In September 2017 Amazon announced that they would be opening a second headquarters, Amazon HQ2, and cities have been in constant battle to house the headquarters ever since.
Amazon is expected to invest $5 billion in constructing HQ2 and anticipates that the new headquarters will grow to produce 50,000 high-paying jobs. After this announcement, Amazon received 238 proposals from cities, states and provinces, explaining why HQ2 should reside in their city.
Among the 238 proposals was a hand delivered bid from Kansas City. In this proposal, Kansas City offered $2.42 billion in incentives to Amazon. There was also a proposal from the state of Missouri to create a hybrid headquarters between Kansas City and St. Louis.
The possibility of having HQ2 in Kansas City attracted national attention when Kansas City Mayor Sly James started an online campaign to bring HQ2 to the area.
James posted a video of him at his desk surrounded by Amazon boxes. The video reveals that the mayor had purchased and reviewed 1,000 Amazon items. In each review, he presented a reason that Kansas City would be a desirable location for HQ2.
James was not the only one to think of a newsworthy advertising campaign. An economic development firm in Arizona attempted to send a 21-foot saguaro cactus to Amazon. However, this gift had to be rejected due to Amazon’s corporate gift giving policy.
Georgia followed suit in trying to entice Amazon. The Stonecrest City Council voted to de-annex 345 acres of land and rename it the city of Amazon if HQ2 was placed there.
The efforts of Kansas City and Arizona were in vain as neither was included in the final list of 20 cities. This list ranged from Los Angeles to Boston and even included Toronto, Canada.
Daniel Ives, an analyst for an economic development firm, published a list of cities he believes to be the five top contenders.
“We believe the top 5 likely cities for Amazon’s second headquarters/HQ2 in order will be: 1. Atlanta, 2. Raleigh, 3. Washington D.C., 4. Boston, and 5. Austin (only non-East Coast city in our Top 5),” Ives wrote in a note to clients.
Atlanta’s position as a likely contender for HQ2 was widely known before Ives published his list. In November, Atlanta was listed as the top contender for HQ2 on a list published by Sperling’s Best Places.
Atlanta was also named the top ranked city for HQ2 in a study in Business Insider, which created a list based on the cumulative rankings given by organizations such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
The appeal of Atlanta is its location and corporate friendly atmosphere. According to CityLab, “the long-standing presence of companies with leading supply-chain technology — like Coca Cola, Home Depot, and UPS — might also help bring in the right kind of talent. Low cost of living, proximity to great universities, and creating a presence on the opposite side of the country add to the city’s appeal.”
Amazon is expected to name the final site for HQ2 by the end of 2018.
Photo courtesy of CNN Money.