KC’s Regional Bid for Amazon HQ2 Represents Largest Response Effort in Kansas City Area Development Council History

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PRESS RELEASE: Provided by Kansas City Area Development Council

October 19, 2017 – The KC region’s proposal for Amazon HQ2 was delivered to the company’s Seattle, Wash., headquarters this afternoon representing the largest regional response effort in Kansas City Area Development Council’s (KCADC) history. Honoring Amazon’s request for one response from each market, the KC region came together at an unprecedented scale of regional cooperation to present a proposal representing two states, 18 counties, and many communities from across the metro area.

In addition to many state, county and local community partners, more than 200 private sector leaders provided crucial input, lent their expertise and contributed significant value throughout the process. An online submission tool on the KCADC website received more than 60 ideas from members of the community and outside of the KC region. Several individuals who submitted ideas were contacted and further engaged in the process.

Joel Kotkin, internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends, and Richard Florida, the world’s leading urbanist, international best-selling author and professor, consulted with KCADC for the Amazon HQ2 proposal.

Kotkin said, “Kansas City is a jewel in the Heartland – with a great cultural heritage, affordable housing of all kinds and, most of all, a strong spirit of cooperation across the whole region. The next wave of American innovation seems poised to take place in the Midwest, and KC will be at the heart of it all.”

“Great regions are federations of neighborhoods; and Kansas City provides affordable options for living and working in a range of urban and suburban locations,” said Florida. “The Kansas City region has created a true community process and partnership … Kansas City will be well positioned to compete.”

In addition to its affordability, quality of life and strong growth in key occupational sectors, KC offers something no other city can claim – a vision that is recasting education and reshaping the workforce of the future, led by the world-renowned Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

“The Kansas City region’s bid offers an uncommon approach and bold ideas that invite Amazon to imagine its future alongside ours and to take part in the many ways our region is leading the nation and world, from right here in the middle of the country,” said Wendy Guillies, president and CEO, Kauffman Foundation.

Recommended Amazon HQ2 sites from the Kansas City market showcase the breadth of choice available to companies considering a KC location.

In a release from the State of Missouri earlier today, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said, “Amazon is a company full of people who turn big ideas into reality. My team fully and equally supported the proposals submitted by our major metropolitan areas, Kansas City and St. Louis. We challenge Amazon to envision what it could achieve by partnering with us to unleash the combined strength of the entire state. We’d love to work with Amazon to build their new home here in Missouri.”

“We have been preparing for an opportunity like Amazon’s HQ2 for a generation. We want to create with Amazon the most prosperous and livable region in North America, right here in the heart of it. The Kansas City region recognizes the importance of redefining the workforce of the future through top notch education. We are building Amazon’s next generation of pioneers to be both skilled and empowered and we’re excited to redefine the next generation of talent with Amazon,” said Kansas Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer.

“Kansas City, Kansas has an unparalleled track record of bringing big projects to our community. From Google Fiber to Cerner, and even the National Soccer Training Center, we are a city that is proud of our business friendly, can-do attitude. We are happy to join forces with our regional partners to highlight our area’s advantages to Amazon,” said Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Mark Holland.

“I believe Kansas City is competitive with any city in the world. I’m extremely proud of the bid produced by our team and how this entire community has embraced this unique opportunity to showcase Kansas City’s creativity, its people and it’s potential,” said Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James.

Chairman Ed Eilert, Johnson County Commission, said, “Upon arriving in Kansas City, Amazon would quickly learn what many of us who came here have known for years — this is a region of smart, hard-working individuals committed to providing opportunities for everyone to grow and prosper. Amazon’s second headquarters would be well-placed in the Heartland, with access to an excellent workforce, a lower cost of living, world-class schools, parks and libraries, and a vibrant regional culture. Johnson County would proudly welcome Amazon to the metro.”

Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland said, “This area is simply a great place to do business. The climate has cultivated world-class start-up businesses and nurtured corporate giants, and it’s been a source of support and stability for everything in between. It fosters risk-taking and innovation, and it’s fueled by a work force with strong values, a tremendous work ethic, loyalty, and commitment. So many people have moved here from across the country to work in our many leading companies, but you would be hard pressed to find any who ever want to leave.”

Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr., said, “Jackson County is fully supportive of this collaborative and creative regional effort to be the new home of Amazon’s second headquarters. We are excited about the opportunity to advance to the next round of evaluation of the HQ2 project. The Kansas City region is ripe for economic growth and we applaud the aggressive campaign to make our case known as we move forward as one.”

“Lee’s Summit is one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Missouri, offering a collaborative, ‘can-do’ business environment that is on target to attract $2 billion in public and private investment over three years,” said Lee’s Summit Mayor Randall Rhoads. “Thanks to the Missouri Innovation Campus and an educational ecosystem that serves as a global model for excellence, Lee’s Summit is building the workforce of the future right here in the Heartland. We look forward to sharing our time, talent and treasure with Amazon.”

“It’s exciting to work with visionary leaders across our region to compete for Amazon HQ2. Independence is proud to contribute our ideas, expertise, and assets to the proposal, and to be a part of a community that truly understands the power of collaboration,” said City of Independence Mayor Eileen Weir.

“A collaborative effort of this magnitude is only possible with an immense level of trust. It is a core value of Amazon’s, and of the KC region. VML was honored to be involved in such a significant opportunity for our home town,” said Jon Cook, Global CEO, VML, whose agency developed the interactive digital platform for KC’s Amazon HQ2 proposal.

Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council said, “Our KC region has never seen an economic development opportunity of this magnitude that is so publicly visible, requiring the amount of information in the time frame that Amazon requested, and the level of community engagement and response that we needed for this opportunity. I am so proud of our OneKC team. This project has proven we have the ability to come together and tell a comprehensive KC story that sets our region apart from all others across North America.”

Given the highly competitive nature of the site location process and Amazon’s required Non-Disclosure Agreement, no additional details of the KC region’s proposal will be available to the public.

The Kansas City Area Development Council serves the 18-county, two-state Kansas City area by marketing the region’s business and lifestyle assets to companies around the world. Working closely with its 50+ state, county and community partners and its more than 60,000 new jobs over its 40-year history. KCADC ranks as the number one regional economic development organization in the nation based on a survey of its site location consultant clients (DCI Winning Strategies Survey, 2017), and leads the efforts behind the KC Animal Health Corridor, KC SmartPort, KCnext and TeamKC. Visit thinkkc.com for more information.

Ashlie Hand