- Eric Schwartzberg Staff Writer
“Why not Liberty? Why not Ohio?” Liberty Twp. Trustee Tom Farrell asked this week about the Butler County township’s efforts to snag Amazon’s second North American headquarters.
“Everybody believes this is something that has to be in a city environment, and that’s not true,” Farrell said. “The vision … is that the suburb of the future is where these employees, these executives, these engineers want to be. They do want to live-work-play in the same area.”
Amazon has said it will invest more than $5 billion in construction and eventually grow into its second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs — making it a full equal to its current campus in Seattle.
Liberty Twp. officials are unable to discuss specifics of their proposal to Amazon, citing a non-disclosure agreement. However, some spoke with the Journal-News about why they think Liberty Twp. is a fit for the retail giant.
Here are 5 reasons officials said Liberty Twp.’s bid for Amazon is no joke:
1. “You can’t find a better positioned place in the United States when it comes to reaching the population,” said Liberty Twp. Trustee Steve Schramm. “Sixty or 70 percent of the population of the United States is within a day’s drive of Cincinnati, which is why we’ve been so successful for all types of businesses.”
2. Schramm said the project also makes “all kinds of sense” because of Amazon’s decision to pull the trigger on a major project at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. There’s also the company’s plans, announced in September, to open a fourth Ohio fulfillment center that will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs in Monroe. “So heck, why wouldn’t they want to put it all kind of in one close proximity?” Schramm said. “What seemed, at first, a little bit laughable, suddenly came into focus and we looked at all the pros and cons of the area.”
3. One of the most important things about the suburban opportunity is the land to build and expand as Amazon desires, Farrell said. Land is something Liberty Twp. has and is actively marketing mainly in just two areas: acreage surrounding Cox Road right off the Liberty Interchange, as well as along Millikin Road, an area adjacent to a proposed interchange.
4. Amazon has cited “walkability” as one of the major needs for its HQ location.”It’s a perfect match for the suburb of the future,” Farrell said. Liberty Twp. has commissioned a $10,000 design and engineering study to get a better cost estimate on the first part of a broader plan to make the township more pedestrian friendly. “I believe Amazon wants to be Number One and they do think out of the box and Liberty is out of the box,” Farrell said. “They want access to multiple airports, major highways. They want parks and walkability,” he said. “The workforce trend is moving to the suburbs with city amenities and Liberty Twp. has that.”
5. Larger cities come with a negative side for employees, Farrell said, citing a cost of living that is often three times greater than other areas. “They don’t have to do that in Ohio,” Farrell said.
The opportunity to land Amazon HQ2 generated 238 proposals from cities and regions in 54 states, provinces, districts and territories across North America.
Amazon is expected to make an announcement on its location choice in February, according to Farrell.