WHITE PLAINS, NY — Citing Westchester’s signature strengths and prime assets, County Executive Robert P. Astorino today made a pitch with the hope of landing Amazon in Westchester.
Joined by leaders in business, real estate, labor, construction and education, Astorino distinguished Westchester from other major cities competing for the global giant’s planned second headquarters by highlighting that the county has exactly what Amazon is looking for in a new home.
“Westchester has everything Amazon is looking for and more: Talent, accessibility, quality of life, value and locations, locations, locations,” said Astorino. “Amazon laid out the criteria and Westchester matches them, making Westchester the smart choice for Amazon.”
As an example of Westchester’s ability to deliver customer fulfillment, the County Executive had his pitch to Amazon delivered by drone. Earlier this month, the Seattle-based internet retailer announced that it was seeking proposals from cities and metropolitan areas across North America to compete for its second headquarters, a 500,000 square-foot facility known as HQ2 that is expected to include $5 billion in private investment and create as many as 50,000 new high-paying jobs.
Amazon’s preferences are that any potential location be situated in a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people, have a stable business environment, offer urban or suburban locations, and the ability to retain talented professionals. It also wants to have access to mass transit and major highways and be situated within 45 minutes of an international airport, characteristics that make Westchester the right fit for Amazon, Astorino noted.
In his remarks, the County Executive highlighted a number of Westchester’s strengths, notably its:
· Talent: An impressive 47 percent of residents over the age of 25 have a college or graduate degree, making Westchester the most educated county in the United States and ideal for a technology company;
· Accessibility: Westchester has three Metro-North train lines, an Amtrak line, the BeeLine Bus system, several interstate highways, its own airport and is easily accessible to four others – LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy, Newark and Stewart airports. “Amazon is in the business of getting things from here to there, and Westchester’s access to planes, trains and highways is second to none,” Astorino said.
· Quality of life: With vibrant downtowns, walkable neighborhoods and scenic country sides, Westchester offers a wide variety of places to live, go to school and raise a family. Additionally, there are 18,000 acres of parks – and four seasons to enjoy them – as well as world-class restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
· Value: Just miles from midtown Manhattan, Westchester’s office space is far less expensive than its neighbor to the south. “No other location offers proximity to New York City, but with office space at half the price,” Astorino said. “It’s no accident that global business leaders like IBM, PepsiCo, Regeneron and MasterCard have their world headquarters in Westchester.”
· Locations: With transit-oriented development in cities such as White Plains, New Rochelle and Mount Vernon, and open-campus sites in Somers and along the I-287 corridor, the County Executive said Westchester has a number of options that are ideal for Amazon.
Westchester’s assets were recently featured in a series of advertisements promoting the county from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency. View them here.
Leaders in business, education and government joined the County Executive in support of Westchester’s efforts to attract Amazon. Here’s what they said:
“Westchester County is in a unique and outstanding competitive position to attract Amazon to our County,” said Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester. “Long the home of the world’s major corporations like IBM, PepsiCo, Regeneron and MasterCard, Westchester clearly has the assets of vibrant downtowns, excellent real estate, mass transit, transportation mobility, technological infrastructure and most important the talent and intellectual capital to attract and retain the employees needed. With our pro-business attitude and practices, Amazon will find Westchester the very best place to locate.”
“Westchester County has the features Amazon and companies like them are looking for in terms of population, access to mass transit, and educational institutions,” said William M. Mooney, Jr., President and CEO of The Westchester County Association. “Plus we have a great lifestyle, good schools, diverse communities, and a few million square feet of available inventory. In short, our infrastructure is second to none. We are also on the way to attracting gigabit speed broadband to our urban centers, which will create the right digital infrastructure for companies like Amazon.”
“As Amazon does its due diligence in their search for a second American headquarters, they are going to look for a place with a highly educated workforce, infrastructure that supports their logistics and, with all of the online attacks and breaches regularly being reported in the news, access to highly trained Cybersecurity professionals,” said Jonathan Hill, Dean of Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. “Westchester County is a vibrant area for tech savvy young people filled with educational institutions and employers ready to hire recent graduates, while the demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing three times faster than the overall IT job market, and 12 times faster than the total labor market.”
Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President of Westchester Community College, said: “As the largest higher education provider in the region, Westchester Community College offers degree programs and workforce training that prepares students with the twenty-first century skills that high-tech and high-performing organizations need. Students seeking four-year and graduate degrees get a strong start in any of our hundreds of transfer pathways that guarantee junior standing at many colleges and universities in the region.”
“With the former IBM and PepsiCo campuses available, Somers has world class commercial real estate in a strategic location, providing easy access to three Metro North train stations, highways and area airports,” said Somers Town Supervisor Rick Morrissey. “The Town is located in New York’s intellectual capital with a highly educated and talented workforce, close to world renowned colleges and universities, at the northern cross-section of the greatest metropolitan area in the world. Tech companies have thrived in suburban enclaves, and Somers is fertile ground for the east coast tech scene.”
Joanne Fernandez, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees for the Westchester Parks Foundation, said: “The Westchester County Parks system is home to a nationally accredited 18,000 acres of parks, trails, and open spaces. Our county parks and public space are integral for economic development, civic engagement, community revitalization, promoting interaction with neighbors, attracting visitors, and providing a venue for art and culture. In addition, our parks have significant public health and environmental benefits that provide active and passive recreational opportunities for our youngest to our youngest at heart.”