Nothing Is Too Strange for Cities Wooing Amazon to Build There

For Jeff Cheney, the mayor of Frisco, Tex., a city of 160,000 about a half-hour drive from Dallas, the courtship includes offering to build his city around Amazon.

“Our city’s only about 60 percent built out, so we’ve got a lot of available land where we can build to suit,” Mr. Cheney said. “We play to win. We’re innovators. We’re forward thinkers, and we’re serious.”


Cities are sending people to Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle as they jockey to be the location for the company’s second headquarters.

Stuart Isett for The New York Times

City applications are not due until Oct. 19, but Mr. Cheney has already sent a video letter to Amazon. The video opens on him holding an Amazon box and saying, “Amazon, you’re growing your business, and we want to grow with you.” Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is seen talking about catching the “Frisco Flu,” which the mayor’s office said was a phrase Mr. Jones came up with. Mr. Cheney also gets a Jamba Juice (Jamba Juice is based in Frisco).

Mayoral letters to Amazon are actually becoming a YouTube subgenre.

Mark D. Boughton, the mayor of Danbury, Conn., posted a video on Sept. 14 calling himself a “proud Amazon customer” and asking Alexa, the Amazon virtual assistant, where Amazon should build its second headquarters. “Danbury,” a female voice responds.

It seems Alexa might be suffering a software glitch, because when Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, posted a video on Sept. 15 asking, “Alexa, where is the most interesting company in the world going to locate?” there was a different response. “Obviously, Washington, D.C.,” said Alexa.

In Canada, the selling point is, well, Canada.

“Amazon has something like 9,000 engineering jobs they can’t fill. Our immigration policy is much more liberal,” said Mr. Watson, Ottawa’s mayor. “That’s where we have an advantage.”

Another city offering access to Canadian immigration as part of its deal is, surprisingly, Detroit. Working with nearby Windsor, Canada, which is an eight-minute drive away, Detroit is portraying itself as the best of both…

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