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Orlando Area's Failed Attempt At Amazon HQ2 Offered $400M And Land


Greater Orlando offered as much as $400M in incentives and free land and more to Amazon in its failed bid for HQ2, according to the Orlando Economic Partnership, which released the details of the bid late last week.

Not all groups tasked with bagging Amazon, and coming up short, are so forthcoming. Out-of-the-running Cleveland, for instance, claims the bid is a trade secret.

In any case, the Orlando group offered locations in four places in the metro area. They included Downtown Orlando’s Creative Village; Tavistock’s Lake Nona and Sunbridge developments in southeast Orange County and parts of Osceola County; NeoCity in northeast Osceola County; and the Tupperware campus on the proposed SunRail line near Kissimmee.

The offering involving the 47-acre Downtown Orlando site included waving part of its county property taxes for a decade, about $133M. The deal would have also included help with the approval process and other red tape, so the project could open in 30 months.

Besides that, Amazon would have gotten city of Orlando tax breaks to the tune of $200M and $75M in job credits from the state. Also in the goodie basket: $25M worth of free land. 

Perhaps worried that Amazon would look askance at the relative lack of public transit in metro Orlando, the plan involved the expansion of Interstate 4, SunRail, airports and bus routes.

For Lake Nona and Sunbridge, the plan had Tavistock Development Co. offering 100 acres of land and kicking in 25% rebates of real estate commissions to “Amazonians.” The company also offered to develop the HQ, plus 1,000 houses and 1,000 apartment units at negotiated rates.

As for Osceloa, the proposal offered 100 acres of county-owned land and as much as $200M in tax discounts over the next 10 years.

In the end, none of that helped Orlando make the top 20. Perhaps one factor is the relatively small pool of tech talent in the area, the Orlando Sentinel reports, though Amazon did specify that the ability to attract tech talent was important, too. Among Florida cities, only Miami is still in the race.