For Dallas to win the Amazon sweepstakes, it must first sell the e-commerce giant on the entire DFW region, Mayor Mike Rawlings said Saturday.
During a wide-ranging interview with the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith as part of the non-profit news organization’s annual Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, Rawlings called Dallas “legitimate contenders for Amazon” due to its expansive technology sector and the strength of its airports.
“If we’re going to compete, we’ve got to be serious,” he said. “[Amazon] is a company that is run well and cares about the pennies.”
Rawlings said Dallas would prepare an attractive incentives package in its proposal but declined to specify a figure.
“We are going to be as aggressive as the next guy in selling Dallas,” he said.
Dallas is not the only city in the Metroplex vying to house Amazon’s second corporate headquarters. Fort Worth, Allen, Frisco, McKinney and Plano, among others, have all either expressed direct interest in responding to the company’s $5 billion RFP or are thought to be considering it.
Rawlings has said DFW would submit a regional proposal during the first round of Amazon’s selection process and narrow the location to a specific city should the area continue to receive consideration. On Saturday, he specified that the city is eyeing parcels south of Downtown and along Interstate 635 and the Dallas North Tollway among possible sites.
Several media outlets have considered Austin a frontrunner to land the company because it is home to recent Amazon acquisition Whole Foods. Amazon’s current headquarters is located in Seattle, Washington.
On Saturday, Rawlings touted Dallas’ GDP growth and job creation during his six years as mayor as well as the mutually-beneficial relationships the city has cultivated with its business community. He also noted the city has spent nearly $1 billion to expand or revamp the city’s parks, trails and other amenities to foster an attractive quality-of-life for residents and employees moving to the region.
“Fundamentally, you’ve got to decide, ‘are you going to grow or not?'” he said. “If a company says, ‘I’m going to bring 50,000 employees, what are you going to do for me,’ that’s a fair transaction.”
Photo: World Travel and Tourism Council, Wikimedia Commons