The movement to attract a multi-billion dollar project by an online shopping and sales giant is gaining steam. Leaders at various levels of government are looking forward to submitting a proposal to bring Amazon's planned second North American headquarters to the Buffalo area.
The Seattle-based company recently called for proposals to build what it is calling its "HQ2," a campus Amazon officials say will be similar to their existing site.
It's becoming an increasingly coveted project. Rochester and New York City have expressed interest and several Canadian cities are also expected to submit bids.
While admitting it will be fierce competition and high odds, Congressman Brian Higgins says the Buffalo area has raised eyebrows elsewhere in the nation.
"Buffalo and Western New York has great competitive advantages, locationally," Higgins said. "I think there's a tendency to underestimate the reputation for hard work that Western New Yorkers have. We have 28 colleges and universities, a highly educated workforce."
Higgins pointed out that major corporations are growing in the region. Tesla recently began production of solar panel components at its Riverbend factory and GEICO, as Higgins pointed out, has undergone several expansions locally.
Amazon has already expressed other plans for Erie County. It is slated to open a sorting center in Lancaster.
The HQ2 project is expected to create up to 50,000 jobs. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says it would be transformational if Amazon would put their new second headquarters within his city. But he adds he is just one of many working together toward the common goal of luring the company to somewhere in the area.
"We're working with other partners. We're working with an integrated team that will involve city, county, state, federal, others," Mayor Brown said. "We're looking forward to that partnership."
Amazon has set a deadline of October 19 to receive proposals.