Three months ago, Governor Chris Sununu proposed Londonderry as the Granite State’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. This month, the online retail giant has narrowed its list of hundreds down to the top 20 and Woodmont Commons didn’t make the cut. This news did not come as a surprise to the governor’s office, but was still a disappointment.
“While we always knew that our bid was considered a long shot, we are excited that it is already serving as a template for other businesses that now have New Hampshire on their radar,” said Sununu.
Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith said about “a half dozen or so companies” have expressed interest in developing at Woodmont, but was not at liberty to disclose any names until plans are finalized.
“It’s not when, but who moves into Woodmont Commons,” said Smith.
New Hampshire’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters was one of 238 proposals from across North America, with Boston as the local place to beat. The whole affair was almost like an episode of “The Bachelor,” with cities and states offering everything short of their souls to CEO Jeff Bezos for the golden ticket of 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment in construction.
Sununu sold the state as “all the benefits of Boston without all the headaches,” but that wasn’t enough to convince Amazon to keep it on the list. The appeal of Beantown is access to an international airport and a strong rail system, neither or which exist in this state. Those setbacks didn’t seem to damper Sununu’s spirits, however.
“We will never stop emphasizing that New Hampshire is open for business, open for workers, and open for opportunity,” said Sununu.
Since the Amazon proposal, the governor has changed his stance on rail. The bid had proposed that Woodmont would build a rail stop if that’s what Amazon wanted. It seems that idea has been on the governor’s mind because he is now supporting a $4 million study on the impact of expanding the rail system in the state, according to the Union Leader.
Despite the rejection from Amazon, Smith felt NH would still come out a winner if Amazon moved to Boston, which has two spots still up for consideration in Suffolk Downs and Somerville.
“It will have a spill-over effect,” said Smith. “Amazon may need some outpost offices… that could benefit southern New Hampshire.”
Smith said the proposal that was sent to Amazon could easily be used to entice other large companies to Londonderry. Apple recently announced that it is also seeking a new campus with 20,000 job opportunities. Smith did not comment on whether Apple had any interest in Woodmont, but said while the development would be good for a large company, it was just as likely that several smaller companies could take up residence in the space.
“It’s only a matter of time,” said Smith.
Either way, it would affect the already rapidly growing population in town, which is being used as a reason for the increase of next year’s school budget. Having either one large company or several smaller ones in Woodmont will create economic and cultural impacts that residents will need to consider for the future.