Puerto Rico is competing for Amazon’s US$5 billion headquarters in an underdog bid
Winning HQ2 would be unlikely for Puerto Rico, due to transportation and infrastructure challenges
By Leanna Garfield
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Four weeks after the storm, roughly 80 per cent of the island is still without power.
But that isn’t stopping the US commonwealth from seeking one of the largest civic-corporate opportunities in modern American history: Amazon’s second headquarters.
Puerto Rico has submitted a bid for Amazon’s campus at the site of the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, according to Bloomberg. The e-commerce giant announced in early September that it will build a US$5 billion headquarters, dubbed HQ2, in an undetermined North American city. On Monday, Amazon said it received 238 proposals, which it will narrow down some time in 2018.
Though details of Puerto Rico’s submission are not yet clear, the likelihood of Amazon picking the island is a long-shot. Ceiba doesn’t meet all of the company’s requirements laid out in its initial announcement, like a population of at least 1 million and easy access to transportation. The city is home to just over 13,000 people, and the only way to reach the continental US from Puerto Rico is by plane. The nearest international airport to Ceiba is also an hour’s drive away.
Post-Maria, Puerto Rico’s infrastructure needs serious investment, and much of its electrical grid will likely need to be rebuilt. Winning HQ2, which would provide 50,000 high-paying jobs, would give the island a much-needed economic boost.
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