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Columbus partners with Ohio State in bid for Amazon’s next headquarters

The City of Columbus has officially submitted a bid to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Ohio’s capital city, listing Ohio State as a possible site.

Amazon announced last month that it would be accepting bids from prospective cities in North America for a place to put its next headquarters. The e-commerce giant’s announcement to open a new headquarters outside of its current Seattle home started a bidding war across the country, one that Columbus is now a part of.

In the bid, announced just before the Thursday deadline, Ohio State’s university area was listed among downtown and Franklinton as an attractive location for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Ohio State said it had worked with city officials to coordinate the bid.

“Columbus would be an excellent home for Amazon, and Ohio State is an enthusiastic partner in the city’s bid,” Ben Johnson, a spokesman for Ohio State, said in a statement.

More details involving the specifics of Ohio State’s involvement with the city’s bid are expected to be released next week.

Amazon said it would invest more than $5 billion in construction in whichever city it would select to be the site for its second headquarters, “a full equal” to its current campus in Seattle.

Additionally, Amazon would bring up to 50,000 high-paying jobs over time, something that Ohio State believes it would add to.

“We see many ways in which the university and Amazon could work together to support cutting-edge research, provide career opportunities for our students and elevate economic development opportunities,” Johnson said.

As one of the largest universities in the country, Ohio State has plenty of college graduates coming through the pipeline to add to the workforce.

If Amazon does decide to come to town, it could bring more than just a new headquarters.

“An Amazon [research and development] center would be a perfect fit for our innovation corridor,” Johnson said. “The corridor will be home to an ecosystem of researchers, entrepreneurs, incubators and innovators.”

Ohio State has already partnered with Columbus in helping the city secure another national bid. Columbus won the Smart City challenge and with it came $40 million in grants from the federal government as well as millions of dollars in private partnerships and donations.

Ohio State was a key player in helping Columbus beat out 77 other cities who competed to be awarded the Smart City grant. Ohio State is the lead researcher as part of Smart Columbus and the university and state has invested $45 million to expand the Transportation Research Center.

Amazon has made clear that economical and efficient transportation are a key requirement for any city it ultimately chooses.

To bring the tech giant to Columbus, city officials included a laundry list of incentives in the city’s five-page proposal. Mayor Andrew Ginther also included a letter outlining many of Columbus’ positives that he believes make the city the ideal spot to land Amazon’s HQ2.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, an Ohio State graduate, told local news outlets last month at a press conference that Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos had recently made him breakfast at Bezos’ home.

Amazon already has a distribution center in Central Ohio and just recently opened an instant pickup store on High Street.

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