October 21, 2017
Who wants Amazon’s HQ2 the most? Take a look at bids from other cities

You can almost hear the TV announcer’s voice booming through the speakers: “There’s $5 billion on the line and 50,000 new jobs. Do you have what it takes to be Amazon’s next HQ2?”
The contestants cheer. They’re all big city mayors — John Tory and Naheed Nenshi among them — vying for the grand prize: a red rose from Jeff Bezos.
But this is not a reality TV show; this is Amazon’s offer to the city that hosts its new HQ2 development — a replica of their home base in Seattle.
The winning proposal has to be located near an urban centre, an airport, and must be close to the highway. The development is slated to start at 500,000 sq. ft., but is expected to reach up to 8,000,000 sq. ft. as the project continues.
More than 100 cities have put forward bids to woo Bezos and Amazon.
To win over the heart and mind of the tech giant, however, applicants are going to have to be memorable.
With the final HQ2 bids submitted Thursday, the Star takes a look at the craziest gimmicks cities have come up with in order to score top prize, and a place in Bezos heart.

Tucson, Arizona
Sun Corridor Inc., an economic development group based out of Arizona, packed a 6.5-metre cactus into a truck and delivered it direct to Bezos in Seattle.
Amazon had to turn down the spiky specimen, however, telling the city in a tweet that they could not accept gifts — “even really cool ones.”
Amazon donated the cactus to a desert museum.



New York City
Light me up, baby.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the city would go “Amazon Orange” in an attempt to appeal to Bezos sensibilities.
Several of the city’s landmarks, including the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center, were outfitted in bright orange for the duration of Wednesday evening.

Ottawa

Working the Canadian Way, Ottawa finalized their pledge with a chorus of hockey fans.
Attendees of a hockey game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Ottawa Senators were asked to cheer for Amazon at the game’s intermission — in both French and English.

Birmingham, Alabama
Taking a flirty approach to winning Bezos heart, Birmingham set up giant imitation Dash Buttons throughout the city. The buttons were programmed to tweet one of 600 pickup lines at Amazon when pressed.
One such tweet professed Birmingham’s hunger for Amazon’s affection, reading: “We are Chipotle and these other cities are Taco Bell, Amazon.”

Calgary
Some lovers might catch a grenade for you, but Nenshi would fight a bear.
Calgary infiltrated Seattle with persuasive graffiti, and hung a 60-metre long banner across from Amazon’s current HQ proclaiming its willingness to take down a bear in Bezos honour.

Denver, Colorado
Capitalizing on the dreary weather in Amazon’s Seattle home base, Denver offered a reprieve from the cold and damp, telling the company they had “300 days of sunshine” and “bluer and prettier” skies than the Seattle HQ, according to the Associated Press.
(Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the other hand, has counter offered 310 cloudless days.)
In addition to their appeal to nature, Denver also touted the opportunity for Amazonians to eat, drink, and be merry. The city referred to the large number of breweries in Colorado — six per every 100,000 residents — as a reason for Amazon to set up shop in Denver.

Stonecrest, Georgia
In perhaps the most outrageous stunt to take home the grand prize, Stonecrest is offering to change its name to Amazon.
Yes, seriously.
The new city, incorporated in 2016,has offered to dedicate 139 hectares of the city for use by the company, and has offered to install Bezos as the de-facto mayor of Amazon.
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