For the past year the cities of Boston and Revere have waited for the possibility of Amazon placing its second North American headquarters (Amazon HQ2) at Suffolk Downs.
Amazon announced Tuesday that New York City and Arlington, Virginia
will share the HQ2 office space.
In February the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved The HYM Investment Group, LLC’s Suffolk Downs Phase I proposal. Phase I of the 161-acre Suffolk Downs site for Revere includes revamping the Suffolk Downs and Beachmont MBTA Blue Line stations. Also planned are over 3,000 housing units, an Innovation Center and a hotel.
“Mayor (Brian) Arrigo has been great through this process,” said HYM Founder Tom O’Brien. “We jumped in and competed well. I’ve been doing this for a long time, you jump in and compete for tenants not always knowing what will make their decision.”
Arrigo said, “The City Council is poised to approve a Planned Unit Development at the Suffolk Downs location. This has evolved from more than a year’s worth of meticulous planning, dozens of public meetings, and extensive cooperative efforts among HYM, the City, and interested governmental and civic organizations. We anticipate construction on the first phase of the project to begin before the end of next year.”
Boston and Revere made Amazon’s short list of possible locations and was one of 20 finalists for the HQ2 project.
The BPDA and The HYM Investment Group LLC, owner of Suffolk Downs, scrambled to expedite zoning approvals so Boston would remain a desirable location for the Seattle-based tech giant and be so-called ‘Amazon-ready’.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said Amazon is already an important part of the Boston economy with a significant presence with 1,000 employees between Boston and Cambridge and is actively hiring and expanding in the area.
“I am proud that throughout this process we were able to showcase the best of all we have to offer here in the City of Boston in a way that was transparent and led with our strengths: a talented and diverse workforce, culture of innovation and opportunity for all,” said Walsh. “Amazon is an important part of Boston’s economy, a large employer, and a valuable partner who is actively hiring and expanding in Boston and the area. While I am proud Boston was named to Amazon’s shortlist for its second North American headquarters, our future will not be defined by a single company as we continue to plan for equitable, sustainable growth.”
O’Brien has maintained that the Suffolk Downs project is a winner for Boston and Revere with or without Amazon as an anchor business.
“We’ll keep plugging away. We’re going to make this a good place to live, to shop and we will lure in other companies, that’s the key. It’s been the story of all our lives – just keep working piece by piece and good things will happen,” O’Brien told the Revere City Council last week.
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the company will invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters locations, with more than 25,000 employees each in New York City and Arlington.
“We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” said Bezos Tuesday in a statement. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”
Sue Ellen Woodcock contributed to this story.