No Amazon, but Leominster’s ‘in the Game’

January 19, 2018 GMT

By Peter Jasinski


LEOMINSTER -- The city may not be getting Amazon, but Mayor Dean Mazzarella said he’s looking forward to attracting more bigger companies to the area in the future.

The online retail giant announced Thursday that it had narrowed the list of potential homes for their second headquarters to 20 cities, but Leominster did not make the list.

“Are we disappointed? Well, we’re in the game and that’s how it’s going to be from here on in. We choose to compete with the big guys,” Mazzarella said.

Boston was among the cities Amazon is still considering for the $5 billion project, expected to generate up to 50,000 new jobs.

The list is rounded out by Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Tornonto, and Washington D.C., as well as sites in Montgomery County, Maryland and Northern Virginia.


When Amazon announced that it was looking for a new host city last year, over 200 communities throughout North America stepped forward, offering various incentives and plans to entice the company.

As part of Leominster’s proposal, the city touted its single tax rate, expedited permitting process and low cost of living. Mazzarella also said that over 400 acres of public and private land would be available if Amazon decided to set up shop in Leominster, as well as $405 million in tax breaks.

On Thursday, Mazzarella said he was thankful to the city employees and private residents who worked on Leominster’s proposal, which he said could now be offered to other companies that might be interested in moving to the area.

“Our package is already prepared and it’s just a matter of us updating it and sending it back out,” he said.

The city is also currently in the midst of developing a new logo that the mayor hopes to incorporate into a marketing strategy to attract more development to the city. He plans to request funding from the City Council to fund the marketing strategy later this year.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration submitted 26 prospective locations, including Somerville and four different sites in Boston.

“This is a great statement about the quality of life, about the quality of the workforce, the quality of the people and the institutions that make up Massachusetts,” Baker said of Amazon’s announcement Thursday. He told reporters it was too early to speculate on any proposals his administration might offer during the next round of discussions with the Seattle-based company.

The state has not dangled any specific tax breaks or other financial incentives before Amazon, but has touted existing state programs that offer tax credits and infrastructure investment to spur economic development and job growth.


John Barros, Boston’s chief of economic development, said city officials still consider Suffolk Downs, a former race track near Logan International Airport, to be the location that best aligns with Amazon’s stated preferences. But he added the city was open to other potential sites as well.

Somerville’s proposal did not name a specific site but rather what it called a “regional solution,” one which would incorporate development sites along the MBTA’s Orange Line and soon-to-be-expanded Green Line.

Boston’s bid for Amazon referenced the city’s efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing, provide workforce training and improve transportation.

“Whether it’s the MBTA, or roads and bridges, we think infrastructure and infrastructure investments are critical,” Barros said.

The city might also weigh property tax breaks of the type provided to General Electric when that company moved its corporate headquarters to Boston in 2016, he added.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53.