Amazon Visits Newark: Inside Tuesday’s Tour of the City

Newark | Apr 12, 2018 at 2:26 pm


It’s hard to imagine that the city visit by Amazon — the next step in a process that Amazon promises will bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion worth of development to the winning town — would be routine.

But that was the case in Newark on Tuesday, when city and state officials made their face-to-face pitch to officials from the e-commerce giant.

So said Aisha Glover, the CEO and president of the Newark Community Economic Development Corp. and the point person for Newark’s bid to land the coveted Amazon HQ2 project.

“To be fully transparent, we were not off script,” she told ROI-NJ. “This is what (Deputy Mayor) Carmelo Garcia and I tag team on, marketing and promoting the city.

“We do this for retailers, developers, investors. So, it’s kind of second nature at this point. And we don’t need to go off script. Our story is our story. Our assets are our assets, no matter who we are talking to.

“The tour was not that different from what we do when other folks are trying to come into town, whether they are bringing 100 jobs, 1,000 jobs or 50,000 jobs.”

Glover said she and Garcia average giving the tour (either in person or in a virtual presentation) once or twice a week.

Of course, this wasn’t just a routine tour.

The stakes are much higher.

And that’s the biggest reason why Glover skillfully and respectfully dodged many of the questions looking for specific details.

How many people did Newark bring?

“Between the state and the city, everyone you would have expected in economic development to be there was there, including three elected officials: the senator (Cory Booker), the mayor (Ras Baraka) and the governor (Phil Murphy).”

Other sources gave ROI a few more details. For instance, the top two officials from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (CEO Tim Sullivan and Chief Operating Officer Tim Lizura) were both there, as well as Ray Chambers, the longtime Newark businessman and philanthropist who has offered financial support throughout the bid process.

Glover said the total group from the state did not exceed a dozen.

Aside from the discussing the $7 billion worth of incentives the state has said it promised in its proposal, one source said Amazon officials spent time with Booker discussing how the recently created Opportunity Zones, a program co-sponsored by Booker, could help Amazon.

A source said Amazon officials were told all of the proposed Amazon sites in Newark are in approved Opportunity Zone census tracts.

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