Forbes just released an article with the 14 thriving U.S. Cities that Amazon should consider for HQ2. Let me first say to our Canadian visitors, yes, the Amazon HQ2 RFP said North America, not the United States. Forbes believes that Amazon will stay within the U.S. Don’t give up up Toronto! Go Argonauts! Sorry, but I agree.
Let’s go over the cities that they list. While they have them listed as 1-14, not sure it is in the order of who they think should be selected, it is just 14 cities.
- Detroit, Michigan. [Forbes just said Detroit but it seems to be a joint bid with Windsor] Even if they think this headquarters will be in the United States, not mentioned by Forbes in the article but the Detroit bid includes ferry travel to Canada. The bid was a joint bid with Windsor to take advantage of lower taxes and good real estate options.
- Atlanta, Georgia. The world-leading airport, highly educated workforce, low cost of living and great weather are points highlighted. All true. Not mentioned is that the traffic isn’t great but mass transportation isn’t as bad as other regions. Amazon is already located here and Atlanta is very closely related to Seattle.
- Boston, Massachusetts. The talent pool is there. Office space can be found and that is good. I am not sure the cost of living is where it needs to be.
- Austin, Texas. A powerhouse in technology. Whole Foods is also located there. Low cost of living and culture is big factors for Austin.
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. East coast location. Lower cost of living.
- Washington DC. Already located here, including the Washington Post, owned by Bezos.
- Chicago, Illinois. The author is rooting for Illinois, but as a former resident of Illinois, the state is not in good financial shape. Talent would rather move out than in. That is a big issue. The author mentions good eats and hard working people.
- Herndon, Virginia. Amazon has a large tech presence with the original AWS location. I am not sure this fits the large metro area in the RFP.
- Newark, New Jersey. The culture, history and proximity to New York City makes it a good choice. Transportation is available.
- Salt Lake City, Utah. A good spot for tech business. I do not think that it has enough draw for people to relocate to Utah.
- Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The city of arts and innovation has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. I do not think the airport is big enough and recent NC laws might scare Amazon off.
- Greater Los Angeles. Settle outside of the L.A. proper area? The talent pool is good but the cost of living and transportation might not work.
- Phoenix, Arizona. The Valley of the Sun might just be too hot. They have warehouses here but a full headquarters, man, I don’t know.
- Orlando, Florida. Central Florida. Large universities, good economy and innovation.
I think that the locations are good locations and not too many have big knocks against them. The cities that best fit all of the requirements in my research are Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, and North Carolina. Other areas might be a fit but have higher cost of living or are not really in metro areas with a downtown that Amazon can grow.