Business, News

Revere’s mayor is up against his former boss in the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes

Suffolk Downs, the new site for Amazon? (Owen O'Rourke)

REVERE — For three years, Brian Arrigo was a foot soldier in Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone’s administration where he was the chief data analyst.

Today, the first-term mayor and his former boss are engaged in a steel cage death match to lure Amazon to their respective cities.

Somerville uses the MBTA’s Orange Line to connect parcels in three cities from North Station to the Orange Line at Assembly Row or the Green Line extension to Union Square. Revere’s bid joins with Boston pitching the 161-acre Suffolk Downs parcel.

Both men downplayed the competition, and say that the world’s largest online retailer coming to either community would benefit the area. They say each plan has something Amazon will like.

“The proposals demonstrate examples of two great choices, like the pearls on a necklace,” said Curtatone.

In a separate interview, Arrigo agreed Greater Boston will benefit no matter which community wins.

But when pressed, Curtatone said Somerville has the edge.

“I tried to teach Brian a lot of things when he worked for me, but I didn’t teach him anything about how to close a deal,” he said. “I’m glad he has taken some of that competitive nature from my administration and brought it to Revere. But if it comes down to us or Revere, Somerville wins.”

Arrigo said he won’t disparage any other community.

“But at the end of the day, I’m confident Suffolk Downs is a great site,” he said. “And it happens to be in my city and I will advocate for it.”

The high stakes competition offers a game-changing prize: Amazon has promised a $5 billion investment to the right city along with 50,000 jobs over the next two decades. The Seattle e-commerce giant is seeking more than 100 acres to build its second corporate headquarters they are calling HQ2.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has said HQ2 will rival its Seattle home, which covers 8.1 million square feet of offices in 33 buildings.

Revere, in a joint proposal with Boston, and Somerville met last week’s deadline for the RFP along with 236 others from 54 cities and regions in North America, according to Amazon.

Not to be outdone by neighboring communities, Lynn’s Economic Development & Industrial Corp., the city’s development bank, submitted a proposal to Amazon on behalf of the city and four landlords who own more than 100 acres of waterfront property on the Lynnway.

John Krol, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy’s chief of staff, said he knows Arrigo and Curtatone and wished them well.

“But unfortunately for them, Amazon is coming to Lynn,” he said.

More Stories From Revere