Colorado’s Amazon Pitch: A Small, Heavily Redacted Sneak Peek

<p>(AP Photo/Ben Margot)</p>
<p>Boxes at the Amazon fulfillment center in Fernley, Nevada. </p>
Photo: Amazon Service Center 2 (AP)
Boxes at the Amazon fulfillment center in Fernley, Nevada.

The Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. on Thursday publicly released Colorado’s bid for Amazon’s much-sought-after HQ2.

Well, kind of.

The heavily redacted 79-page document, entitled “Welcome to Your New Frontier,” details how Colorado economic development officials are trying to woo the e-commerce giant and its new campus, which promises to bring up to 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars of investment to whichever location they select. But Metro Denver economic development officials kept information about what localities are being pushed private for now.

“What we don’t want to do is impair Colorado’s ability to compete for the project by releasing confidential and proprietary information,” said J.J. Ament, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.

The bid shows that officials emphasized the state’s talent, accessibility and natural amenities over tax incentives. Ament talked up Denver International Airport, RTD’s expansion of passenger rail service, and the high education level of many of the state’s transplanted residents.

That approach differs from other states and cities, some of which have promised billions of dollars in breaks. The exact amount Colorado will offer was buried in an appendix on page 48 of the bid, and was redacted. But another official recently told the Denver Post that the number could be “in excess of $100 million.”

"We don't have to compete that way because we're Colorado,” Ament said. “This is a fantastic place to run your business."

Whether or not Colorado lands Amazon, officials said, the process has allowed the state to market itself to other businesses as well.

“We do not need Amazon HQ2 to ignite us. We were ignited a long time ago. But we want Amazon to come in and understand that these are the pillars as a community that we continue to invest in. We want them to be a partner in that,” said Sam Bailey, VP of Economic Development at Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.

Colorado’s bid is one of 238 submitted to Amazon. A final decision could come in 2018.