location for Amazon's second world headquarters," state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, said earlier this month. "We have a skilled workforce, the best colleges and universities and a strategic location with access to highways, airports and shipping ports. This plan could help to attract good jobs and economic activity for years to come."
The bill created a "Transformative Headquarters Economic Assistance Program" under the administration of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to grant tax credits for establishing a corporate headquarters in New Jersey.
Atlanta and Austin, Texas are also considered leading contenders for the HQ2.
According to the bill, the headquarters project would be required to create at least 30,000 new full-time jobs and represent a capital investment of at least $3 billion. Lawmakers, however, believe the ultimate number could be 50,000.
The project would also be required to yield a net benefit to the state of at least 115 percent of the tax credits the company receives, according to a release from the state Senate.
The net benefits test would be calculated for a period of fifty years. The business would be required to certify that the tax credit would be a material factor in its decision to build the transformative headquarters in New Jersey, according to the legislation.
In September 2017, Amazon announced its intent to build a second headquarter in North America – known as HQ2. According to Amazon's documents, the company is willing to invest $5 billion in the project and create up to 50,000 new jobs.
Amazon listed some criteria for the new location: It would be in a metropolitan area, in a stable and business-friendly environment, close to world-class universities and to transportation infrastructure, and with optimal connectivity to the internet. The project could generate an estimated $10 billion in direct and indirect economic activity, according to the release.
According to Amazon, its headquarters in Seattle injected an additional $38 billion in the city's economy between 2010 and 2016, employs more than 40,000 persons directly in Seattle, and the economic activity generated by the company led to the creation of more than 50,000 jobs.