Mayor declares Wednesday #CLTisPrime Day to lure Amazon HQ

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte residents are encouraged to show off what they love about the Queen City and prove why the city is the number-one spot for Amazon’s second headquarters.

[LINK: Charlotte is Prime]

Mayor Jennifer Roberts declared Wednesday as “Charlotte is Prime Day.” It’s an effort to lure the online retail giant to the Queen City.

[RELATED: #CLTisPrime: City brainstorms ways to lure Amazon to Charlotte]

The Charlotte Regional Partnership and Charlotte Chamber are hosting a picture and video contest Wednesday. They're awarding prizes to people who tag Amazon in the best pictures and videos that show off the city.

Participants just have to use the hashtags #CLTisPrime and #HQ2 on social media to enter the contest.

Charlotte officials need to submit their bid to Amazon by Thursday. It will then be two months before Charlotte learns if it has earned a spot on Amazon’s short list.

Channel 9 has been told multiple sites in Mecklenburg County are being submitted and the incentives being offered will be competitive.

"We have put together a comprehensive, competitive package. We truly believe we have addressed what Amazon is looking for," Charlotte Regional Partnership CEO, Ronnie Bryant, said.

The second headquarters is expected to bring 50,000 jobs that pay an average salary of $100,000.

Gov. Roy Cooper said he's throwing his weight behind every North Carolina city trying to win the jobs.

"There are a number of localities that are looking to attract Amazon to North Carolina,” Cooper said. “We want to be a partner with them. Clearly, these are the kinds of jobs we want for our state."

There would also be some drawbacks to landing the company's massive expansion.

A watchdog group called “Good Jobs First” warns that the cost of living in Charlotte could rise dramatically. They are also concerned about Amazon seeking property and sales tax incentives and even keeping employee income taxes.

The group also told Channel 9 that Charlotte needs to request safeguards, like local workers getting the first shot at the new jobs.

An estimated 150 cities across the country are trying to land Amazon. If Charlotte makes it to the next round in December, city leaders could meet the company's executive face-to-face for another presentation.

Bryant did say they have identified some potential sites in South Carolina and North Carolina.

The airport is presumably part of the pitch, along with Charlotte's banking center, and then there’s the soft see from Charlotte’s trees to its quality of life.

On top of that, the state is offering $250 million in incentives or a job development grant, both reasons for optimism.

“We truly believe we have addressed what Amazon is looking for,” Bryant said.

Others are pumping the brakes.

A report in business insider today lists one analyst's top 10 contenders as Atlanta, but not Charlotte.

Other cities and states are throwing a lot of money at Amazon, like Memphis offering $60 million. Chula Vista, California, has offered $400 million in incentives, and the state of New Jersey is up to $7 billion in incentives.

Dr. John Connaughton, who teaches economic development at UNC-Charlotte, said state laws limit Charlotte's ability to offer big dollars to companies like Amazon, and Charlotte may simply not be big enough to handle the 50,000 more jobs Amazon wants to bring.

“It's difficult to do that, given the way our incentive systems work,” said Dr. John Connaughton, at UNC-Charlotte. "We have a shot, but it's a really, really, really, really long shot.”

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