Post-Amazon, Baltimore still has something to offer
Jan 29, 2018 at 1:40 PM
An executive from Amazon briefed senior Baltimore officials on the city's failed proposal to host the retailer's second headquarters, but didn't provide specific reasons why the city fell short, according to a summary of the call the city released.
It was heartening to read The Sun’s excellent independent analysis (“Did Baltimore really have a shot at Amazon HQ2? In a word, yes,” Jan. 24) showcasing how Baltimore fared compared to the 20 finalists selected by Amazon in its search to build a new second headquarters. The Greater Baltimore Committee and many business, philanthropic and educational leaders have been collectively — and individually — highlighting for years many of the same advantages and attributes noted in The Sun’s analysis, especially its location, affordable housing and overall cost of living and highly-educated and skilled workforce.
Given these and other terrific assets that Baltimore has to offer, the GBC was surprised and disappointed that the city did not make Amazon’s finalists list, especially given that many believed that the company would seek a location where it could make a transformational impact. It is hard to imagine any proposal in the country that would present a more transformational impact than a second Amazon headquarters in Baltimore when coupled with the presence of Under Armour and the promise of the Port Covington waterfront development.
In many ways, Baltimore is ripe for a company that wants to be invested in a social and civic transformation. Even so, Baltimore citizens and leaders have much to be proud of in the hard work and broad-based team effort that put together a solid bid for Amazon HQ2. The Baltimore City government, business community, philanthropic organizations and educational institutions pulled together quickly and selflessly to help Baltimore put its best foot forward with a very compelling bid. There is some solace to take that in its recent debriefing with city officials, Amazon praised the proposal as “one of the most creative, innovative and comprehensive proposals” they received.
The leadership, effort and teamwork that went into developing the final proposal should be viewed as a useful and empowering experience. While it served as a reminder that the city has challenges, it also brought to light the many strengths of the city that often go unnoticed. In the long run, the Amazon effort has Baltimore well positioned for the next big opportunity that emerges.
Donald C. Fry, Baltimore
The writer is president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.