Betting on Amazon’s interest

The Legislature might want to award a few more racing dates to Suffolk Downs to hedge against the growing view that Amazon will site its $5 billion HQ2 project somewhere other than Boston.

The online betting now leans toward Northern Virginia as the favorite to land Amazon’s projected 50,000-person workforce with a plus-$240, meaning you can bet $100 to win $240. Boston has dropped to fourth in the 20-city wagering, with a plus-$450 moneyline.

Another form of betting is also underway as real estate speculators, who know what to do with their money, are gobbling up commercial properties in some of the leading cities or lining up funding so they can make a quick hit when the expected announcement comes by the end of the year. Again, not a lot of outside activity in Boston, though part of that may be an uncertainty where Amazon would land here — East Boston, Somerville, the Seaport, or somewhere else —  as well as the high cost and low availability of property.

But it’s not just the bettors reading the tea leaves as more reports show officials are revisiting a handful of cities on the shortlist, and none of the reports say Boston. Other cities, such as Denver, are also losing hope after not being asked to dance a second time.

New York, Newark, Miami, and Washington, DC, all reportedly were paid return visits by Amazon officials and observers say it’s the Washington-Northern Virginia area that checks most of the boxes, not in small part due to Jeff Bezos’ growing ties and affinity for the region (he owns the Washington Post).

Some are cautioning not to read too much into the second visits for a number of reasons. Maybe Amazon officials got enough information from the first go-around, for instance. After all, they are moving forward on new office space in the Seaport with room for 2,000 employees. Or maybe they have come and gone stealthily, their visit unnoticed.

“I’ve seen a lot of commentary in the media that it must mean these cities they visited have a leg up,” Katie Culp, president of an Indianapolis site selection consulting firm told the Boston Globe. “I think that’s flawed.”

Crystal City, where the Pentagon is located, is mentioned most often as the likely landing spot. One Metro stop from the nation’s capital, and one from Reagan National Airport, as well as easy access to Dulles International Airport, it satisfies the transportation requirement. With the county having one of the most educated workforces in the country, there will be no concerns about attracting qualified employees.

While Boston could compete with those qualities – hey, the MBTA is in no worse shape than Metro – the one area the Hub is lacking is proximity to the center of political power as well as the bipartisan shade of purple Virginia now exudes. That paints the region as a swing state that would require attention from both sides of the aisle to take care of a major employer of thousands of voters who would rely on the tech behemoth for income. It’s called covering all your bets.



State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg says state lottery sales need to move online to maintain their revenue numbers, a move opposed by retail stores that would lose out on that business. (Boston Herald)


Two days before he was indicted on federal fraud charges last week, Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was cited by the Office of Campaign and Political Finance for failing to report $16,000 in donations to his legal defense fund. (Herald News) Several weeks before, CommonWealth took a look at those so-called segregated funds account, with a focus on Correia. The Globe looks at Correia’s fast fall. Here is the deep dive on the young mayor that CommonWealth did earlier this year.

Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund said the future of the master developer of the stalled project at the former naval air base hinges on the company completely severing ties with its ex-CEO. (Patriot Ledger)

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera isn’t letting the Boston-based contractor Feeney Brothers do any work in his city because of the firm’s involvement with the over-pressurization of gas lines that led to explosions and fires throughout the Merrimack Valley. Federal investigators have not blamed the contractor for the gas disaster, but Rivera doesn’t care. (Eagle-Tribune)

Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards wants to establish buffer zones that would keep liquor and marijuana stores from opening close to addiction treatment centers. (Boston Globe)

Methuen Mayor James Jajuga has missed a third of the City Council and School Committee meetings he is required to attend. The mayor says the rule requiring him to attend the meetings is antiquated and should be struck down. (Eagle-Tribune)


The Supreme Court has blocked a request by states suing the federal government that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross be deposed about his decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census. (Washington Post)

Richard North Patterson, in a piece on US Rep. Seth Moulton, asks when ambition in a pol became a bad thing. (Boston Globe)


The Boston Herald endorses challenger Geoff Diehl in his campaign to unseat US Sen. Elizabeth Warren, saying he has shown his paramount concern is state residents while Warren clearly has her eye on a presidential run.

A group of conservative Republicans is urging Massachusetts voters to blank the race for governor because of Charlie Baker’s betrayal of conservative values and his reluctance to back Diehl in his race against Warren. (Salem News)

The Globe endorses a “no” vote on Question 1, saying rigid nurse staffing requirements would be “too blunt of an instrument.” WBUR takes a close look at how nurse-to-patient staffing ratios would change at some hospitals if Question 1 passes while having next to no impact at others. The two sides squared off in a debate the station held yesterday afternoon. (Boston Globe)

Decrying a possible Trump administration move to rollback federal protections for transgender people, activists in Massachusetts say the potential changes make it even more important to preserve the state’s transgender rights bill by supporting Question 3 on the state’s November ballot. (Boston Globe)

The only debate between Secretary of State William Galvin and Republican challenger Anthony Amore devolved into a heated shouting match complete with name calling. (WGBH)

Michael Maloney, the independent candidate running for Suffolk district attorney, ran for selectman in Easton twice, in 2012 and 2013, and came in last both times. (The Enterprise) Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. debates his challenger Blake Rubin, who sought to question the incumbent’s integrity in handling the Alli Bibaud scandal. (Telegram & Gazette)

More than 5 million people have already cast ballots in early voting around the country with some states experiencing turnout equivalent to presidential election years. (U.S. News & World Report)


Speculation has heated up over whether Boston is still in the mix for Amazon’s second headquarters after reports that company officials recently made return visits to several potential sites — but Boston was not among them. (Boston Globe)

More than one-third of nonprofits continue to file public tax documents by paper despite an IRS change more than a decade ago that allows them to submit the records online . (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Brighton-based New Balance has hired a recent high school graduate and top basketball prospect as an intern — at $1 million a year. The deal is the latest maneuver around the practice of players doing “one and done” at colleges to bide their time for a year before they are eligible for the NBA draft. (New York Times)


Despite the drubbing that proponents of charter schools took in the last election, Tom Birmingham and Bill Weld say the debate over charter school expansion is not over. (CommonWealth)

In testimony at the federal trial over Harvard admissions policies, an expert testifies that despite the university’s use of race as an admissions factor has done little to bring economic diversity to campus, with students from wealthy families outnumbering those from low-income households 23 to 1. (Boston Globe)

A new state law will require that an advocate for dyslexia be added to an early childhood education panel of experts and that local districts screen for the learning disorder. (State House News Service)

MIT is putting $1 billion into a new effort focused on computing sciences and artificial intelligence. (Boston Herald)

A Beacon Hill commission is recommending a big expansion of after-school and summer learning programs in the state. (Boston Globe)


The Trump administration announced new regulations that will allow states to skirt mandates of the Affordable Care Act by offering less-comprehensive plans but still qualify for subsidies. (Wall Street Journal)


The state’s $113 million offshore wind staging terminal in New Bedford, completed in January 2015, will finally get a tenant in December 2020. Vineyard Wind signed a $9 million, 18-month lease. (CommonWealth)

National Grid is spending slightly more but completing fewer customer gas hookups and fixing fewer leaks. The numbers suggest the company’s lockout of its union workforce is taking a toll. (State House News)


A veteran Brockton police officer who fired the shots that killed a knife-wielding man was involved in and cleared in the last fatal officer-involved shooting in the city in 2015. (The Enterprise)


Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas takes some hard shots at the Boston Globe for its coverage of US Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Indian ancestry.


Joachim Ronneberg, a Norwegian resistance fighter during World War II who, at the age of 23, led the mission that blew up a Nazi factory and crippled Germany’s plans to develop an atomic bomb, has died at the age of 99. (Washington Post)