I loved this blog post by Paul Singh on Result Junkies.
It raises a very valid point. That with 238 cities you are going to have 237 unhappy regions that isn’t going to be the next Amazon headquarters. You can use the monetary incentives put forth and apply them to their own entrepreneurial community. Help grow the local coworking space, help local code schools.
This is all great points. I would actually like to follow up with this. As it stands right now with no shortlist, everyone is a possible loser but they are also a possible winner. Take this time to brag about your region, to talk with lawmakers and get things in the pipeline and continue to be on your best behavior as other big companies can use the public bids and even some of the private info as great information tools on where they want to build new offices and even headquarters. A few things are going to happen here. A big company without the resources or the pull to have 238 regions fighting over them are going to use some of this information to plan their next headquarters and locations. They might find out information and regions that they didn’t know existed, including possible building space downtown in some areas. Wait, there is a huge area of downtown available in which cities?
Next, while he is true that there will be only 1 true Amazon winner and 237 runner-ups when a shortlist is announced I think you will see some regions go into hyperspeed. Not just the regions but let’s say that a shortlist has five locations. If an area has 2 possible good locations for the HQ2 what do you think is going to happen to regions around the possible HQ2 locations? Smart people are going to go out and buy apartments, homes, business space area and find other ways to invest in the area. Home values in the possible areas are going to maybe even double in the next ten years but that really depends on what area we are referring to. A place with an existing high cost of living may not see much change but a place with a low cost of living and home and property values such as Atlanta might see a big boom that doubles home values as they are already under an average of $200K.
You will see cities and state lawmakers move into action to try to get things on the book and passed. No doubt some of what they need to pass such as transit taxes will require November elections but they can work now to get affairs in order to combine organizations and put themselves in the best situation moving forward. Places with not big enough airports might be able to suddenly find funding to move forward on new wings. Infrastructure deals will start in some areas to get the ball rolling.
And for those on the shortlist, only one is going to be selected but all of this work will make it much easier to go after other businesses who are trying to be wooed to a region. Yes, they can also invest in themselves as doing such things as adding in local co-working spaces and local code schools and everything that was mentioned will build the local tech environment and the environment needed for the next big RFP. I do believe that Amazon isn’t going to be the only company to do something like this. They might have the bigger pull and name but you will start to see other companies realize that a big public RFP might be a great way to build their business. Maybe the next big move is an overseas company moving to or back to the United States.