Area business leaders expressed disappointment and surprise about Amazon.com Inc. not picking Los Angeles as a site for its second headquarters.
The Seattle e-commerce giant chose Long Island City in New York and Crystal City, Virginia as the location for its HQ2 that will bring in a total of 50,000 employees.
Santa Clarita was included as one of nine areas in a proposal pitched by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. along with other business and political leaders from the county.
Holly Schroeder, chief executive of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., said she was pleased that the Los Angeles region made Amazon’s short list of considered locations but understands many factors go into selecting a site for a headquarters.
“Of course, we were disappointed not to be the final choice and believe that we have a lot to offer forward-thinking, growing companies like Amazon,” Schroeder said in an email to the Business Journal.
L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the Third District in the West Valley and advocated for the former Rocketdyne property as a potential Amazon site, also weighed in.
"Though Amazon chose the wrong coast from my perspective, this process introduced Los Angeles to a whole new audience as a place where innovative businesses can thrive," he said in an email statement to the Business Journal. "Los Angeles and the West Valley are open for business and I welcome entrepreneurs to come here and see why Jeff Bezos and Amazon picked L.A. as a finalist out of over 270 cities."
Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association, a Van Nuys business advocacy group, said in an interview he wasn’t surprised that Amazon went elsewhere considering that Los Angeles is “a business unfriendly city.”
The gross receipt tax, linkage fees, strict requirements on sick days and minimum wage and difficulty in construction buildings all add up, Waldman said, adding, “I would argue that Amazon knew what they’d be getting.”
“What I think this is is a message that Los Angeles needs to be better to be able to attract that kind of investment in the future,” Waldman continued. “Hopefully our elected officials will take note.”
Bill Allen, chief executive of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said that Amazon already has a presence in the Los Angeles area with its studio operations in Culver City, corporate offices in Santa Monica, numerous Whole Foods and Amazon Book Stores locations and many distribution and fulfillment centers.
“Those numbers are growing rapidly as Angelenos employed at those Amazon operations continue to help define the company’s offerings and power its growth,” Allen said