Cash-strapped Atlantic City has puts its hat in the ring hoping to lure Amazon for its planned second headquarters.
The city announced Monday morning it has submitted a proposal to host the e-commerce giant, touting large publicly owned sites that could accommodate a building with more than 500,000-square-feet by 2019 with room for expansion. Mayor Donald Guardian also noted that Atlantic City is one of five designed “growth zones” in the Garden State that enable the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to award “generous” tax breaks for the proposed facility, which Amazon says could employ up to 50,000 people.
“Atlantic City is centrally located with easy access to Philadelphia, New York and Washington DC, in a state with a growing number of Amazon fulfillment centers, and in an area with an affordable cost of living and a desirable quality of life,” said Guardian in a statement. “We have a huge international airport, convenient rail access with excess capacity, a new Stockton University campus that will open on the Boardwalk in 2018, a diverse population and outstanding recreational amenities.”
Atlantic City is one of several municipalities across the U.S. unveiling proposals for Amazon after the Seattle-based company announced plans for another headquarters in what is expected to be a $5 billion investment. Guardian emphasized that one aspect of Atlantic City’s bid that could interest Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center located seven miles outside the city, one of six national test sites for unmanned aircraft systems. Bezos introduced the Prime Air project in 2013 to implement drone delivery systems.
“We have used Amazon’s invitation for proposals as an opportunity to meet with state and county representatives, the business community and others to develop a plan for business expansion in Atlantic City,” said Guardian. “We need to diversify our economy to provide new job opportunities for our residents.”
Atlantic City entered 2017 with $224 million in bond debt after paying $36.7 million toward debt service last year, according to an audit report released in May. The Jersey Shore gambling hub has faced state intervention since last November after New Jersey’s Local Finance Board rejected the city’s proposed rescue plan. The distressed city has deep junk-level credit ratings of CC by S&P Global Ratings and Caa3 by Moody’s Investors Service.