Cleveland officials mum on bid for new Amazon headquarters as other cities openly court retail giant

(Source: AP Images)
(Source: AP Images)
Signatures from all 16 of Ohio's US congressional representatives
Signatures from all 16 of Ohio's US congressional representatives

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - No details are being offered publicly about the City of Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio region's proposal for the new Amazon headquarters.

The internet retail giant announced plans to open a second North American headquarters, known as HQ2, in September of this year.

Company officials said they would select the site after a public bidding process.

The public nature of the process, according to Amazon’s website, is because, “We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees, and the community can all benefit.”

HQ2 is expected to bring $5 billion in construction and up to 50,000 well-paying jobs to the winning city. 

Cleveland announced that it, and the region, planned to compete for the HQ2 project, but, to date, have not released any details about the city or the region's bid.

Cleveland 19 asked city spokesperson Dan Williams on Wednesday if the city would release any additional information about the bid.

He responded with a one word email answer, "no."

Cleveland 19 reached out to the Great Cleveland Partnership, another agency working on the proposal, who referred all questions to the private public relations firm, Dix and Eaton.

David Hertz, of Dix and Eaton, wouldn't provide any details, including when or if the region's proposal was submitted.

He did issue the following statement:

"For the past four weeks plus the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Team NEO, Jobs Ohio, the state of Ohio and a number of leading local organizations, have collaborated on a response to Amazon's [Request for Proposals] for HQ2. The group is excited about the result which stresses the city's and regions economic resurgence quality of life and geographic advantages," said Hertz.

Cleveland 19 asked if the proposal would ever be publicly released.

Hertz indicated it wouldn't, saying it was "proprietary."

Cleveland 19 asked if it was owned by a public agency why it wouldn't be a public document, Hertz said he couldn't say any more than he already had.

On the federal level, Cleveland 19 has obtained the copy of a bipartisan letter sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the HQ2 project.
In it, both of Ohio's U.S. senators and all 16 U.S. representatives urge the company to pick Ohio.

The letter states, among other things, that the state has a “business friendly environment" and it also references how each official is "committed to facilitating job growth in the state and are happy to offer our support to this important project."

Cleveland 19 filed a public records request with the City of Cleveland for the bid.

Spokesperson Williams told Cleveland 19 over the phone, in response to that request, that it would be denied, again stating it is “proprietary” and a part of a competitive bid process. 

Cleveland 19 asked what agency owned the bid and if it was owned by a public agency why it wouldn’t be a public record, to which Williams said it was the same as the bid for the RNC.

Cleveland 19 brought up there were no national security implications in the Amazon bid, making the situations different. Cleveland 19 will continue to update the story as more information is released.

The deadline to submit bids is October 19 at midnight, Amazon is expected to make a decision sometime next year.

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