Officials speak with Amazon; aviation company eyeing Harbor flights
City Hall officials spoke with Amazon executives yesterday about next steps as the online retail giant narrows down the 20 finalists for its second North American headquarters — while a seaplane company is eyeing Boston Harbor service that could help the city fulfill its bid transportation promises.
Yesterday’s talks marked the first official conversation since Amazon named Boston one of the 20 finalists to host its second headquarters, City Hall officials confirmed. They did not elaborate on what was discussed.
A spokeswoman for state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash did not comment on whether Ash took part in yesterday’s Amazon meeting.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is excited to continue working with the cities of Boston and Somerville to expand economic opportunities for the people of Massachusetts,” spokeswoman Lizzy Guyton said in a statement.
Boston and Somerville were identified together by Amazon last week, though they bid separately on hosting HQ2, which could cost $5 billion and bring 50,000 new jobs. The bids identify numerous perks and benefits for the company, with Boston promising seaplane service if it is selected.
“Establishing seaplane operations in the Boston Harbor will provide scheduled service between Boston and New York City, providing additional means of transportation between these two major metropolitan areas (in addition to bus, train, and air),” the bid reads. “There has been considerable collaboration to date with government agencies on the feasibility and implementation of this service.”
City officials said they have met with several interested parties about potential seaplane service but did not discuss specifics.
“The city is prepared to engage the public on adding seaplane facilities with conditions that address noise, public safety and other possible concerns,” mayoral spokeswoman Nicole Caravella said.
According to state lobbying records, Fort Lauderdale-based Tropic Ocean Airways recently hired The Suffolk Group for the purpose of “assistance with launching air transportation service.” Tropic Ocean Airways runs seaplane service in New York, New England, Florida and the Bahamas, according to its website. Tropic Oceans Airways and The Suffolk Group could not be reached for comment.
State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry said she met with Tropic Ocean Airways representatives and was impressed with their organization, but said any seaplane setup in the harbor would require significant community input.
But At-Large City Councilor Michael Flaherty, who opposed a helipad in the Seaport last year, said other transportation woes needed to be fixed first.
“Before we start catering to executives, the South Boston community will not even consider a seaplane project unless and until the community’s own transportation needs are met,” Flaherty said.