Drone footage, graphics part of Connecticut pitch to Amazon
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Communities across Connecticut are hoping drone footage, video greetings and promises of tax incentives and land can lure Amazon’s planned second headquarters.
The state submitted an application in October that includes sites in the Hartford and Stamford areas. At the same time, several cities submitted separate applications.
The Associated Press sought details of those proposals from cities and states around the U.S., including the money spent to develop them, through public records requests. The state, along with Danbury and New Britain, are among only a small group of places around the country to release their proposals to the AP.
New Haven has not yet responded to AP’s request for documents concerning their application and Bridgeport has asked for additional time to comply with the request.
A look at some details from the Connecticut submissions:
STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith said the state’s submission, which includes a video greeting from Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, was a multi-faceted effort.
“Throughout this process, people came out of the woodwork to provide creative ideas, sign letters of support, and roll up their sleeves to help out,” she said in October.
The department said it did not provide any details about the financial assistance offered in its proposal to “preserve the ability to enter into direct negotiations.” But DECD said the package will include “direct incentives for Amazon” as well as “funding to support needed investments in communities benefiting from Amazon’s growth.”
The state was billed $35,000 by a Glastonbury company to provide renderings and drone imagery, and to coordinate and produce diagrams and supply video. The state was also billed $5,250 by a Connecticut-based web developer to design CTisPrime.com .
Danbury is offering a seven-year, 100 percent abatement of local property taxes on real estate and personal property. It’s also providing a one-year, 100 percent sewer and water fee abatement, and a land lease for an airport hangar.
A local printer was paid $426 to print 13 copies of the application and for graphic design work. Another Danbury company was paid $750 for a video shoot and edit. A Vernon web development company was paid $1,500 for online advertising.
Emails show there was a lot enthusiasm among Danbury officials about the cover of the city’s application to Amazon. It features the familiar Amazon cardboard box and company logo.
There’s a map of the region highlighting the suggested location — a former conference and banquet center — and its proximity to sites such as Candlewood Lake, the Danbury Municipal Airport, Interstate 84, Western Connecticut State University campuses, the New York state line and the Brewster, New York, train station.
“The box was a phenomenal idea!” wrote one official.
Documents show New Britain is offering a 30-year tax deferral on parcels Amazon uses and the city also proposes giving Amazon 25 acres of land it owns.
The site is zoned for a “technology park” and is adjacent to I-84. The application also promises the city will be “completely transparent, aggressive with incentives and considerations to make your business our number one priority.”
Records show New Britain paid a local printer, Sir Speedy, $389 to print five binders for the Amazon application. There were also expenses for drone footage of the community but the amount wasn’t listed.
An email containing a draft letter from New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart to Amazon indicates the Republican hopes her relative youth sways the company.
“Dear Amazon, Erin Stewart here from the great city of New Britain, CT. I’m 30 years old and I’m the youngest female mayor in the United States of America,” the letter read. “New Britain is a pretty cool community - 75,000 people sitting in only 13 square miles but chock-full of things to do.”