Somerville's Collaborative Amazon HQ2 Proposal

The City of Somerville is pleased to present our collaborative “Amazon on the T” proposal inviting Amazon to establish its second corporate headquarters along the transit lines that link our adjacent Greater Boston communities.

Somerville is the Innovation City, located along a string of transit-connected campuses overflowing with a phenomenal wealth of ideas, talent, and diversity concentrated in the Greater Boston area. Home to some of the world’s leading universities, incubators, and economic and cultural hubs populated by quality workers at every career level, the chance encounters across disciplines and perspectives that spark innovation will be baked into your institutional structure. Geographically and economically we are one region. We have a strong regional partnership and a history of cooperation. We know how to work regionally and we know what it takes to make it work smoothly. The Amazon on the T concept is one of inclusivity: it recognizes that invention and creation do not stop within the boundaries of a district or neighborhood, just as sense of place can easily flow across municipalities.

Second, we offer an incentive with deeper value than the usual tax breaks. We invite Amazon to come to our region to set a new standard for corporate citizenship. We invite you to join us in pursuing an equitable vision for our future that will help lift up all in our communities. Our cities have long-range visions for our future. In Somerville, for one, we are doggedly pursuing the ambitious goals laid out by our community in our 20-year SomerVision comprehensive plan. It strives to bring us the jobs, affordable housing, transit, open space, city services, environmental stewardship, quality education, and other goals that will keep our community and our diverse residents here and thriving.

We invite Amazon not just to set up shop here, but to become a community and regional partner committed to advancing these goals with determination and creativity. In Somerville, we like to say that while others have innovation districts, we are the Innovation City. With Amazon’s depth and capacity and our proven record of social and economic progress, we are certain we can create a new model that will cement Amazon’s legacy not just as an industry giant, but also as an agent of change.

Overview


What and where?

This is a smart-growth, regional, multi-city proposal. It promotes a collection of mixed-use sites that would spark not just office development, but also affordable and market-rate housing, retail, and R&D, directly adjacent to existing and coming MBTA Orange, Green, and Silver line stops in Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, Everett, Chelsea, and Medford. 

Incentives:

  • Our region is the incentive: With our world-class universities, diverse quality workforce, exceptional transit access, thriving arts and culture hub, and mixed-use permitted sites, we are certain that the opportunity to join and invest in our dynamic communities will be the primary incentive for Amazon.
  • Existing state and local incentives available to all are noted: The proposal includes only existing State-level incentives and financing programs already available from the Commonwealth such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Economic Development Incentive Program Credits (EDIPC) or District Improvement Financing (DIF), as well as the City’s brownfields cleanup loan program. (See page 40.)
  • We also offer an incentive with deeper value than tax credits: We invite Amazon not just to set up shop here, but to become a partner in our long-range community vision for a sustainable, equitable, and opportunity-filled future for all who live here. Essentially, we offer an exceptionally promising opportunity for Amazon to set a new standard for corporate citizenship. (See the Mayor’s introductory letter.)

Sites details:

  • The sites are woven into the dense and diverse fabric of their surrounding neighborhoods and are interconnected with the region’s world-renowned technology and higher education clusters.
  • The majority of sites included in the initial build-out are pre-permitted and shovel-ready.
  • Two options for phase one are presented:
    • A series of sites located along the Orange Line provides an initial build-out of up to 8.3M commercial square feet.
    • A series of sites located along the Green Line, providing an initial 8M commercial square feet.
  • An additional 3.8 million square feet is presented for possible expansion.

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