Amazon pitch to include CEO testimonials
Chamber enlists execs to vouch for quality of life, business climate
The Dallas Regional Chamber is enlisting some of Dallas’ big company CEOs for testimonials as it prepares the region’s submission to Amazon.
Developers, property owners and architects hustled for three weeks to get impressive site proposals done and submitted by Friday for Amazon’s prized HQ2.
Now some of Dallas’ big company CEOs may be put to work on behalf of the region.
Dozens of sites from downtown Dallas to Fort Worth, Frisco, Carrollton and Westlake are competing to be selected for Amazon’s second headquarters, and their backers turned in plans to the Dallas Regional Chamber by the locally imposed deadline. Amazon wants the proposals by Oct. 19 and is encouraging regions to submit unified bids.
The chamber wouldn’t say how many sites it received, but the proposals are now in the hands of the group’s economic development staff, said Darren Grubb, a chamber senior vice president. “We’re not sharing or offering specifics,” he said, “but we’ve received qualified submittals from many regional cities.”
The chamber is shepherding the process from here, including sharing insights on some intangibles.
Seattle-based Amazon plans to spend $5 billion to build a second headquarters that will employ as many as 50,000 people over the next 10 years. That’s a huge, forever-changing project for any city, and Amazon wants to know more than what real estate locations it can occupy. It also wants to know if a new region is a good cultural fit for its future employees.
Amazon asked specifically about “community” and “quality of life,” saying “a stable and consistent business climate is important.”
“Please demonstrate characteristics of this in your response,” Amazon said. “We encourage testimonials from other large companies.”
Large companies aren’t in short supply in North Texas. Dallas-Fort Worth is home to more than 150 publicly traded companies, major regional offices and large privately held companies. Twenty-two companies headquartered here are on the Fortune 500 list, including AT&T, ExxonMobil, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, J.C. Penney, KimberlyClark and Texas Instruments.
The chamber will make those testimonials part of the region’s submission to Amazon. American Airlines’ CEO Doug Parker is among the business executives asked to give his en- dorsement of North Texas.
The region’s bid also will include an overview presentation of data “that gives a comprehensive story,” Grubb said.
The chamber has promised cities it will keep their proposals confidential, he said, and is trying to keep the process private. Several North Texas development groups publicly touted their project plans this week, and cities around the country are actively trying to win Amazon’s attention.
Amazon set off an unprecedented competition among North America’s major metropolitan areas when it said on Sept. 7 that it was looking for a city for a second headquarters, a project considered by many to be among the largest economic development prizes in U.S. history.
This rendering shows an Amazon office tower proposed by Hillwood Urban to be built in the Victory Park area of Dallas.