MINNEAPOLIS - By the end of the day Friday, we’ll have an idea how many sites in Minnesota are trying to be a new home for Amazon.
The massive company promises to bring up to 50 thousand jobs that pay an average salary of more than $100,000 a year to the city that it chooses as its second headquarters. That’s why competition across the country is stiff. There are many cities and states across the country putting proposals together to woo the company, and Greater MSP is handling the duties for the Twin Cities.
The group is keeping a lid on the potential Minnesota sites until after the deadline on Friday, but Ramsey County has confirmed that the site of a former ammunition plant in Arden Hills, and St. Paul Riverfront Properties are among the submissions. Greater MSP will put together a final proposal by October 19th, which could list several potential sites for Amazon to consider.
The company has a list of requirements for whatever site it chooses, including access to public transit, but the biggest obstacle for Minnesota will likely be with workforce related.
"In any region, 50,000 jobs don't just fall in your lap and you fill them without having it hurt other employers,” said Anna Coskran, with NTH.
“Some people had us placed at 11th on the list, and really it comes down to the available talent that fits Amazon's needs,” Dale Kurschner, editor of Twin Cities Business. "We do not have an abundant labor supply here and we do not have an abundant techy labor supply.”
But Kurschner says Minnesota is attractive because of its quality of life, work ethic and its history of innovation. He says the presence of many Fortune 500 companies is something that could work for it, as long as Amazon believe it can compel talented employees to relocate.
"If you brought in an employer that said, we have 50,000 jobs to offer and we're paying $100,000 on average? I don't think we'd have a hard time having people move here,” he said.
It’s still unclear what kind of tax incentives Minnesota might make to Amazon as part of a proposal. Governor Dayton has called for restraint and Kurschner says Greater MSP is waiting to see if Amazon shows interest in the area before discussing that.