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San Antonio refuses to bid for Amazon HQ2: ‘Giving away the farm isn’t our style’

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Amazon’s call for North American cities to compete for the chance to house its second headquarters (HQ2) has caused quite a feeding frenzy. But with applications due in one week, some cities are deciding that the competition isn’t worth it.

Yesterday, San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg penned an open letter announcing that San Antonio, Texas would not be submitting the paperwork necessary to bid for Amazon’s HQ2.

“Blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style,” Mayor Nirenberg and co-author Bexar County judge Nelson Wolff wrote. “It has to be the right fit; not just for the company but for the entire community. Does it create good jobs? Does it offer good benefits for employees? Are there opportunities for small businesses? Is the company a good ‘corporate citizen?’”

Erica Hurtak, a spokeswoman for the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, gave the San Antonio Business Journal a statement explaining that the foundation had determined that San Antonio would not be highly competitive from a “real estate and incentives perspective.”

Given that Amazon has pledged to bring up to 50,000 jobs to whichever city it picks, the number of cities that have publicly said they don’t think bidding for HQ2 is worth it are few and far between. The mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week about why his city would not be bidding for HQ2.

But San Jose is home to plenty of tech companies, with or without Amazon. San Antonio has often been overlooked by tech companies that are looking to open an office in Texas in favor of Dallas and Austin. The San Antonio metropolitan area, though home to roughly 500,000 more people than the Austin metropolitan area, received nearly $900 million less in VC funding in 2016 than Austin, according to the NVCA. While the bid was a longshot, it could have been a big win for the region.

Still, with RFP applications due October 19, it’s likely San Antonio won’t be the last city to denounce Amazon’s process.

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