Many compete but only one can be the next Amazon HQ2

As global business leader Amazon searches for its second North American headquarters many cities are in the competition to win this prize.

In a move that does not happen every day, Amazon has announced their search for the second headquarters and North American cities are giving it their best to be selected the winner of such an astonishingprize. Amazon is one of the largest internet based companies in the world with its specialty being electronic commerce and internet retailing. Its headquarters are located in Seattle, Washington, and subsidiary offices are located all over the world. Amazon is a massive global corporation and is still growing daily. Therefore, Amazon decided that is time to open the second headquarters in North America. In its search to find the perfect city, Amazon held a competition and had interested cities submit bids for this very lucrative and economically positive opportunity. From all across North America, cities submitted their presentations on why they should be chosen by Amazon.

Illustration by Mellow Tea

Although Amazon allowed bids from across North America, the potential cities must meet all of Amazon’s mandatory requirements, which include:

  • Metropolitan area with a population over 1 million
  • A business-friendly economically stable environment and relatively low crime rates
  • Within 48 km of a large population center
  • Within 45 minutes of an international airport
  • Within a reasonable distance of a major highway
  • Access to large transit routes
  • 8 million square feet of office space available for future expansion

Amazon has also requested, though not mandatory, that the cities meet the following criteria:

  • Have direct flights to Seattle, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C
  • Be located near a major university

Even with its strict criteria Amazon the corporation ultimately received two hundred and thirty-eight bids including these sixteen cities:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • New York, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Rochester, New York
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Diego, California  
  • San Francisco, California
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Vancouver, British Columbia

With so many hoping to win the competition, cities have thought of exceptionally creative ways to grab Amazon’s attention. For example, the city of Stonecrest, Georgia, stated that if Amazon chose them, they would change the city border to help create a new city named Amazon around the new headquarters location.

There are many positive impacts that the new headquarters will bring to the city. For example, roughly 50,000 new jobs will be created with an average yearly salary close to $100,000. The new headquarters will be good for the local economy; as the technology industry continues to grow, other internet-based companies may relocate there to be near a strong tech company like Amazon. Amazon will need to build buildings, hire employees in the community who then spend in the city by buying homes, cars and spending in general. All this type of spending, and especially collection of taxes gives the city the money it needs to grow and to keep the city well taken care of for its citizens.

Amazon is set to release the new headquarters location early 2018 and at this time any of the competing cities has the potential to win. However, manybusinessexpertspredict that it could be one of the following cities:

Atlanta, Georgia

According to Forbes, Atlanta should be near the top of the list, possibly first or second. Atlanta already has a large population already working in the tech industry. It has a metropolitan population of over 6 million and has affordable housing for its citizens. Furthermore, Atlanta has a large international airport, making it accessible to the cities that Amazon needs to be linked to easily.

Austin, Texas

Austin is another city frequently mentioned as one of the top two most likely to receive Amazon’s second headquarters. Some of the reasons for this high ranking are that Austin has a large population of tech workers and Texas is considered to be a remarkably business-friendly state. In addition, Austin has an extremely high quality of life, a fact that could persuade Amazon to locate there.

Boston, Massachusetts

Although Boston does not rank as high as other cities on the list, it should not be taken out of the running too quickly. The city has a decent shot as Boston is home to two major universities, Harvard and MIT, meaning they would have many well-educated workers available to make careers with Amazon. Other positives to Boston include its high quality of life and large international airport. Although Boston may have many convincing positives it also has a very large problem of not having much affordable housing. This could potentially be a deal breaker for Amazon.

Rochester, New York

Comparable to Boston, Rochester is also not the experts’ first choice when predicting which city will be chosen, but it consistently ranks in the the top ten. Rochester has affordable housing and is home to other major companies including Kodak. However, Rochester will have trouble finding enough employees since its population has consistently been on the decline.

Toronto, Ontario

Although Amazon will most likely pick an American city, experts have not officially taken Toronto out of the running. Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto has a very large international airport, very well-regarded universities and will have no trouble finding employees. An additional point for locating in Toronto is that business fees will be less costly considering the strength of the American dollar in comparison to the Canadian currency. However, it may not be ideal for Amazon to locate its headquarters in a foreign country.

Until the release date early next year, frontrunners will continue to move up and down the list.  The tension between the cities will continue to grow.  Some will continue to publicly draw attention to their bids in hope of being noticed by Amazon executives and decision makers.  The stakes are high for all the top competitors as well as for Amazon.  The company needs to choose wisely so that its top tier status in online business is not compromised and it continues to grow. When the decision is finally made and the city for the second Amazon headquarters is announced that city will ultimately be changed by Amazon forever.  

3 comments on “Many compete but only one can be the next Amazon HQ2

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