miami

How Do Amazon’s HQ2 Finalists Compare? You Might Be Surprised

boston

Amazon received 238 applications from cities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico who wanted to be home to their secondary headquarters.  That’s incredible, actually.  Especially since the applications were international.  This means there is some real interest by cities to have Amazon call their city home.  All that said, Amazon has narrowed the list down to 20 candidates.  Places on the list like Boston, New York City and Austin already have some really strong tech sectors.  But there are some places that are considered to be “dark horses”, like Columbus, Ohio, Raleigh, North Carolina and even Toronto, Ontario.

Amazon was overwhelmed with all the enthusiasm and creativity that the cities put into their proposals.  Holly Sullivan states, “through this process, we have learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation”.  And that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?  That and a ton of cash on the table for the city that becomes HQ2.

columbus

I do feel bad for Kansas City though, don’t you?  You might remember the Mayor, Sly James, purchased a thousand products from Amazon and promised to review every single one of them for the site.  He did donate the products to charity, but unfortunately, Kansas City didn’t make the list.  The City of Calgary promised to have someone fight a bear and change the name of the city to “Calmazon”. Both of which are kind of insane.  That said, these things didn’t go unnoticed, but they weren’t able to make the list of 20.

newark

In a controversial move, cities like Chicago and Newark offered some tax credits.  And of course, these two made the cut.  The problem is that this kind of move is drawing criticism from local groups who say that Amazon often ends up crushing local businesses and displacing low-income residents.  But the reward will be a $5 billion investment in the headquarters itself and as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.  Secondary employment will also be created for some folks in order to support HQ2.

So who made the list?

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Los Angeles, California,
  • Miami, Florida
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Nashville, Tennesse
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • New York City, NY
  • Northern Virginia, Virginia
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Toronto, Ontario, and;
  • Washington, DC

When it comes to some of these larger cities, I’m not convinced that they should go there.  I’m thinking like Los Angeles or New York City, for example.  There’s just so much going on there already.  It makes more sense to me to target a city with fewer goings on, doesn’t it?  Amazon ranked these cities based on different things – like technology talent, or how much it will cost to pay people in these areas etc.  But the one factor I think is worth noting is time from downtown to the airport.  Who wins if this was the deciding factor?  Good ‘ol Columbus, Ohio.  Followed by Miami who is tied with Newark, and then Boston.  Which all seem like pretty viable options. Columbus also had some pretty low rent on average.

While I’m not suggesting that they will base their selection off of how long it takes to get from the airport to downtown, it is a fun way to look at it.  I’m interested to see which city they choose and how they make their selection.  Which, I hope we find out soon!

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