Bristol enters the competition to be the location of Amazon’s second headquarters
By Samantha Bambino
For the past few months, municipal leaders across the country have had their eyes on the same prize — to be selected as the location for Amazon’s second headquarters. Currently, the e-commerce industry giant is based out of Seattle, Washington, but as the brand continues to expand, so must its workspace. So far in Pennsylvania, officials in Philadelphia and Bensalem have submitted proposals as to why their city/town is the perfect fit. Now, boasting its expansive riverfront space and convenient location, Bristol is getting in the mix with a proposal of its own.
Earlier this year, Amazon sent out a request for proposals to municipalities nationwide. Requirements were kept to a minimum, such as being near accessible transportation, to give officials the chance to highlight what makes their areas unique. According to the company, the second headquarters would mirror the current 8.1 million-square-foot Seattle location, create 50,000 new jobs and generate $5 billion in construction revenue.
When Bristol officials got word of this opportunity, it was a no brainer to submit a proposal. The area has been on the rise for some time now, with new businesses opening left and right. According to Craig Bowen, Bristol Township Council president, getting involved could only help it continue to climb.
“What do we have to lose?” he said.
One of the key highlights of Bristol’s proposal to Amazon is its 400 acres of open riverfront property. Several years ago, Bowen explained that the space was set to be used for a minor league baseball stadium. But due to disagreements, the project was pulled, and the area has remained empty ever since.
“There are not many 400-acre spaces out there,” he said.
In addition to its vast, scenic property ready for use, Bristol’s proposal also includes details on its convenient location. Positioned near I-95, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, multiple airports less than a 30-minute drive away and a new train station in Croydon, Amazon employees could choose from a variety of transportation methods for their commute to work.
Throughout the process so far, Bristol officials have not only taken into consideration how the area can benefit Amazon, but how Amazon can benefit the township. If selected, according to Bowen, Amazon’s presence would be economically helpful to its residents. Currently, 80 percent of taxes from real estate goes toward the schools, which locals are primarily responsible for. With the company occupying such a large space, Bowen said this would alleviate some of the burden from taxpayers.
“New businesses create revenue for the homeowners,” he said.
Though Bristol officials understand it’s a longshot to be the lucky winner with hundreds of municipalities vying for the same prize, Bowen doesn’t see the competition as a bad thing. Even if the township isn’t selected, he explained how all that it has to offer, especially the amount of open riverfront property, has been made public knowledge. If Amazon decides on another location, the hope is that another company will take advantage.
Currently, all documents for Bristol’s proposal have been submitted. Over the next several months, Amazon will begin to narrow the contenders down before making an official announcement early next year.
“Now we sit and wait,” Bowen said. ••
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com