As speculation increases that Amazon will soon announce where it wants to build its second headquarters, some detractors in Denver, which is on the company’s Top 20 finalists list, are not so sure they want it in the Mile High City.
Increasingly, calls to local radio shows and letters to Denver area newspapers indicate that residents are uneasy about the possible impact of the internet commerce giant putting up what could be a $5 billion, 500,000 square foot facility.
And although, according to news reports, Amazon finalists have been required to sign non-disclosure agreements regarding incentives package details, some are questioning whether such incentives offerings may prove too sweeping.
“No income taxes, no property taxes, and no sales taxes for decades,” former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm recently warned of the effect of such incentives in the publication Westword. “Local taxpayers end up subsidizing the company for decades.”
The incentives package approach has also been attacked by a group called Generation Opportunity, which has unleashed a social media campaign characterizing those incentives as “corporate welfare.”
Looking at the game-changing nature of having such a large enterprise built in Denver, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who supports the city’s efforts to secure the Amazon project, nevertheless told a business gathering, “There will be a sense of relief if they choose somewhere else because a lot of challenges and a lot of hard work we will be avoiding.”
Amazon originally received bids from over 200 cities before releasing its Top 20 list in January.
Although Denver was originally rated by experts as the city most likely to secure the Amazon project, in recent weeks many of those same experts have said the company will probably pick a location on the East coast.
A recent informal Denver Business Journal poll showed that 79 percent of respondents thought Denver will most likely not be picked by Amazon for its new headquarters.