Here are some of the best pitches we've gotten so far.
The key resource that Amazon is looking for is the ready availability of experienced software programmers and STEM talent. Hartford is always mentioned in lists of the top 20 regions in the U.S. for programmers (mainly due to Hartford's long history with the insurance industry, which was a very early adopter of computers). Experienced scientific and engineering personnel are also readily available. So, this really critical criterion is met.
I would select Toronto/Waterloo as the No. 1 region and Pittsburgh as the No. 2 region for Amazon's new headquarters if I was handicapping this race. But I would not immediately rule out Connecticut or Massachusetts. I suspect that ease of access to New York City, Boston and Washington is an unstated key criterion for Amazon. Connecticut meets this criterion. My belief is that Amazon will not select these three locations, even with their excellent mass transit systems, due to the awful congestion.
However, if the Hartford region is going to land this trophy, some out-of-the-box thinking will be required. Office space for 50,000 employees is simply not going to occur in one single campus location. Amazon is spread out all over Seattle. So, a headquarters location that is geographically spread out is logical.
I believe the mayors of Enfield and Longmeadow are onto something when they think of a single regional application to Amazon for a headquarters co-located in their communities. I would like to suggest something bigger. My suggestion is that Govs. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, along with the mayors of New Haven, Meriden, Hartford, Springfield and Northampton, jointly submit a proposal to Amazon to locate in the Connecticut River Valley, stretching from New Haven to Northampton. Naturally, Amazon would be able to interact with all the colleges and universities that are rich in STEM and IT talent in this corridor.
I hope that whatever state or province is ultimately selected doesn't give away the kitchen sink in an effort to win the heaquarters. Amazon is a wealthy enough company that there is no need to shower money on it.
Philip M. Ryan, Smithtown, N.Y.
P.S. I was born in Hartford. Although I haven't lived in Connecticut in 40 years, I still care about the well-being of Hartford.
Progressive And Smart
Hartford is between New York City and Boston. That gives it access to the entire tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as Greater Boston and Rhode Island. It also has access to highly skilled workforces.
New York and Boston are international port cities. This would provide access to many markets around the world, as well as the U.S.
In addition, like the Seattle area, this area is very progressive.
Jeffrey Downes, New Britain
Few Natural Disasters
Why come to Connecticut?
Connecticut is within a three-hour drive of 10 states.
It's one of Mother Nature's favorite states. Studies show that Connecticut has fewer natural disasters than most other states.
It has a competent workforce. Studies show Connecticut is among the best-educated states.
Amazon in Connecticut — a success story.
Scott Rhoades, Storrs
We Have The Workers
I believe Amazon should look to Hartford for its new headquarters because of our state's location between New York City and Boston, our fantastic airport, Bradley International, and the fact that Connecticut is ranked fourth highest educated state in the nation. (Washington, where Amazon is based, is ninth.)
An educated workforce here will help save the company from expensive relocation costs for thousands of potential employees. Amazon would also be joining the community at a time of revitalization of one of the greatest industrial cities in the country.
Akash Rastogi, Manchester
Amazon can have its own terminal at Bradley. Also, we are right between Boston and New York.
Steve Bennett, Manchester
I Came And Fell In Love
An immigrant from India, I settled in beautiful Connecticut five decades ago, making a career at United Technologies. Simply, we offer the best of everything: great universities (Yale, Wesleyan, UConn, RPI are easily accessed), community colleges, proximity to New York and Boston, an international airport, a diverse population, enjoyable spring, summer and fall seasons (colors that soothe the soul) and frequent mild winters, great theater, museums, concerts, sports events. The book-loving communities are large, evidenced by town libraries earning close to a $100,000 each year selling books donated by patrons. You will love it here. Do come!
Sheenu Srinivasan, Glastonbury
I'm Begging You
I'm gonna level with you, Jeff: We really need this one. I'm sure you've heard we're having some issues lately. But it is a beautiful state! Did you know we invented Lyme disease? And let's not forget we beat North Carolina in the race to fly. Ever hear of the Pez candy dispenser? Connecticut. The Colt revolver, anesthesia? Connecticut, Connecticut. See, we are a diverse state and we do have a lot going for us, so I'm asking ... no, I'm begging you, Jeff: Please pick us, please!
Marc Boucher, Stafford Spring
Hartford's A Bargain
Hartford's what you might call a fixer-upper. Lots of potential. Solid foundation. Excellent provenance. Neglected, but still sound and altogether redeemable. Among the overpasses and parking lots, you can detect the remnants of a great little city in a day's tour. We've been trying to clean up in the wake of five decades of grievous errors, but the damage has been severe, the process is slow, and we've had to do it without much help from the neighbors. You get a good bargain here, by any measure, and there's lots of love and determination. They could be our biggest capital asset.
Steve Fournier, Hartford
We Have It All
There are not many places in the world other than Connecticut where staff can enjoy the serenity of our towns and their lower real estate prices, and send their children to state-of-the-art schools. Our talent pool is from excellent institutions such as Yale, UConn and the University of Hartford. Our state offers many entertainment options including casinos, the ocean and outdoor activities. We have shipping ports. Finally, our state is a car ride away from major cities including New York City, Boston, Jersey City and Montreal.
Moheb Kasem, Glastonbury
We'll Remember With Gratitude
Connecticut is not at the best time in its history. But it is rich in history. It is the cradle of our country, nestled between Boston and New York City. Its resilient, resourceful people have weathered many storms and bounced back stronger from each. While some companies have left for presumed greener pastures, a growing global company like Amazon could find in Connecticut the rewarding opportunity of being the turning point for a state with a talented, knowledgeable workforce; a logistically enviable location; and political and industry leaders pushing hard to be the change we need to see in our beloved state. A company that make that commitment to us while we're down will long be remembered with goodwill when we are up again. AmazonHQ2 in CT? Yes, we can!
Jon Petoskey, East Hartford
Beauty, Brains And Culture
Dear Mr. Bezos, let me list a few of our attractions: Our labor force and available land and buildings (GE, Aetna et al.); our famous educational institutions (Yale and Trinity, to name just two) and excellent community colleges, state universities and UConn; our rural acres, beaches and historic sites; our culture, including the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, the Bushnell Theater in Hartford, Hartford Stage, Real Art Ways, community theaters and many more; fine residential areas; etc., etc.
Thomas C. Lowell, Killingworth
Not Just Another Player
Amazon has a unique opportunity to play a major role in the revival of a great historical city. Amazon can be the catalyst to ensure Hartford will be successful in a return to her former glory. There are larger East Coast cities with many positive attributes, but they already have a number of corporate giants; Amazon would be just another player in a large corporate presence. Placing HQ2 in Hartford would have a greater impact on Hartford, the state and Amazon than it would in those booming cities. Be “revolutionary” — choose Hartford.
Shirley Bailey Zachery, Windsor
The Things Amazon Could Do
“In Hartford, I felt like I could make a difference” – John Michael Mason, Hartford Courant, Sept. 14
In Hartford, Amazon has an opportunity to dramatically remake (in its image) a part of the country. Dropping a corporate headquarters into Boston, New York or Denver would make scant difference in the development of infrastructure in those locales. But in Hartford, Amazon could be the driving force behind such things as:
*High-speed rail connection to the airport.
*High speed rail to Boston and New York (and points beyond?).
*Connecticut River waterfront development.
*Mobility hubs served by bicycles and robotic cars.
*Greater economic diversity in Hartford neighborhoods.
Thus Amazon could remake central Connecticut into one of the most exciting and future-oriented places in the country, if not the world.
Hartford is large and diverse enough to provide Amazon a workforce capable of launching its fortunes into the mid-century, yet small enough to be a laboratory for creative ideas of that workforce to the benefit of Amazon, its shareholders, the region and beyond. Amazon could do no better than to come to Hartford – a place where it could make a real difference.
John Q. Gale, Hartford
The writer is on the Hartford city council.