It was a valiant effort by Detroit — a whole 242-page book, some fancy videos, and the promise of hefty tax incentives — but the city is, apparently, not primed to host Amazon's second headquarters.
Amazon released a list of possible candidates this morning, and Detroit was not among the 20 cities that made the company's first-round cut. More than 200 North American cities submitted bids for the company's second headquarters, an investment Amazon said would bring at least $5 billion and 50,000 jobs to the selected location.
Detroit's joint bid with Windsor was spearheaded by billionaire Dan Gilbert and co-signed by political and business leaders from throughout the region. They were thirsty as hell for Amazon, reportedly offering the company a deal that would let it keep its employees’ state income taxes for 10 years, keep 50 percent of those taxes for the next 10 years, and avoid paying real estate and personal property taxes for 30 years. Smaller tax breaks were thrown in the mix as well.
The giveaway was available with “no further legislative action,” the bid reportedly said. Legislative action, of course, being something that could have thrown a wrench in the deal, as numerous studies have found such incentives often don't pay off in the long run.
Metro Detroiters, meanwhile, were also feeling the thirst. According to at least one survey, they were more enthusiastic about the prospect of Amazon HQ2 than people in any other major metro area in the country.
And that thirst translated to somewhat blind hope. People truly thought Amazon would overlook the city and region’s abysmal public transit system and poor public schools in favor of ample, cheap land near an urban core, which Detroit has in spades. Even Gilbert seemed hopeful, telling one media outlet he had it on good knowledge that Detroit was in the company’s top five choices for an HQ2.
There’s a lot of disappointment throughout metro Detroit today. If you’re among those hurting, here are 2,000 words that may help you get over it.
These are the first-round finalists for Amazon HQ2:
Los Angeles, CA
Montgomery County, MD
New York City, NY
Northern Virginia, VA