Baltimore's Old Goucher neighborhood makes independent bid for Amazon headquarters

As Baltimore and state officials were promising billions of dollars to bolster Port Covington’s bid for a new Amazon headquarters, the Old Goucher neighborhood had other ideas.

On Thursday, the neighborhood association said it submitted a “completely independent” bid for the corporate behemoth to locate in the center of Baltimore.

“If you look at other cities, they are putting in multiple sites,” said Kelly Cross, president of the Old Goucher Community Association. “This is about all the amazing things we have in center city. I’m sure Port Covington has all its attributes, but so does center city. I can’t think of a better spot in Baltimore than us.”

While city and state officials had dozens of people working on the Port Covington bid, Cross said Old Goucher’s bid was put together completely by volunteers. It stresses central Baltimore’s closeness to universities, restaurants and museums.

It recommends Amazon redevelop the State Center office complex in West Baltimore and the prison complex in East Baltimore.

The bid doesn't offer any additional tax incentives or subsidies, but Cross said he hopes if central Baltimore is chosen, government officials will make such offers.

Amazon is searching nationwide for a second headquarters and the promise of 50,000 jobs. Municipalities from around the country were submitting bids for the coveted project. Baltimore City as well as Charles, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties are submitting bids for the headquarters, which Seattle-based Amazon announced in September.

Doug Mayer, spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan, has described the state’s incentive offer as “the largest in state history by a long shot.”

The Port Covington site in South Baltimore is already in line to receive massive subsidies. City officials have approved $660 million in tax-increment-financing bonds to jump-start the project. Those bonds would accumulate $1.4 billion in interest that must be paid to investors. The site is expected to benefit from $760 million in tax breaks as well.

Additionally, the Port Covington developers — who are building a mixed-use project that will be home to a new corporate headquarters for Under Armour — are expecting $350 million in state investment, including a $165 million light rail extension that would run to the site.

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