LYNN — An Amazon headquarters in Lynn? Don’t count on it.
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said the city is in no position to compete with Boston, Revere, Lawrence and Worcester to bring the world’s largest e-commerce company’s second headquarters to Massachusetts.
“I would love to seize that opportunity,” she said. “But Amazon seeks more than 100 acres and that would mean it would have to go into Lynn Woods Reservation or take about half of the available buildable waterfront land. I don’t think it would be suitable for either.”
Amazon set off a fierce competition this month among the nation’s cities to land the company’s second headquarters, which they call HQ2. If Lynn were to enter the nationwide competition, it would contend for the $5 billion investment and 50,000 high paying new jobs Amazon said will come with the facility.
Asked if Charles Patsios’ proposed development off the Lynnway near the General Edwards Bridge would be an appropriate site, the mayor said she wasn’t sure.
“If Charlie wants to pursue it, I think it would be a wonderful opportunity for jobs and for growing industry in Lynn and it’s probably more suitable for that side of the Lynnway,” she said. “But there’s no place I can point to in the city that we have control over suitable for Amazon.”
Amazon’s RFP does not require cities to own the land, rather to work with private landlords on a proposal.
Patsios, the Swampscott developer who plans to transform the 68-acre former General Electric Co. Gear Works property into a $500 million neighborhood, said he would reconsider his development as the place for Amazon. He said there are an additional 40 acres of vacant land adjacent to his site that could be part of the plan.
“My residential project was the best idea at the time,” he said. “But if the city of Lynn has an opportunity to bring Amazon here, I would never stand in the way of it. If Amazon chooses another location, we still have the original proposal.”
City Councilor-at Large and state Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn) said the city should consider a portion of the waterfront for Amazon’s new home.
“While the city has focused on a particular vision for the waterfront, we should not turn our backs to other ideas, like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity such as the relocation of Amazon and 50,000 jobs to Lynn,” he said.
State senator and mayoral candidate Thomas M. McGee (D-Lynn) said the city should submit an application to bring the retail giant to Lynn.
“Why not Lynn?” he said. “We should take advantage of all kinds of opportunities that puts Lynn on the map and have a conversation about how we can move the city forward. We shouldn’t pass it up.”
Revere is making a pitch on land it does not own. Mayor Brian Arrigo has said the 161-acre Suffolk Downs property, which sits between the city and East Boston, is the best spot in Massachusetts.
Thomas O’Brien, managing director of the Boston-based Hym Investment Group and owner of the Suffolk Downs, declined to comment.
On Monday, he told The Boston Herald he is ready to “swing for the fences” to convince Amazon to locate at the racetrack that spans Revere and Boston.
“We think the site works, and we think it has a lot of what Amazon has said it’s looking for,” he said.
Amazon’s RFP said the company prefers a 100-acre site in 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. A decision is expected next year.
James Cowdell, executive director of the Economic Development & Industrial Corp., the city’s development bank, declined comment.