Leaders in Los Angeles are eager to make a play for Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters despite some significant questions about whether there’s a real shot of luring the e-commerce giant to the area.

Any doubts aren’t stopping local politicians from jostling to lead the bid – a process touched off when Amazon issued the public relations equivalent of a national request for proposals on Sept. 8.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. and Mark Ridley-Thomas, chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, made their intentions clear last week, launching a behind-the-scenes campaign to put the bidding process under a regional umbrella with the county in a lead role.

Letter

A private letter sent to civic leaders last week included a call by Ridley-Thomas and LAEDC Chief Executive Bill Allen for a meeting to discuss a unified regional proposal. The letter champions the county’s abilities to attract businesses and stresses the need for a single front.

Some key criterion laid out by Amazon: a marketplace with a population of at least 1 million, a strong system of colleges and universities, and an international airport within 45 minutes for the headquarters.

“We believe that our region has all the assets to develop, deliver and execute on a successful proposal,” the letter reads. “But, it will take all of us coming together to organize and mount a determined regional effort.”

The push by the county came after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would make a bid – an announcement issued just hours after Amazon said it would solicit proposals for what the company describes as a second headquarters to host 50,000 employees spread over up to 8 million square feet of office space.

Garcetti has remained quiet about the city’s plans since then – the mayor last week was in Lima, Peru, to accept an official offer for Los Angeles to host the 2028 Olympic Games. A spokesman for Garcetti said the situation was fluid, but did confirm an unspecified city representative attended the meeting called by county officials last week.

“We are having ongoing discussions about how to best approach this opportunity to bring good paying jobs to Angelenos and people across the region,” said George Kivork, a mayoral spokesman.

The presence of a representative of the Mayor’s Office wasn’t guaranteed.

In an interview prior to the county-led meeting, Carrie Rogers, senior vice president for business assistance and development at LAEDC, said she was hopeful Garcetti would ultimately be on board with a joint regional bid.

Prev

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.