While we don’t know specifics yet (Dan Gilbert doesn’t want to give everything away), Detroit will submit a large proposal for Amazon HQ2 on or by October 19. Detroit ranks fairly low on the list of possibilities according to many, but we do have flexibility of locations, DTW, and great universities within a five-hour radius going for us.
Here’s what we can gather about possible locations from what’s been reported so far:
Windsor wants to be part of the proposal efforts, which would make the Detroit bid the only international bid. This would give Amazon the option for locations in both the U.S. and Canada, as well as access to the talent pool in both countries.
In a recent interview with Crain’s, Dan Gilbert said that Detroit can offer both a lot of land and the opportunity to renovate existing buildings for Amazon. Another interesting landmark he mentioned: City Airport, which would provide a way to have even easier access to an airport. DTW would be a big draw in Detroit’s proposal, but it’s 45 minutes outside of downtown. City Airport could offer quick access for smaller flights.
Early in the process, we asked readers which Detroit locations would be a good fit for the new headquarters. Michigan Central Station won that vote, but it would be a true shock if that were even an option considering its background. Other options readers liked were taking over Cadillac Place and some of the Fisher Building in New Center, plus building next to the Ren Center along the Riverfront.
In the Crain’s interview, Gilbert said that flexibility was key in Detroit’s proposal, and that he could move his employees if necessary. He mentioned the jail site, the Uniroyal site, the Monroe Blocks, and the Hudson’s site as places for new construction that could accommodate employees.
Here’s where it gets even more interesting. Even though Amazon is looking for an urban location, Oakland County is pretty interested in getting in on the action. Considering it will need to be a regional proposal, we’re thinking one or some of these sites could be satellite locations. They include Northland Mall, the former Kmart headquarters, the Palace of Auburn Hills, and the Silverdome.
As always, let us know what you think in the comments. Do you think the team will pitch specific locations or offer a more flexible package to Amazon?