New Jersey just escalated the fight for Amazon's headquarters with a $7 billion incentive

In perhaps the largest civic competition in modern North American history, more than 50 cities are vying to host the next home of Amazon.

Bids are due on Thursday, the deadline for cities that want the e-commerce giant to build a second headquarters in their hometown. Dubbed HQ2, Amazon’s campus will bring an estimated 50,000 jobs, and the company will invest $US5 billion in its construction.

Many cities are trying to lure Amazon is through economic incentives in the form of tax credits. Memphis, Tennessee said it would give the company $US60 million, while Chula Vista, California is considering a $US400-million incentive package.

But so far, it looks like Newark, New Jersey could be offering Amazon the most.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to deploy $US7 billion in potential tax incentives for HQ2 in the state’s largest city, Christie’s office said in a statement on Monday.

The plan would expand a subsidy program, Grow NJ, and provide extensive economic incentives for companies (like Amazon) that launch “transformative projects.” It would raise the cap on subsidies from $US5,000 to $US10,000 for every job Amazon creates.

The incentives could reach $US5 billion over the next decade, according to The Observer. The remaining tax breaks would come from a $US1 billion city property tax subsidy and a wage tax waiver of $US1 billion for Amazon employees over the next 20 years — a new offer that was announced this week.

Newark’s proposal includes a redevelopment of the city’s riverfront area for the site of HQ2, a spokesperson from the project’s developer, Lotus Equity, confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday. The project will happen regardless of whether Amazon moves to Newark.

Designed by four architecture firms, the neighbourhood’s masterplan redevelops 11.5 acres near downtown. The project will include 1,800 housing units, a 150,000-square-foot hotel, 100,000 square feet of retail, a 30,000-square-foot food hall, 30,000 square feet of public space, up to 3,000 parking spaces, and up to two million square feet of commercial space. It will also demolish the former New Jersey Bears stadium.

There is no set timeline for when Lotus will break ground. Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners will serve as the lead architect, with Michael Green Architecture, Ten Arquitectos, and Practice for Architecture and Urbanism also involved in the project.

New jersey riverfront amazon renderingLocus Equity GroupA rendering of Newark’s plan for a redeveloped downtown and waterfront area, included in the city’s proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Located just 10 miles west of Manhattan, Newark has tried to launch a large-scale economic revival for decades.

The city faces competition from other large cities, like Boston, Chicago, and New York City for HQ2. Amazon has said it plans to make a decision in 2018.

Amazon will likely choose a city that offers substantial tax breaks, so Newark’s bid makes sense. The company’s proposal guidelines say that it may require “special incentive legislation” in order “for the state/province to achieve a competitive incentive proposal.”

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