With 20 cities in the running, the stakes are high to become Amazon’s second North American headquarters.
From Toronto to Austin and Boston to Miami, the race is on to claim the home of Amazon’s second North American headquarters – provisionally titled Amazon HQ2.
The online retail giant claims it will investment $5 billion in the construction of the site, which will act as a full equal to its current business campus in Seattle and eventually produce some 50,000 high-paying jobs.
Amazon also believes the construction and ongoing operation of the facility will draw billions of dollars in additional investment and create tens of thousands of jobs in the surrounding community.
The only question remains which North American city will grab the brass ring.
Amazon has shortlisted 20 potential locations for the end-of-year announcement and candidates have been bidding hard to win the contest.
The outcome of the race will result in no small prize. Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy.
Over 100 cities in Canada, the United States and Mexico responded to the several phase 1 core requirements the company outlined which ended on October 19th. According to Modern Cites, these were:
- Being a metropolitan area with a population of over 1 million.
- Be within 30 miles of a population center.
- Be within 45 minutes to an international airport.
- Have proximity to major highways and arterial roads 1–3 miles.
- Easy access to mass transit routes.
- Account for up to 8 million square feet of office space for future expansion.
- Count with optional preferences including airports with direct flights to Seattle, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., urban locations, and proximity to major universities.
Speculation on the Amazon H2 headquarters
In recent months, Amazon has been working with each of the locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of the partner city.
The mystery has naturally provoked the interest of real estate speculators, many of whom appear to view Crystal City, Virginia, as the current frontrunner with shares in investment trust JBG Smith Properties, which owns a large chunk of commercial real estate in the area, flying off the shelves.
Yet others remain cautious. For example, Bryan Copley, co-founder of the Seattle-based real estate startup CityBldr, is raising $100 million for a fund that will invest in residential properties in Seattle, Los Angeles, and whichever city ultimately wins Amazon’s second headquarters.
“HQ2 is guaranteed to meet three criteria: tech job growth, tech job growth and tech job growth,” Copley told The Real Deal.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Amazon has been revisiting some of the cities on the shortlist, including New York, Miami, and Chicago.
The company initially received 238 proposals from North American locations that were keen to be shortlisted. At the beginning of the process, Amazon outlined several requirements for cities, including access to an international airport, a population of more than one million people, and a “stable and business-friendly environment.”
The finalists are…
On January 18th, Amazon announced the 20 cities to move on to phase 2, these were: Toronto, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, Boston, New York City, Newark, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, Northern Virginia, Atlanta, and Miami.
Toronto is the only Canada city on the list while three of the finalists are in the Washington, D.C., area. Two Texas cities, Austin and Dallas, made the list alongside with New York and Newark. Detroit, Cincinnati and Minneapolis/St. Paul did not make the list.
The list concentrates heavily in the U.S. Midwest and the Northeast region, as no cities from the Pacific Northwest made the cut and Los Angeles is the only West Coast representative.