Faust Supports Boston’s Bid for Amazon Second Headquarters


University President Drew G. Faust said she supports Boston’s bid to host tech giant Amazon’s second headquarters, touting the city’s “intellectual infrastructure” in a letter sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Faust’s testimonial was one of many included in the proposals that Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts each submitted to the e-commerce retailer, which is currently considering more than 200 bids from North American in search of a site for its $5 billion “HQ2.” Boston is considered a leading contender for the headquarters, and submitted its proposal to Amazon last week.

In her letter, Faust wrote that universities like Harvard play a critical role in making the Boston area “a competitive place for Amazon’s next venture, and for the future generations of thinkers and creators who will live, study, and work here.”

Citing Boston’s top-notch research and teaching facilities, including the University’s new science and technology campus in Allston, Faust presented a region brimming with innovation. The “academic energy” in the area, she wrote, fuels a knowledge-based economy and supports a high quality of life.

Faust also referred to the “promising pipeline” of highly-skilled labor in the region, including students from Harvard.


“In the last ten years at our university alone, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has experienced explosive growth, tripling the number of concentrators in applied mathematics, computer science, and biomedical, electrical, and mechanical engineering,” she wrote, adding that students in social sciences and humanities also “bring critical analytical and communications skills” to a variety of industries.

She ended the letter with an entreaty to Amazon.

“Amazon, and its commitment to service, innovation, and discovery, would be a welcome addition to our remarkable community here in Greater Boston. I hope you will join us,” she wrote.

In addition to Faust’s letter in the appendix, the lengthy Massachusetts report itself repeatedly mentions Harvard as a key draw for why Amazon should open in or near Boston.

One of the reports’ suggested supplementary sites, in Allston, positions the headquarters near Harvard’s new $1 billion Science and Engineering Complex, set to open in fall of 2020.

Boston also proposed Suffolk Downs—a former horse-racing track in East Boston—as a primary site for the headquarters, and offered a proposal to spend $750 million to link the MBTA’s Blue Line with the Red Line, easing transportation to HQ2.

In September, the company announced its plans to expand from its headquarters in Seattle and open a second base that would hire 50,000 full time workers. In its request for proposals, the company said it would focus on metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people, strong job growth, and strong public transportation, among other factors. It plans to make a final decision early next year.

Amazon currently has facilities in Boston’s Back Bay and Cambridge’s Kendall Square, with plans to open another Boston office next year.

—Staff writer Alison W. Steinbach can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @alisteinbach.

—Staff writer Sarah Wu can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @sarah_wu_.