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Onondaga County Legislature Invites Amazon to Consider Site in Clay for 2nd HQ

Onondaga County lawmakers want Amazon to know the door is open for them to consider locating their second headquarters at an undeveloped business park in Clay.  The legislature voted 13 to 4 to accept legislator Casey Jordan’s non-binding offer of the 339-acre county-owned White Pine Commerce Park as a potential location. 

There’s an additional 100 or more acres available across the street.  He says it seems to fit Amazon’s criteria.

"We have certainly a million or more people within a 30 to 45 minute commute; possibly 500 acres of land for Amazon to develop; a turnkey site, room to grow; ease of transport."

The site has access to highways, and plenty of power and water.  Jordan says the promised 25,000 jobs would multiply as more companies choose to locate here.  But some democratic lawmakers like Chris Ryan say Amazon has fallen short on job creation promises in Seattle, and haven’t paid federal taxes.

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
Legislator Casey Jordan introduced the resolution to urge Amazon to set up shop in Clay.

"The taxpayers have been on the hook with White Pine for along time.  How much of my tax dollars am I going to have to put back into White Pine so a company that made $232 billion last year doesn't pay any taxes."

Others said they couldn’t support the resolution without knowing what Amazon is willing to offer, and what the county might offer as incentives.  Legislator Jordan admitted it might be a long shot.

"It may be wishful thinking.  But I know one thing:  If you don't ask, it won't happen."

Several other state and local elected officials in the region have invited Amazon to consider locating here when the deal fell apart in Long Island City.


County lawmakers also took a step toward supporting the proposed STEAM school as part of a major redevelopment effort on the south side of downtown Syracuse.  The unanimous, non-binding vote marks a symbolic but significant endorsement of The Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math school, which would be housed in the former Central High School building and be open to children across the county. 

Republican Floor Leader Brian May called it "a different kind of infrastructure...a pipeline for our economy."  He says he's received many letters from the private sector expressing general support for a plan to generate future qualified workers.   Fellow Republican Julie Abbott-Kenan said, "STEAM is the way," and called the school a "no brainer."  Democratic Floor Leader Linda Ervin said, "If we can't do this for our kids, then shame on us." 

In a release following the vote, County Executive Ryan McMahon applauded the vote, and said, "The legislature took an important step in recognizing the fact that we must have a workforce that has the skillsets employers are seeking if the community is to remain competitive."

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at