Arkansas City Sends Amazon a Dear John Letter Instead of a Pitch

  • Toronto, San Jose, San Antonio Also Shun Headquarters Bid
  • ‘Giving the Farm Away Isn’t Our Style,’ Texas Mayor Writes

The Competition Heats Up for Amazon's Second Headquarters

‘It’s not you, it’s us.” So began a full-page ad in today’s Washington Post, signed with love from Little Rock, Arkansas. It was an open letter informing Amazon that the city would not be bidding for its new mega headquarters -- and by the way was a great place for smaller companies to hang their hats.

Little Rock -- population under 200,000 -- was an unlikely candidate in the first place for Amazon’s promised workforce of 50,000. With its letter, published on the day bids were due and titled ‘Hey, Amazon, we need to talk,” it hopped on the Amazon hype with a little marketing. “We’re happy knowing that many great companies find our natural good looks coupled with our brains for business irresistible.”

The city is the latest of several that have publicly turned their backs on the biggest corporate headquarters bidding war in recent memory.

Others were less nice.

Public officials in San Jose and Toronto have also said they won’t be participating in the race to offer incentives to Amazon, with a Toronto spokesman calling it a competitive bribery.

In San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, along with Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff published an open letter last week saying they believed Amazon already knew where it would locate its new campus and was using the public bidding process to create a massive bidding war between cities and states: “Sure, we have a competitive toolkit of incentives, but blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style."

None was as sweet as Little Rock, which never had a chance with Amazon anyway and whose letter invited the company to think of it if it ever wanted to do something less big.

“If another expansion opportunity comes up and you’re ready to join the visionaries, dreamers, romantics and the idealists who know that bigger isn’t always better, give us a call,” the city’s breakup letter said. “We wish you all the success in the world."

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