America's cities are so eager to land Amazon's second headquarters that they're going to some unusual extremes in the hopes of securing what is said to be a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs. Moody's Analytics ranked what it sees as the likeliest candidates, with Austin, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Rochester (NY), and Pittsburgh making up the top five, in that order. But far more locations are throwing their hats in the ring, and the AP got the scoop from the 50-plus mayors about what makes their bid, due Thursday, stand out. It didn't speak with anyone in Alaska, which didn't apply at all due to Amazon's stipulation that the metro area have at least a million residents; the entire state doesn't even have that population count. We've rounded up six of the most unusual tactics cities are taking in their quest to be home to HQ2.
- Tracking the sunshine: Some cities are proclaiming themselves a foil to the raininess of Seattle, and there's a bit of a battle afoot. "We have 300 days of sunshine," says JJ Ament, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. "Our skies are bluer and prettier." Than Austin's? That city is also pushing its 300 sunny days, while Albuquerque, NM, went on the record as having 310 days of sun.
- Flirting: One Alabama city is literally trying to woo the company. "Amazon, we got a 100% match on Bumble. Wanna go on a date?" Birmingham asks in one of hundreds of Amazon-themed tweets. The city even erected huge replicas of Amazon's Dash Buttons to facilitate the posting of one of more than 600 pre-generated tweets. "We are Chipotle and these other cities are Taco Bell, Amazon," one said.
- Talking hurricanes: Or lack thereof. For Columbus, Ohio, its lack of natural catastrophes is a big selling point. Albuquerque also boasts that it's not plagued by earthquakes or hurricanes. Observes the AP: "That could be important if Amazon wants to avoid rising sea levels or extreme weather."
- Creating a new city: Stonecrest, Ga., sits 20 miles east of Atlanta, but proximity isn't the only carrot it's dangling. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the city council voted in early October to de-annex 345 acres of land and create the city of Amazon there should it have the winning bid. "There are several major US cities that want Amazon, but none has the branding opportunity we are now offering this visionary company," explains Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary.
- Going orange: The uninformed may have thought it was a pre-Halloween gesture. It wasn't. New York City lit up landmark buildings like the Empire State Building, One World Trade, and Times Square screens in "Amazon Orange" for up to 15 minutes on Wednesday night, reports Curbed NY.
- Going for broke: The mayor of Kansas City, Mo., decided to get Amazon's attention by buying 1,000 products from the site and reviewing them all. "Within each product review, Mayor [Sly] James tells Kansas City's story, using a stat, fact, or story about his city," reads a press release the city sent to Mashable, which flags his review for Fiber One cereal that transitions into a mention of the city having "more fiber per capita," in an internet sense, "than anywhere else in the US." A nice note: All the items will be donated to area charities.
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