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2 Rhode Island cities making joint pitch to Amazon

UPDATED: Fri., Sept. 29, 2017

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Mayors from two small Rhode Island cities announced on Thursday that they plan to make a joint pitch to attract Amazon’s new headquarters.

Pawtucket and Central Falls, former factory towns that have struggled to revive their economies, want the company to build new offices around a soon-to-be-constructed train station on the commuter rail line to Boston.

The Seattle company has said it will spend more than $5 billion to build a second headquarters in North America with as many as 50,000 jobs. Amazon said it’s looking at metropolitan areas with populations of more than a million people, which have the potential to attract top technical talent.

Pawtucket has about 71,000 residents, while Central Falls has about 19,000 residents, according to the cities’ websites. The cities are part of the Providence metropolitan area, which has more than 1.5 million people.

City leaders said they won’t pitch directly to Amazon but will fold the proposal into a statewide pitch being crafted by Rhode Island’s economic development agency.

Stefan Pryor, the state’s commerce secretary, wrote a letter to municipal leaders earlier this week asking them to help identify possible locations that fit Amazon’s requirements. The state is working with business leaders and Partnership for Rhode Island, a nonprofit group focused on economic growth, to submit a bid before Amazon’s Oct. 19 deadline.

“Our goal is to submit the strongest possible unified proposal for Rhode Island,” Pryor said Thursday.

Boston and other Massachusetts cities are also exploring a bid, as well as dozens of other cities and regional governments around the United States and Canada. Amazon has said it expects to make a decision next year.

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