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Indy, Fishers to Team Up on Bid for New Amazon Headquarters

Mayors say they'll seek more partners across nine-county metro area for $5B project

Indy is buying in to an economic development sweepstakes, with the prize being Amazon's second North American headquarters.

The Seattle-based online giant has given cities till October 19 to come up with a proposal for locating what will eventually be a $5 billion headquarters campus with 50,000 employees, with the average salary in six figures. Indy and Fishers plan to work together on a proposal, and are looking for more partners across the nine-county area.

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness says for a project this huge, traditional boundaries don't apply. He says landing the project would be a big win for the entire region. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says the scope and potential payoff of the project are comparable to Indy's Super Bowl bids. And while Fadness and Hogsett say they haven't spoken with Carmel leaders yet, they say adding Carmel's cultural amenities to those of their own cities will be critical to assembling a winning proposal.

Boone County, which is already home to an Amazon distribution center in Whitestown, says it's eager to join the effort.

Hogsett calls the Indy metro area the perfect location for the headquarters, with the combination of Indiana's universities, a skilled workforce, the state's business climate, the thriving Indianapolis downtown, and a mass transit expansion that will be gathering momentum just as Amazon is making its final decision next year.

The request for proposals demands a nearby international airport -- a well-timed request, with Indy announcing its first direct flight to Paris a day before Amazon made its announcement last week.

Amazon wants either 100 acres of undeveloped land or a half-million-square-foot building that can be retrofitted and expanded. Hogsett says there are several workable sites, including along the White River and east of the former Market Square Arena site. He says city leaders will seek state participation from Governor Holcomb, and meet with economic development and site selection specialists to craft a final package of location and incentives. Fadness says they'll also confer with local tech groups on the shape of a 21st-century workplace, to meet Amazon's call for bidders to "think big, and creatively."

Amazon says it wants to locate in a metro area of at least a million people. 70 cities in the U-S, Canada and Mexico meet that threshold, and Hogsett says he expects just about all of them to apply. But he says even if Indy doesn't land the headquarters, the experience of collaborating on a plan of that size will better position the region for the next megaproject that comes along.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett (left) and Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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