SAN ANTONIO – The city of San Antonio informed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that it will not be submitting a formal proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters.
The letter, signed by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, makes it clear San Antonio would love to have Amazon, but there will be no incentives or proposals offered.
"If they choose to come to San Antonio, we welcome them. That would be a good business decision because of the city we're building. We're not going to mortgage our future to bring Amazon here," Nirenberg said.
The lure of 50,000 jobs and a massive corporate headquarters are prime reasons why cities are lining up to make pitches to Amazon. The letter made it clear that after much study, San Antonio won't be one of them.
"We just feel like we're not going to play that loose with taxpayer dollars," Wolff said.
"We were going to see some challenges on the real estate part of the equation and on the incentives side of the equation," said Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president and CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.
Saucedo-Herrera and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation looked at the numbers. They found the availability of urban real estate for a huge headquarters in San Antonio is low and the expected incentives from other states and cities are in the billions of dollars.
“We want to make sure with the limited dollars we have and the opportunities that we have and the time and taxpayer resources that we have that we're growing realistic business opportunities and for other companies that are interested in our city, because we are the 21st-century American city. ‘Come on down.’ That's our message to Jeff," Nirenberg said.
Nirenberg and Wolff said they will work on improving public transportation, the workforce and nonstop air service to San Antonio. They have no interest in getting into an “incentives game.”
"Fifty thousand jobs is a lot of jobs. They're going to be great jobs, and any community would be lucky to have them. And I believe that the position that we're in, we're still inviting them to come to San Antonio and we will meet the need if presented the opportunity," Saucedo-Herrera said.
"We want to compete because we're a great city, and that's it," Nirenberg said.
Saucedo-Herrera said as far as businesses interested in San Antonio, it is the “most robust pipeline” ever seen in the history of the city.