Business & Finance

Somers Making Bid for Amazon HQ2

Somers Supervisor Rick Morrisssey at a press conference annoouncing the effort to entice Amazon to the region.

SOMERS, N.Y.--Somers has joined a full-throated county effort to make Westchester the home of a major corporate headquarters for Amazon, a move that could bring as many as 50,000 new jobs to the area.

“When you look at the criteria for what Amazon is looking for, we match up perfectly,” County Executive Robert P. Astorino declared in announcing the county’s pending Amazon courtship. “We feel very strongly that we are the smartest choice for Amazon.”

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, announced last month that it has begun a nationwide search for a compatible corporate site.

Sign Up for E-News

At stake for the region is the prospect of landing a major corporation and the tens of thousands of high-paying jobs Amazon said it expects to create. For Somers, it could mean a wildly successful tenant for either of its vacant IBM or PepsiCo properties—or both. All told, they offer some 1.5 million square feet of space. 

Somers Supervisor Rick Morrissey, whose town suffered back-to-back body blows with the abrupt loss of long-time corporate citizens IBM and PepsiCo, appeared with Astorino at a Sept. 26 County Center press conference. Making the case for his town, Morrissey noted that “Somers has world-class commercial real estate in a strategic location, providing easy access to three Metro-North train stations, highways and area airports.”

In remarks at the press conference and later on social media, he called Somers “one of the most strategic areas in the metropolitan area. “Tech companies have thrived in suburban enclaves, and Somers is fertile ground for the East Coast tech scene.”

Morrissey noted that Somers “is located in New York’s intellectual capital with a highly educated and talented work force, close to world-renowned colleges and universities, at the northern cross-section of the greatest metropolitan area in the world.”  

Other county officials, leaders in commerce and labor and others joined Astorino and Morrissey.

In his quest to land what Amazon is styling as HQ2, Astorino said he is also “working with the mayors” of Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and White Plains on pitches to Amazon. “Others may step forward,” Astorino said.

The county’s economic development office will combine those individual municipal pitches to create a single, consolidated package spelling out the opportunities and economic incentives that Westchester can provide.  

In the end, of course, incentives—tax breaks, fee reductions, grants and other government-proffered goodies—could prove to be the ultimate scale-tipper in Amazon’s decision-making. 

Amazon, for its part, candidly acknowledges the importance of a suitor’s generous economic package. The company warns that “a project of this magnitude may require special incentive legislation...to achieve a competitive incentive proposal.” 

George Oros, the director of the county’s Office of Economic Development, “is prepared to offer a number of incentives,” Astorino said, and is “working with state officials to make certain we have the most competitive package available.”  

The competition is expected to be wide and deep as municipalities from coast to coast and Canada, too, throw open the candy store and fashion the sweetest deals they can. Somers joins such places as Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia and nearby Danbury, Tucson, Ariz.; Ottawa, Canada; and Washington, D.C., as contenders publicly courting Amazon. More—many more—seem certain to emerge by the Oct. 19 deadline for states to file applications on behalf of their municipal hopefuls.

The winning municipality, expected to be announced next year, can expect to add as many as 50,000 jobs to its region. “The jobs,” Amazon says, “will likely be broken down into the following categories: executive/management, engineering with a preference for software development engineers (SDE), legal, accounting and administrative.” The jobs’ “average annual total compensation,” the company says, would top $100,000 over the next 10 to 15 years.

Amazon’s Request for Proposal, or RFP, an eight-page document issued to potential suitors, contains almost 3,000 words of preferences and requirements.

In choosing the location for HQ2, the RFP says Amazon prefers, among other things, a metropolitan area with more than a million people, a business-friendly environment and “communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.” 

Those specifications are all “pretty good ones for Somers,” said one development professional, who asked not to be identified.

But Amazon’s RFP also calls for “an urban or suburban location with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.”

Somers, situated on Westchester’s northernmost boundary, will find it “more difficult” to check that box, the development specialist said. 

“The recent trend in business relocation tends to be as close to a large-city downtown as possible or a close-in location,” he said. “Somers may be seen as the outer range of this business goal. I sense that part of the IBM and PepsiCo decisions were influenced by this new trend.”

PepsiCo (in 2015) and IBM Corp. (in 2016) announced they were pulling out operations that for some 30 years had been part of Somers. They would consolidate those functions at their corporate headquarters, closer to New York City, in Purchase and Armonk, respectively.

“Certainly in Connecticut the GE decision to move from Fairfield to Boston was heavily influenced by attracting young talent,” the development specialist said.

New York City will compete strongly on this point, he said, as will smaller cities like White Plains or Stamford that provide amenities and housing and have strong and fast rail connection to New York City.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Somers

My Overworked Guardian Angel!

Many years ago, my mother gave me a tiny, gold guardian angel pin to wear on my collar. When I think of it, that poor angel has worked overtime all these years and never been compensated!

Imagine “her” performance plan: serious health issues, automobile accidents, family crises, broken relationships, raising four sons, and the list goes on. For whatever reason, the other day I ...

Do Not Open 'Til Christms

Honey, if you’re reading this, don’t read this. Skip over to the Tuskers’ sports scores, because I need some advice on how to shop for your Christmas present. Back in the olden days I used to drive over to Macy’s at the mall, full of vigor and holiday spirit. Since there was no available parking within a 10-mile radius, I would have to drive slowly around the lot, ...

Twenty-First Century Woman

According to the French playwright Moliere, “The great ambition of women is to inspire love.” Nice idea, but quite out of date.

There was a time when all women could do was find someone to marry and take care of them. Today’s woman has her head and hands in everything; she must still be wife, mother, nurse and “chef extraordinaire” serving healthful, nutritious ...

Grateful to Organize

As a professional organizer, you would assume that I am passionate about organizing. I am not—I am passionate about people. Given the choice between being at home and dealing with my own piles or going to Pleasantville and sorting out Mrs. Martin’s closet, I will chose Mrs. Martin and her closet every single time. I enjoy my own company but I know that story and at this point, I would ...

What Are the Real Issues Affecting Bad Grades?

Dear Dr. Linda,

We have two boys, Dan in 11th grade and Luke in eighth. Dan always gets straight A’s while his younger brother, Luke, gets B’s and C’s. As the years have gone on, Dan has kept his grades up but Luke’s have gone down. Not only have his grades gone down, but he seems to have actually “checked out.” He goes to school but does poorly and ...

The Millennial Guide to Shopping

My 27-year-old daughter, Elissa, asked me what I wanted this holiday season. My choice was one of those newfangled, voice-activated digital doodads disguised as an unassuming sound speaker but which otherwise behaves like the late, great Robin Williams’ Genie from Disney’s “Aladdin.” “Your wish is my command!”

Already knowing the two dominant brands in this ...

The Eyebrows Have It

As I perused the latest fashion magazine, I noticed something about the models.

They all had big eyebrows. Big, perfect eyebrows. Big, sculpted, perfectly groomed and arched eyebrows.

And I did not.

Not that I’m comparing myself to a model, because that would be impossible on just so many levels. I could not make myself 6 feet tall, 115 pounds and willowy without a body transplant.

Upcoming Events

Mon, December 11

Yorktown Love In Action, Inc, Yorktown Heights

Grand Opening of the used BOOK NOOK at Yorktown ...

Home & Garden Other

Tue, December 12

Yorktown Love In Action, Inc, Yorktown Heights

Grand Opening of the used BOOK NOOK at Yorktown ...

Home & Garden Other

Wed, December 13

Yorktown Love In Action, Inc, Yorktown Heights

Grand Opening of the used BOOK NOOK at Yorktown ...

Home & Garden Other