HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Huntsville-Madison County area has strong track record in recruiting new business to the area. Rocket City leaders have now set their sites on the biggest target yet, a new Amazon headquarters that would employ up to 50,000 people.
The first thing to consider is Amazon is eyeing communities of at least a million people. Huntsville's metro area is a bit over 400,000, so is this just a publicity stunt? We asked Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and he confirmed that, "It's definitely a real effort, but we're a long-shot."
Well, two of the Amazon criteria certainly fit the Rocket City. The retail giant requires a stable, business-friendly environment and the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.
Amazon`s criteria list also includes good traffic flow, a large tech workforce, and proximity to an international airport and a cultural - community fit that includes a diverse community and strong higher education system.
Mayor Battle believes Huntsville fits the bill, "We are a knowledge-based community. We have a lot of the attributes they would at. We just landed a project, that is a Jeff Bezos project, which is Blue Origin."
Amazon estimates its employees at the new HQ would be compensated on average $100,000 a year, so the prospect was too tempting to pass up. "I think our people said, 'Hey, let's shoot at it. If we win it, fine. If not, we can use the content, use what we put together for other projects that come along.'"
Mayor Battle said it's simple, he wants Amazon to see, "Why we are someplace they should look at."
At least 100 other cities are in the running for the 5 billion dollar prize. Amazon asked for all applications to be in by October 19, and they plan to make a decision on their new campus next year.