Bandwagon grows for Amazon


As local and state officials begin to put together bids in an attempt to entice Amazon to Massachusetts, business and tech leaders are warming up the same lobbying machine that helped lure General Electric to Boston.

“We are very strong believers (and therefore advocates) in bringing companies here to Boston,” said David Fialkow, co-founder of Cambridge venture capital firm General Catalyst, who helped advocate to bring GE to Boston.

While there is no formal effort, Fialkow said he and others — including university leaders, state officials and other local executives — will do everything they can to convince Jeff Bezos and Amazon to move to the Boston area.

“U bet, and will win,” Fialkow said in an email.

Last week, Amazon said it would solicit bids from cities and states across North America as it searches for a second headquarters that the company says could be 8 million square feet and eventually house 50,000 employees.

Colin Angle, chief executive of Bedford-based iRobot, said he would push hard for Boston the next time he sees Bezos, whom he considers a mentor. Bezos visited iRobot offices for years in the early 2000s, speaking to employees and sitting in on strategy discussions.

“If I see him, I will do whatever I can to encourage him to come to Boston, absolutely,” Angle said. “This is a great thing if it can come to pass.”

MassChallenge, a local startup competition and incubator, was a key part of Boston’s pitch to GE, showing off the strong tech landscape in the area. Kiki Mills Johnston, managing director of MassChallenge Boston, said the organization would do the same for Amazon.

“We believe that Boston is the best place in the world for businesses — from young startups to established corporates,” Johnson said. “We’d welcome the opportunity to show off all the innovation activity happening across the state.”

Across the state, developers and elected officials are preparing their own proposals for the headquarters complex. Owners of the former Boston Flower Exchange site in the South End said they are preparing a proposal that would put their land at the center of a campus sprawling across Boston.

The mayors of Haverhill, North Andover and Lawrence are also preparing a joint bid, as are owners of the former Naval air station in South Weymouth.

Yesterday, House Speaker Robert L. DeLeo threw his support behind a bid centered on Suffolk Downs, the 161-acre former racetrack. HYM Investments, owners of the…



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