CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In what may be the most interesting business story in a generation, a fierce competition is pitting U.S. cities, including Charlotte, against dozens of others from coast-to-coast.
Its all in a bid to land a second headquarters for Amazon.
Winning the Amazon project would bring 50,000 jobs to the city with workers averaging more than $100,000 per year.
It would also be a $5 billion dollar shot of investment in infrastructure over the next 15 years.
That is why the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce President Bob Morgan is using superlatives like never before to describe the impact it would have on the area.
“It literally would lay the groundwork for Charlotte for the next 100 years," he said.
The Chamber has created a hashtag, #CLTisPrime to encourage local residents to send pictures and videos extolling why Amazon should put its second headquarters here.
Said Morgan, “The hashtag is a fun way to make a statement that Charlotte is Prime. Amazon is prime and we are ready to compete and put our best foot forward.”
But wait. Is a hashtag really enough to grab Amazon’s attention?
Tucson sent a 21-foot cactus to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters and is jokingly considering a name change to Amazon-a.
The Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman, says without a doubt, her city wins for attractive financial reasons.
“It’s just the right place, to say nothing of the fact that there is no city income tax, there is no state income tax, there’s no estate tax or corporate tax. It is Nirvana,” she said.
Bob Morgan counters saying Charlotte doesn’t have a war room operation like some cities in the hunt but says there is a lot going on besides that hashtag.
“There are probably over 50 different public sectors, not for profits, private sector firms who are part of the effort," Morgan said. "A lot of teamwork taking place, just not necessarily in one war room."
County Commissioner Pat Cotham was part of the quixotic effort that eventually brought the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte in 2012.
“It was a grassroots thing,” Cotham recalls.
She and other produced a video showing people from all walks of life holding up a sign reading, “Charlotte 2012.”
It was part of the effort that convinced the Democratic National Committee to award the convention to Charlotte over St. Louis.
Cotham says that same kind of grassroots effort is needed again to convince Amazon that Charlotte is the place to be.
“We got steak, but we need to show the sizzle of the steak,” she said.
Amazon has set a deadline of October 19 for cities to submit proposals. The company plans to make a decision on where its new headquarters will go next year.