Communities across New Jersey and the nation have spent the last few months developing proposals on why they should be selected as the site of Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) second headquarters, hoping to reap the financial benefits it would provide.
But they also made sure to tout the nonfinancial and unique benefits that could make them stand out among the competition.
They cited access to skilled workers, proximity to world-class universities and educational institutions, mass transportation and entertainment options. They also noted their closeness to New York and Philadelphia, as well as the international airports that service the region, along with housing opportunities and diverse communities.
Analysts say the choice for New Jersey basically came down to four cities — Camden, Jersey City, New Brunswick and Newark.
And in the end, the state backed its biggest city.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Newark's bid on Monday, saying the state and the city are planning nearly $7 billion in tax breaks .
In announcing the decision to back Newark, Christie noted that the city is centrally located in the area's largest economic region, is a growing technology hub and offers high-speed internet service. Newark also features "unparalleled talent, connectivity, world-class higher education, vast transportation options and unique cultural amenities," the governor said.
Three international airports serve the region, making travel easy for workers and business customers. Newark also has rail access to New York City via the PATH and Northeast Corridor lines.
Aisha Glover, president of the Newark Community Economic Development Corp., notes that Newark Liberty International Airport is a FedEx hub and also includes daily non-stop service to Seattle. She also points out the city's large seaport, major highways and commuter trains.
There's also are many developable parcels where housing can be built in the city's downtown area.
City officials also say it offers Amazon an opportunity to make a strong social impact statement: "The opportunity to accelerate the transformation of a great American city that is already rapidly moving forward."
Glover cites "diversity," along with a series of downtown redevelopment efforts that have led to groundbreaking for new commercial and residential developments over the last decade.
ELSEWHERE IN NEW JERSEY
The decision doesn't mean Jersey City, Camden and New Brunswick can't apply to be the site of the much-vaunted second headquarters for the Seattle-based company. But it appears unlikely that any other applications from New Jersey will be made by Thursday's deadline.
Jersey City had noted its sites along the waterfront and easy access to New York City, while New Brunswick draws on its connection to Rutgers University's main campus.
Camden Mayor Dana Redd also notes Camden has attracted "other forward thinking industry leaders" including Subaru, Holtec and American Water. She also says the city has the assets needed to support Amazon, noting its location "is second to none" in terms of distribution and logistics.