Amazon has been vetting cities to be the home of its second headquarters after its Seattle-based facilities. More than 230 cities in the United States and Canada submitted bids to the ecommerce giant, hoping to lure the company and the potential of 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in investments to their area. After careful scrutiny, Amazon has whittled their list of potential HQ2 locations down to 20 finalists, with most of them residing on the East coast of North America. Here are a few of the most prominent cities that made the cut.
Raleigh – Part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, the state’s capital city has made the cut despite any widespread public transportation. They do have an international airport, which was one of Amazon’s required criteria for selection. The state’s stance on controversial legislation in recent years might count against them when it comes to a final decision, however.
Chicago – Illinois has offered $2.25 billion in tax incentives, and will sweeten the deal if Amazon agrees to build on state-owned land. The city, and state for that matter, deals with a regulation structure that might not sit well with Amazon as they try and make longer term investments in the area.
Atlanta – Most analysts predict that Atlanta will win out in the end. The Atlanta metro area has more than 6 million residents, already boasts one of the most popular/busy airports in the country, and has a great logistics network that makes it the tech hub of the South.
Newark – A surprising finalist, this New Jersey city has seen a declining local economy for decades, which pairs with lagging infrastructure and recent crime concerns. The state has already said they will give Amazon $7 billion in tax cuts, likely catapulting Newark to the front of the list.
Austin – Long considered a haven for tech companies, the capital city of Texas has survived the first round of choices. While Texas has several appealing reasons for businesses to set up shop (including statewide tax breaks), Austin has struggled with transportation problems for decades. Many industry analysts wonder if the city would be able to meet the sudden infrastructure demands of an additional 50,000 workers.
Regardless of where Amazon locates its second headquarters, the benefits for the host city are obvious. Outside of the direct impact of jobs, billions of dollars in investment will bring way to other forms of growth, improving standard of living, small business success and tax revenue. It’s also safe to say that a tech giant like Amazon would attract more tech companies to its area, turning the HQ2 city into a smaller version of Silicon Valley.
What do you think about some of the cities that made Amazon’s final list? Is there a clear favorite? Do you have reservations about any particular cities? Let us know in the comments below.