An Open Letter from Mayor Berry to Jeff Bezos

See the original post from the Mayor’s twitter account

Dear Mr. Bezos:

Dreamers and doers. That is what Albuquerque is made of.

Here you will find a community where people think big and are passionate about creating, where transformational ideas come to life. Albuquerque is a city on the rise that welcomes innovation and collaboration.

There has never been a better time to return to Albuquerque, and I invite you to bring Amazon’s second headquarters here. After researching our metro area, I hope that you will be asking yourself, “Why not Albuquerque?”

We know that hiring the right people is important to Amazon. The Albuquerque/Santa Fe/Middle Rio Grande region is proving its commitment to being a serious contender when it comes to attracting top tech talent. Major established businesses such as Facebook, Intel and fast-growing startups such as Descartes Labs and RS21 have discovered a workforce that is hungry for world-class career opportunities and ready to step up to challenges and opportunities. Our area has more residents per capita with doctorate degrees – mostly in science and tech fields – than any other city in the nation, largely as a result of Sandia National Laboratories and Air Force Research Laboratories in the city and Los Alamos National Laboratories just north of us.

Thinking long-term, we are aggressively growing the tech labor pool in response to nationwide business needs. For example, Albuquerque’s Deep Dive Coding Boot Camp attracts not only locals but also students from outside the state, including San Diego, the Bay Area, Seattle and Salt Lake City. Several have moved permanently to Albuquerque as a result of their experiences. We have one of the nation’s only cyber academies and a citywide focus on STEM education and job creation. Along with our exceptional research institutions including the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and New Mexico State University – we are also happy to be the home of Central New Mexico Community College, one of the top rated two-year colleges in America. Through these resources, we are building a tech-savvy workforce that enhances our access to the world’s most cutting-edge technology.

And people are starting to notice. SmartAsset listed Albuquerque this year among the Top 15 Cities for Women in Tech, and as the city with the 5th smallest gender pay gap in tech positions last year. In 2016, the Center for Digital Government listed Albuquerque as 6th  in its Digital Cities Survey Winners. Earlier this summer, US Ignite selected Albuquerque as one of five new Smart Gigabit Communities, which indicates that our city has made a significant commitment toward leveraging next-generation smart city and internet technologies.

We are also being intentional about making sure our city offers residents a vibrant urban center that is walkable, in close proximity to mass transit, and features open spaces and places where people can connect. Downtown Albuquerque is experiencing a renaissance that demonstrates the power of public/private partnerships and the city’s willingness to be creative when it comes to real estate. Our business and community leaders work closely with policy makers to ensure that we are nurturing a business-friendly environment and creating the best possible opportunities for people and businesses to succeed here. For the second year in a row, WalletHub rated Albuquerque in the top three Best-Run Cities over 500,000 population in America, which is a testament to the quality of our local and government talent pool.

A key development happening now includes America’s first all-electric bus rapid transit system running through nine miles of the heart of the city. It is being touted as one of the best of its kind and will be complete in late 2017, creating a pedestrian-friendly urban core that connects our city’s workforce centers, our Downtown, Old Town, shopping/restaurant district, innovation hub/startup community, university, zoo and botanic gardens. Already, new housing, multi-use developments and businesses are popping up along the revitalized corridor in anticipation of further economic development and population growth. Also running through Downtown Albuquerque is the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, a commuter train that provides service seven days a week with 15 stations along a 96.5-mile corridor and connects the Albuquerque metro area with Santa Fe.

Among the buildings and sites to be submitted for consideration (and located in close proximity to these new developments) is the historic Albuquerque Rail Yards, an incredible 100-year-old steel and glass complex that could be transformed into one of the nation’s coolest places to work.

Another asset that sets the Albuquerque metro area apart is that our population’s diversity aligns with your corporate values, and our makeup as a minority-majority state is where the rest of the nation will be in the future. It is truly one of our greatest strengths. Residents live in an environment that encourages and applauds diversity and empowers individuals.

When it comes to geographic location, it is hard to beat what Albuquerque has to offer. With temperate weather patterns and more than 310 days of sunshine per year, Albuquerque is a low-risk location for severe weather and natural disasters, which allows businesses such as Amazon to enjoy the certainty of operations. The Albuquerque International Sunport is within a 30-minute drive from any of the sites we will present for consideration, and the airport offers nonstop flights to a growing list of major metropolitan areas. Better yet, as a commercial space entrepreneur, you already know that Albuquerque is just a short drive away from Spaceport America.

Perhaps what will be most attractive to your employees is the quality of life and affordability they will experience as a resident of Albuquerque. Even during the winter months, residents and visitors alike have the ability to ski in the morning, golf, bike or hike in the afternoon and enjoy world-class rooftop al fresco dining in the evening. We have an arts scene that rivals the globe’s largest cities and is playing a major role in downtown revitalization through the newly-zoned Arts and Cultural District. Quality housing remains available and affordable. The median price for a single-family home in July was $195,000, providing your employees with the ability to own a home and build roots.

Albuquerque is committed to being the smart city of tomorrow. One example of that is our dedication to creating a center of excellence for blockchain technology. We recognize that businesses such as Amazon are determined to reduce overhead, increase transparency, decrease costs, implement smart contracts and deploy other incredibly efficient ways of doing business to establish themselves as corporations of the future. That is why our city is focused on implementing blockchain technology in government and also building capability within the community.

You said you seek a city that is excited to work with you; one where your customers, employees and the community can all benefit. Albuquerque is that city! At its core, the city is both attractive and scrappy and is rising to the top of its game. Amazon can be the catalyst to propel our city forward.

Simply put, Amazon has the ability to operate in many places. If you locate in Albuquerque, you have the opportunity to make a transformational difference in this community.

I am available and would be honored to meet with you or your team at any time at any location. Please feel free to call me at your convenience (505) 768-3000.

Thank you for your consideration of the Albuquerque metro area, and we look forward to submitting our formal proposal in October. Most of all, we look forward to welcoming you back to the Land of Enchantment.

Best regards,

Richard J. Berry
Mayor

City of Albuquerque

One Civic Plaza NW | PO Box 1293 | Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103

Office: 505.768.3000

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