BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Brunswick and Scarborough are trying their luck in a what may be the biggest jobs competition in U.S. history. They are both submitting a bid to become the site for a new headquarters for Amazon.com.
The giant online retailer, based in Seattle, announced several months ago it wants to build a second headquarters, called HQ2. The company has said it will spend as much as $5 billion to do it, and that the project will create as many as 50,000 new, high paying jobs.
The town of Scarborough is inviting Amazon to locate on the site of Scarborough Downs, described by Town Manager Tom Hall as about 300 acres, close to the Maine Turnpike, the Jetport and even greater Boston. Not the major metropolitan area Amazon seems to be searching for, but Hall says Scarborough has a lot to offer.
"Our proximity to Portland and all that has to offer … and our proximity to Seacoast New Hampshire and greater Boston puts us on their map,” Hall said.
In Brunswick, the bid is at Brunswick Landing, where they say there is a great opportunity at the former Navy base. Executive Director Steve Levesque says Amazon wants to be close to an airport, and Brunswick landing has one, as well as being a half hour drive to Portland’s Jetport. He said Brunswick may not have a large population of its own, but it close to many people.
"Brunswick is within 50 miles of 800,000 people,” Levesque said. "We have 70 percent of Maine’s population in commuting distance of Brunswick."
Population matters, because Amazon had indicated it would like to locate close to a million people, presumably to ensure enough workers. However, both hall and Levesque said they're confident workers would come to either Maine location for those jobs, and that it could finally attract young families to move to Maine.
"I think this is something big enough that if you build it they will come. I don’t think that’s a unique challenge of limitation," Hall said.
Both admit their bids are long shots, because of so much competition from larger cities. But Hall said it’s worth trying. And Levesque said Maine needs to be willing to dream big, and try.
"And Maine can compete. Why not Maine? Why not us? Why not Brunswick?"
Thursday was the deadline for submitting bids. No word how long it will take Amazon to reach a decision.