Five years ago, Scarborough was among hundreds of towns and cities courting Amazon as it looked for the future home of its next headquarters.
It was a big dream, but in the end, that’s all it was — a dream.
Now Scarborough may have another chance to lure the online retail mega-giant.
The Portland Press Herald reports that Amazon representatives have met with town officials to talk about making Scarborough home to a warehouse.
No proposals have been submitted yet, but Amazon appears to be eying land off Running Hill Road. It’s close to the Maine Mall and the Maine Turnpike, which the Press Herald noted is likely an attractive feature of the site. The company has reportedly offered contracts to residents in the area for the exclusive right to buy their land.
It does, however, lack public sewers and the land is not currently zoned for industrial use, according to the newspaper.
In 2017, Amazon set cities and towns from Canada to Mexico in competition with one another to become home to the retailer’s next headquarters, HQ2. By the fall of that year, Amazon had received more than 200 proposals.
Among those included Scarborough’s longshot bid — which the Wall Street Journal dubbed “implausible,” especially with metro areas like Boston and New York City competing — to lure Amazon to the former Scarborough Downs racetrack.
The Seattle-based company had listed among its preferences for a new location access to an international airport within 45 minutes, a metro area of more than 1 million people and universities graduating software developers, among other items.
While Scarborough did not meet Amazon’s population preference, town officials believed that they offered plenty of space to meet the online retailer’s demand. The town touted its proximity to Portland, with its “Award Winning Chefs and Craft Beer,” in the longshot bid.
Of course, Scarborough was eventually knocked out of the running, and out of its multitude of suitors, Amazon chose not one but two cities for HQ2 to call home — New York and Arlington, Virginia.
In 2019, Amazon pulled out of New York after locals pushed back against the company because of its labor practices and the $3 billion in tax breaks the well-heeled company received to lure it to the city. Instead, it opted to focus development in Virginia.
A warehouse is more modest compared with the potential impact of the mammoth HQ2. There’s no guarantee yet that Amazon’s interest will materialize into actual development, and other proposals for the area have fallen through, Karen Martin, executive director of the Scarborough Economic Development Corp., told the Press Herald.