Release Date: November 2, 2017
Longmont's F9 Productions designs conceptual Amazon HQ2, hopes to catch CEO's eye
Proposed Denver skyscraper would be tallest in U.S.
By Shay Castle
PRINTED IN THE Daily Camera 10/31/17
More than 230 cities, states and regions in North America are vying for Amazon's second headquarters. Tucson, Ariz., sent a cactus (it was returned). Stonecrest, Ga., offered to rename themselves Amazon and make CEO Jeff Bezos the permanent mayor.
Longmont is getting in on the game, too, at least unofficially. Architecture firm F9 Productions has designed an 8 million-square-foot skyscraper to be Amazon's new, second home, and the plans caught the eye of Bezos himself, the company claims.
"He opened the email multiple times," said Alex Gore, one of F9's two partners. Gore explained that he uses a tracking software to show when his emails are opened. This particular email was viewed "in the morning, then again in the afternoon, and then at 7 p.m."
Gore has a theory for that: Bezos "probably opened it first thing, when he got to work, then thought about it and revisited it in the afternoon. Then he went home to show it to his wife."
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
Overcome with excitement on the multiple viewings, Gore sent another missive to the world's richest man. That one was opened in Houston, Texas, where Bezos just so happened to be heralding the opening of his massive wind farm.
That proves the tech exec himself is handling his email communications, Gore said, something he is known to do: "It's not coming from some assistant in headquarters."
Longmont contributed to the bid for Amazon's HQ2 sent in by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. (EDC). Because the document is confidential, it's unclear what if any of Longmont's contributions made it into the final bid, said Jessica Erickson, head of the Longmont Economic Development Partnership. The bid included a number of sites in Colorado, said Sam Bailey, vice president of economic development for the Metro Denver organization.
Gore's skyscraper would sit in downtown Denver, at Broadway and 19th. At 1,500 feet, it would be the tallest building in America by occupied floor, just nudging out One World Trade Center in New York, the spire of which reaches to 1,776 feet but whose occupants top out at foot 1,368.
The structure, which Gore estimates would cost $4 billion to build, features an outdoor amphitheater, 35,000-square-feet of community green space and a public observation deck on the 125th floor.
It also fits Amazon's capacity requirements, holding the 50,000 workers the company has estimated it will need over the next decade. As a bonus, the building even looks slightly like a twisted capital A, standing on two legs with a scooped, opening on the lower floors and a suspended workspace forming the crossbar.
Amazon has said it will announce the winning bid in 2018. Though the New York Times originally pegged Denver as the best choice, subsequent rankings have suggested larger metros as more likely to lure the tech giant.
Gore is hopeful his design will help give Colorado a leg up. In the meantime, he's content to dream an unlikely, if not impossible dream: That Bezos will one day reply to his emails and pick the small Longmont firm for the job of a lifetime.
Successful bids are based on the merits of the area and a sound business strategy from the company doing the searching, Erickson said — not gimmicks like free desert plants or A-shaped buildings.
But, she said of F9's efforts, "I give them kudos for creativity."
Shay Castle: 303-473-1626, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/shayshinecastle