Even more Atlantic County communities are clamoring to be home to Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters.
Last month, Galloway Township went public with its plan to offer itself as home for the Amazon’s location, which would bring needed property taxes and as many as 50,000 new full-time jobs to a region with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation.
Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said Friday he submitted a package to the state that featured proposals from Egg Harbor Township, Hammonton and Atlantic City in addition to Galloway.
“Four towns provided us with sites that they felt would met the criteria,” Levinson said.
The state let counties know any municipalities that wanted to apply to be Amazon’s second headquarters should submit an application to the state by the end of the business day Sept. 26 and Atlantic County met that deadline, Levinson said.
Gov. Chris Christie and some state lawmakers are proposing to overhaul a program that has awarded billions of dollars in tax breaks to draw businesses to the state.
The changes would allow Amazon’s HQ2 to use Grow NJ tax incentives anywhere in the state, eliminating a requirement they be used only to attract businesses to some of the state’s most economically depressed cities.
One of Amazon’s criteria is to be within 45 minutes of an international airport. All the Atlantic County municipalities that applied offered the Atlantic City International Airport in response.
Egg Harbor Township Mayor James McCullough said one of the reasons he told the township administrator to fill out an application is the fact the airport is located within his township.
Egg Harbor Township can offer a five-year tax abatement to Amazon that would be in addition to tax breaks Amazon negotiates with the state, McCullough said.
More people live in Egg Harbor Township than any other municipality in Atlantic and Cape May counties, McCullough said.
Outside of Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township also has one of the largest police department in the area, which is key for security.
“It’s going to be terrific for the area if we are successful. It’s going to bring 50,000 jobs to the area. Atlantic County has the highest (number of) foreclosures in the nation. ... It would certainly revive the entire area,” McCullough said.
The area proposed by Egg Harbor Township is just east of the airport along Tilton Road, Levinson said.
Lauren Moore, executive director of the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, said both Bader Field in Atlantic City and the Stockton Aviation Park in Egg Harbor Township have been mentioned as possible sites in preliminary discussion. The alliance does not have authority over either site, Moore said.
Hammonton offered multiple sites clustered around the industrial park and the Atlantic City Expressway, Levinson said.
Galloway Township filed out an application with the township’s engineer and planner working with the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, said Mayor Don Purdy, who also wrote a letter of support.
The township had been working with a private real estate broker for at least 10 months, who had done business with Amazon, the mayor said.
Galloway Township proposed the old Blue Heron East golf course, which is about 425 acres, Purdy said.
The township has made it an area of redevelopment. That designation is the first step to make land eligible for a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, the mayor said.
Whether any county site truly fits Amazon’s criteria is arguable.
Besides the airport requirement, Amazon wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people; be able to attract top technical talent; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade.
There could be as many as 50 North American cities vying to be the next home of Amazon. The company set an Oct. 19 deadline for proposals.