October 21, 2018
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Scarborough will compete to host Amazon headquarters

Scarborough Downs | BDN
Scarborough Downs | BDN
Kevin Switzer (front) drives Mizuno around the track during racing action in 2015 at Scarborough Downs.

PORTLAND, Maine — Amazon is searching for a second home, and Scarborough wants it to move in.

The southern Maine town intends to submit the area around the Scarborough Downs racetrack as a potential site for the online retail behemoth’s second headquarters.

Scarborough faces a tight deadline and formidable competition for the new Amazon campus, which the Seattle-based company said will come with a $5 billion investment and eventually employ 50,000 people. But local officials said the community has nothing to lose and, potentially, much to gain by jumping into the race.

“I don’t know if we’re really going to be a competitor, but it’s nice to at least try,” said Town Council Chairman Shawn Babine.

The deadline to apply to Amazon’s request for proposals is Thursday, Scarborough Town Manager Thomas Hall said. He added that the Scarborough Economic Development Corporation is preparing Scarborough’s proposal, which he expects to be completed by Thursday afternoon.

“We aren’t in an area with 1 million people or so, which is [Amazon’s] preference, and we don’t know if they’ll count Boston,” Hall said. “But we do have two to three times the greenfield acreage they are seeking, which might make us unique among the hundreds of thousands of proposals they’ll get.”

And Babine thinks his coastal community has other features that may be appealing to the tech giant.

“We might not score well in the population part, but we might do well in other parts.” Babine. “It’s the ‘way life should be.’ It’s the place where everyone wants to live, work and play.”

Scarborough Downs is owned by Sharon Terry, who Hall said is coordinating with the economic development group. The track and surrounding property currently is under contract for purchase, he said, and the potential new owners “have given their blessing to sell it to Amazon,” Hall added.


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