Amazon’s proposal deadline for cities to host its second headquarters has passed, but a newly announced pitch has surfaced an innovative concept: a campus that spans three cities and two countries.
In fact, a proposal out of New Mexico offers a facility that spans three cities and two countries.
The bi-national campus would include El Paso, Texas; Juarez, Mexico; and Las Cruces, New Mexico. The joint proposal comes from two New Mexico-based nonprofits: the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA) and the Border Industrial Association.
“A bi-national campus that sits on the border [allows] Amazon the benefit of recruiting from two separate countries without barriers,” said a spokesperson for MVEDA. “We think this approach pushes the boundaries of how business has operated at a time when there is so much discussion about our border with Mexico.”
The campus would be divided into seven hexagons and the U.S.-Mexico border would run through the middle.
The groups envision a 70,000-acre campus with office buildings, parks, bike access and retail stores. The proposal also includes a solar and wind farm that could potentially provide for the energy needs of the majority of the campus.
U.S. Border Patrol agents would be stationed on the campus, according to Davin Lopez, president and CEO of MVEDA. However, other details about how to keep the campus secure on the border will have to be discussed, he said.
“It’s not unprecedented to have a private sector border crossing,” Lopez told CNN Tech. “With all the different discussions that are taking place in D.C. regarding amnesty and immigration … This is a different solution. It’s an opportunity for the private sector such as Amazon to be part of that answer.”
“Instead of building bridges or walls, we’re building a border economy here,” he added.
If chosen, Lopez expects the new facility would boost the economies of both the U.S. and Mexico.
But some experts aren’t convinced that such a proposal would be enough to woo Amazon.
“This is a very novel bi-national approach, but I don’t think the region has enough of an advantage over other applying cities in core areas [such as] workforce scale, education levels, aviation connectivity or public transit investment,” said Joseph Parilla, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.
MVEDA argues that its joint bid checks all the boxes Amazon wants, such as a metro area with a population of over 1 million, the ability to attract technical talent and proximity to major highways and international airports.
Amazon has received 238 proposals across 54 states, provinces, districts and territories across North America. Bids have come from big metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles and smaller cities like Danbury, Connecticut.
Atlanta is the favorite to win the new facility, according to Irish gambling site Paddy Power.
The company announced plans for a second headquarters in September. It will cost at least $5 billion to construct and operate and will create as many as 50,000 jobs.
Amazon plans to make a decision in 2018.