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Amazon should move to Revere, says Revere mayor

Is Suffolk Downs the site for Amazon's new headquarters? (Owen O'Rourke)

Revere is betting on a long shot for Suffolk Downs.

Amazon has set off a fierce competition among the nation’s cities to land the company’s second headquarters.

If Revere can pull it off, it will benefit from a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs by 2027. The 161-acre property features 53 acres in Revere, with the rest in East Boston.

Mayor Brian Arrigo said the 161-acre Suffolk Downs property, 53 acres in Revere with the rest in East Boston, is the spot.

“Amazon would be hard pressed to find a better location,” he said. “The RFP says they are looking for access to public transportation and to an international airport and Suffolk has that in spades.”

The e-commerce company with its 40,000 employees, has run out of space at its 8 million square foot, 33-building Seattle headquarters and needs a second home.

Founder Jeff Bezos said they will build in North America and hire 50,000 employees.

The RFP said Amazon prefers a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people; a stable and business-friendly environment; an urban or suburban location with the ability to attract and keep strong technical talent; and communities that think big when considering real estate options.

The deadline to submit a proposal is Oct. 19 and a decision will be made next year.

“Suffolk is 15 minutes to downtown Boston, it’s shovel ready and under a single ownership and it makes a lot of sense,” Arrigo said. “Given the fact that we have some of the best colleges and universities in the world and we’re minutes from America’s first public beach, it looks like the Suffolk site would be a front runner.”

Gov. Charlie Baker, a Swampscott resident, said it’s too early to talk locations.

“We are not at that level of picking sites,” Baker told The Item.  “We are working through high level issues Amazon has raised such as tech infrastructure, education community, a city’s position in the global market, access to the transportation and infrastructure and a focus on sustainable and renewable energy. We will do quite well on those, but they made it clear that those overarching issues are culturally important to them.”

Thomas O’Brien, the owner of Suffolk Downs and founder of HYM Investment Group, declined to comment.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh told the Boston Herald he’s in it to win it.

But Charles Morneau, a part investor in CBW Lending which owns the shuttered Wonderland racetrack, said it’s highly unlikely Amazon would choose any site in Greater Boston.

“My guess is it will be tough for anyone in Massachusetts to compete for that project,” he said. “If they’re looking for technology staff being close to Boston, it’s a huge plus. If I were doing artificial intelligence, I’d want to be near MIT and Harvard. But the cost of living expenses in Boston kills the deal.”

Still, in May, General Electric Co. broke ground for its $200 million headquarters on the South Boston waterfront. The 12-story building will provide space for 800 employees.

But Morneau said GE will house fewer workers and their corporate executives, who will have offices in Seaport, can afford Boston’s housing costs.

“If someone is looking for a technology office, they will pay anything to be here and they will pay those workers plenty to live here,” he said. “I think other area of the country will be much more competitive.”

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