Amazon HQ2 Location

JBUCHAN's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 112

Alright folks, let's have everyone's best guess (or inside knowledge) of what city the new Amazon HQ2 will be located. I am going with Denver and Colorado Springs.

The culture is really great
Marijuana is legal
Plenty of other large corporations have their HQ there
The cost of living is much less expensive compared to other major cities
Somewhat centrally located in the US

Interested to hear what you speculate.

Comments (143)

Sep 20, 2017

Assuming their preference is an east coast city, my guess would be Atlanta, Boston, or Philadelphia.

Sep 20, 2017

Have to vote for Atlanta. CNN Money, Bloomberg, Brookings, and Biznow all list it at or near the top of their likely prospects. Atlanta recently got a brand new Amazon Logistics hub and just won a major Accenture deal. Plus, rents are low, the population is growing, there are solid schools nearby (Emory and Georgia Tech), the weather is good, it's a major air hub and Delta's HQ, there is functional, albeit not great, public transit, and it's "the Capital of the South."

If not, Boston would be the next obvious choice with Harvard and MIT nearby, but it would be more expensive for both the company and its employees and it would be very, very cold.

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Sep 20, 2017

What about Charlotte or Raleigh? How does that compare to Atlanta?

Sep 20, 2017

Don't think these two cities have large enough airports. Raleigh definitely has the human capital (Duke and Research Triangle Park = qualified candidates) and favorable cost of living + business incentives, but overall I don't see Amazon settling down in North Carolina given the political controversy that's gone on regarding the Bathroom Bill.

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Sep 23, 2017
cjh1994:

Don't think these two cities have large enough airports. Raleigh definitely has the human capital (Duke and Research Triangle Park = qualified candidates) and favorable cost of living + business incentives, but overall I don't see Amazon settling down in North Carolina given the political controversy that's gone on regarding the Bathroom Bill.

The bigger issue is the airports, not the bathroom bill. PayPal went on their virtue signalling tirade about it a while back, yet they have major offices in Singapore where gay sex is a felony.

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Sep 20, 2017

Where in Atlanta is there room for 5 - 7 MM sq. ft. of new office development? I'm legitimately asking, I don't have a ton of experience in the Atlanta office market, and I can't imagine Amazon would want to set up their HQ2 in the suburbs.

I don't think Boston gets the nod. The only site that works with the amount of space they need is the old Boston Globe site and the adjacent parcels. Ownership there is a tangled mess. Not to mention CoL is very high and that was something Amazon was trying to get away from.

It's tough to find a major metro that checks all the items on Amazon's wishlist and has a site that will meet their space requirements.

I think http://www.lincolnyards.com/ is the best option they have. I'll admit to some home team bias.

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Sep 20, 2017
picklemonkey:

Where in Atlanta is there room for 5 - 7 MM sq. ft. of new office development? I'm legitimately asking, I don't have a ton of experience in the Atlanta office market, and I can't imagine Amazon would want to set up their HQ2 in the suburbs.

Here's an article that addresses that question

In my opinion though, west of Midtown or by the airport are the spots. Two relatively blighted areas, just on the cusp of revitalization. West of midtown is further along and would be cooler - by the airport would probably be cheaper.

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Sep 20, 2017

Piggy backing on this.. Atlanta is going through rapid expansion. Areas that were once "suburbs" 10 years ago like Sandy Springs and Dunwoody are now considered "Atlanta" despite the fact they are OTP. For purposes of keeping their employees happy and part of vibrant downtown scene, I could see West Midtown being a viable location, but the traffic is particularly awful in a town that already has awful congestion.

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Sep 20, 2017

I'd love to see Dewberry start building his "legacy" on the north side of Midtown. This would be a great time to shit or get off the pot for him. Checks all of the boxes for Amazon, and would really help fill out the urban core.

Atlanta is also within a two hour flight of 80% of the population, on both NS and CSX lines (one with direct access to the Port of Savannah, several major highways, literally on the other side of the country from Seattle, has the human capital, low cost of living (comparatively), and I've worked with several of the GA Dept. of Economic Development folks who are top notch. Don't see it going anywhere else in the SE.

Outside of Atlanta, my guesses would be Dallas, Boston, DC (likely NOVA somewhere like Carlyle). Only reason I say Dallas is that the Texas Enterprise Fund allow TX to offer monster incentives without legislative approval, allowing them to move much quicker that other states (like closing all cash on a deal with a shortened DD timeline) and this was a huge reason they were able to snag Toyota.

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Sep 20, 2017
Count_Chocula:

I'd love to see Dewberry start building his "legacy" on the north side of Midtown.

I met him for the first time last month. Absurd human being.

Sep 20, 2017

He's fucking kooky, fucking nerds man. I assume you saw the Bloomberg profile?

Sep 20, 2017

Yep. The entire office was reading it aloud.

"That's why Jesus died on the cross!" Dewberry says, tears sliding onto his cheeks, which are tanned from a recent bonefishing trip to the Bahamas. "That's why Martin Luther King Jr. died! That's why Abraham Lincoln died! For the truth!"

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Sep 20, 2017

I can't even imagine uttering that out loud... much less to a reporter. I'm sure his therapist is exceptionally well paid / totally bewildered. Doubt that he gives a shit; man could bitch slap any of us with his wallet :(

Sep 20, 2017

"The dragon creates all that," says Knowlton, referring to Dewberry's temperament and the material success it has produced. "You wonder, without the dragon, would he have accomplished everything he's accomplished?

Makes him sound like a Game of Thrones character

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Sep 20, 2017

I don't know him personally, but I have "heard" his leasing practices are atrocious. They will ridiculously jack up rents at lease expiration and let space vacant for a LONG time until they get the rent they want.

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Sep 20, 2017

Pretty much. He has a forever hold model with his own personal, internal capital so he can afford to let shit sit around. Dude thinks he is da Vinci; in reality he is a just a knock off. Pretty sure Campanielle sat vacant for years while he waited for $34/sf rents.

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Sep 22, 2017

I haven't been to Atlanta in maybe 10 years, but the last time I was there the traffic was mind-numbing beyond comprehension, and I'm from Washington, D.C.! Is that still the case?

Sep 22, 2017
Dances with Dachshunds:

I haven't been to Atlanta in maybe 10 years, but the last time I was there the traffic was mind-numbing beyond comprehension, and I'm from Washington, D.C.! Is that still the case?

The traffic sucks but most of the bitching comes from people who live way out in the burbs and have to commute to and from midtown every day. If I was driving from Milton to Buckhead I'd probably hang myself, but I live 10 minutes from work and 10 minutes from the golf course, so to me, traffic ain't shit.

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Sep 21, 2017

Atlanta makes logical sense, but part of me wants Amazon to throw us all off and choose Detroit.

Sep 23, 2017

I actually think Detroit has more potential for this than people think. There's been a quiet growth of tech talent there, and obviously the employment cost/cost of living there speaks for itself.

Sep 22, 2017

As a follow up to myself, my boss took the opposite approach. He says that Atlanta shouldn't roll out the red carpet for Amazon and give them billions in tax breaks or whatnot because the city doesn't need it. While the recognition and 50,000 jobs would certainly be a benefit anywhere, Atlanta isn't exactly hurting for business or population growth.

With that mindset, Chicago might become more likely. Chicago is hurting for population grown in particular and could justify the random fee more easily.

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Sep 22, 2017
CRE:

With that mindset, Chicago might become more likely. Chicago is hurting for population grown in particular and could justify the random fee more easily.

Chicago could definitely benefit from Amazon, but it literally does not have the money--Illinois and Chicago are teetering on bankruptcy.

With that said, I think it's foolish for these states and cities to roll out the red carpet for Amazon or any company. As I've mentioned before, if you have billions of dollars to give away, a broad-based tax cut would be more beneficial than giving money to one company to "create jobs."

Best Response
Sep 22, 2017

From Chicago.... There has been a huge push here to bring in out of state companies and highly paid workers. The massive redevelopment of the West Loop/Fulton Market has been a direct result of this initiative. Amazon fits perfectly into this plan. I would imagine city and state politicians are literally drooling at the idea of an additional 50,000 jobs over the next few years. That would go a long way towards improving (not fixing) our financial situation.

I also think Chicago is well positioned because a local developer already has a site assembled and zoned for exactly what Amazon needs. They can build 15 MM sq. ft. and Amazon will likely only need 7 MM - 8 MM sq. ft. of that. The site is located walking distance from the CTA L train, Metra train lines from the northern suburbs, and major bus routes. Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, Depaul, and Notre Dame provide a deep talent pool. The city and state will be willing to provide some incentives to secure Amazon as well.

At the end of the day we are still talking about Chicago and Illinois politicians so I'm sure they will drop the ball on this.

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Sep 22, 2017

Something is obviously not working with this "huge push" since Chicago has lost net population in each of the last 2 years with no abatement projected into the future.

Outside of WSO, nobody has pegged Chicago as a legitimate target for Amazon.

Sep 22, 2017

Yeah, I know what articles you are reading. Chicago has a huge land area. 90+% of the population exodus is from the outlying neighborhoods and the neighborhoods that are struggling with crime and economic blight. The population close to the public transit system (both north and south) and around the CBD has increased more than 10% over the past 5 years and well above the national average for the decade prior to that. The huge construction boom has been in response to that growth. I don't think too many people in Chicago are too upset about the changing demographics. It's really a tale of two cities. Chicago has seen a number of corporate relocation over the past 5 years so this "huge push" is having some success.

I guess it all depends on what news sources you follow......

Forbes

New York Times

Business Insider

CNBC

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Sep 22, 2017
picklemonkey:

Yeah, I know what articles you are reading. Chicago has a huge land area. 90+% of the population exodus is from the outlying neighborhoods and the neighborhoods that are struggling with crime and economic blight. The population close to the public transit system (both north and south) and around the CBD has increased more than 10% over the past 5 years and well above the national average for the decade prior to that. The huge construction boom has been in response to that growth. I don't think too many people in Chicago are too upset about the changing demographics. It's really a tale of two cities. Chicago has seen a number of corporate relocation over the past 5 years so this "huge push" is having some success.

I guess it all depends on what news sources you follow......

Forbes

New York Times

Business Insider

CNBC

Except the STATE of Illinois is bleeding people. You can't pass it off as people moving from one part of Chicago to the the other part of Chicago MSA. That's a complete copout.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/...
The harsh reality is that people are speaking with their feet, and the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago are getting the Heisman from actual residents.

Ugh, and it frustrates me when people post links that don't back up their arguments. The NY Times article eliminates Chicago at the very beginning of their analysis. The CNBC story is just standard propaganda from city advocates and not actually reliable information about Chicago's chances.

Sep 22, 2017

Yup, people are leaving the state, no argument there. ~38,000 on a base of 12.8 MM. If you look at the research that report is based on you'd see most of the people leaving are from rural Illinois. The article you linked even cites the fact that Chicago grew every year from 1990 - 2014 and only lost 6,000 people in 2015. It's not like there is some crazy rush for the exits.

Anyway... I don't think Chicago will get Amazon HQ 2, but I can objectively say it meets a large portion of the criteria Amazon said they were looking for.

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Sep 22, 2017
picklemonkey:

Yup, people are leaving the state, no argument there. ~38,000 on a base of 12.8 MM. If you look at the research that report is based on you'd see most of the people leaving are from rural Illinois. The article you linked even cites the fact that Chicago grew every year from 1990 - 2014 and only lost 6,000 people in 2015. It's not like there is some crazy rush for the exits.

Anyway... I don't think Chicago will get Amazon HQ 2, but I can objectively say it meets a large portion of the criteria Amazon said they were looking for.

No thriving city loses population. The city of Chicago is among the worst in the country in major metro areas. There is obviously a problem in the city.

Also:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-chicago-...
Chicago job growth is way below the national average, so obviously corporate relocations haven't been able to mask the otherwise sub-par economy of the city. You live in a bubble and are missing the fact that Chicago may (or may not) be a great city, but there are hundreds of other cities in America, too.

Sep 25, 2017

I'm sorry you have to result to ad hominem attacks so you can feel like you "won" a discussion on a message board. How would you have any idea if I live in a bubble?

I have readily agreed with your assertions that both the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois are losing people. I have also stated multiple times I don't think HQ2 will be Chicago. I have never said there are not hundreds of other cities in America..... At this point I don't even understand what you are trying to argue.

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Oct 21, 2017
picklemonkey:

I'm sorry you have to result to ad hominem attacks so you can feel like you "won" a discussion on a message board. How would you have any idea if I live in a bubble?

It's not a personal attack on your character to point out that a person asserting that Chicago has any reasonable chance of landing HQ2, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is exhibiting a bubble mentality.

Sep 22, 2017

But what you are describing it not unique to Chicago. Many cities are pushing for out of state companies to move in, and many have "Master Plans" including spec office plays, with developers and city reps ready to go at a moment's notice.

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Sep 22, 2017
TheWildMan:

But what you are describing it not unique to Chicago. Many cities are pushing for out of state companies to move in, and many have "Master Plans" including spec office plays, with developers and city reps ready to go at a moment's notice.

Exactly. The people pushing Chicago suffer from severe myopia or "bubble" mentality. Chicago is an ok city--great in some respects--but there's this crazy thing called competition, and the competition is simply better.

Oct 20, 2017

I definitely agree and think it's worth considering a humanitarian view; this is a stimulus package that affects our national economy on a magnitutude much like a federal gov't program would. We should consider "giving it" to a place that needs it most (Detroit)

I just read on a national (I think?) newsletter that NJ has offered ~$7 billion in tax credits for HQ2. I haven't researched specifics from other states (please correct me if I'm wrong) but I'm assuming since the article solely mentioned NJ's tax credits that ours must be some of the most substantial. As @CRE has noted, it'll be a welcomed stimulus to any economy but I don't think we should be bending over backwards when quite honestly our economy is fine without it.

Sep 20, 2017

Atlanta or Texas. Cheap/readily available labor pool with lower operating costs than Cali or NY.

Sep 21, 2017

Thoughts on Austin?

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Sep 23, 2017

No public transit at all; I think that's going to be a deal breaker

Sep 23, 2017
Fidel_Cashflow:

Thoughts on Austin?

I think public transit and a relatively small airport will hurt Austin.

Sep 21, 2017

I will lay money on Charlotte at 10:1

Sep 21, 2017

I'd take that bet in a cocaine heartbeat

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Sep 21, 2017

Same; they'd go to Raleigh way before they ever went to Charlotte.

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Sep 22, 2017

Man you people who aren't from the Carolinas are crazy, man.

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Sep 21, 2017

I'm going to sound crazy..but I think Pittsburgh has a chance

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Sep 21, 2017

Not crazy--I'm biased because I went to school there but I think it's a great choice.

Sep 21, 2017

Oh nice. Which school did you go to? Carnegie Mellon would be a good source for them to draw from

Sep 21, 2017

Agreed--it's definitely attracting other tech companies like Google and Uber, and I think the proximity to CMU and other universities is definitely part of it. I went to Pitt.

Sep 21, 2017

Do you think Pittsburgh has the infrastructure and talent pool to support that?

Sep 21, 2017

Yes and no. I think they have the talent pool. However, I think their infrastructure would not be able to support 50,000 employees right now. It would require an overhaul. But, I think that is true with any city, really. We're talking 10-15 years until this is online, so the city that gets the bid will immediately begin planning for the influx.

They're certainly going for it. Putting $500k into the bid.

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Sep 21, 2017

NYC got it

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Sep 22, 2017

No way
H2 will be in Austin or Atlanta

Sep 22, 2017

Im not willing to 100% agree with that, but I do think its 99% sure to be Atlanta or Texas. Not sure which Texas city I think will win though (Austin, Houston, Dallas)

Sep 22, 2017

Don't sleep on Nashvegas!

Sep 22, 2017

theyre trying to push sales tax increases to pay for light rail in Nashville.

Sep 22, 2017

I said this in the other, lengthier thread on this topic, but I don't see cost of living as a major factor for Amazon (with maybe NYC's incredibly high COL being the exception). When you start adding up the costs of real estate and labor for higher cost of living areas it's really just a rounding error in Amazon's pursuit of $1 trillion market cap. One brilliant engineer or a small handful of brilliant innovators could be the difference in tens of billions of dollars in company value, so my guess is that Amazon will disproportionately value the subjective, qualitative "attractiveness" of a city/metropolitan area (in other words, they will disproportionately value their ability to recruit the best and brightest to the Amazon HQ2 location).

With my assumptions in place, I'd have to think that the Boston MSA is a heavy favorite, with the Denver and D.C. MSAs in the top targets as well. I think the Austin MSA is just too small to absorb the sheer mass of humanity that Amazon is seeking. Chicago is an obvious favorite until you start looking at Chicago in detail--declining population, weak economy relative to competing cities, atrocious public finances, high violent crime rate, terrible weather.

So, my ranking of likely finalists:

1) Boston
2) Denver
3) D.C.
4) Dallas
5) Atlanta

From here, it will come down to who is willing to offer the most corporate welfare. I've got to be honest, I'm not sure having 50,000 Amazon employees flood your city is necessarily a good thing. I'm a Washingtonian and I'm kind of not thrilled at the idea of the huge amount of disruption in transit and real estate that 50,000 new people earning a median salary of $100,000 will bring.

Sep 23, 2017

I'd say Dallas is very likely. Amazon already has major distribution centers in DFW. Plus the big three Texas cities are booming, so it makes sense to go to where the growth is. Major airports also with direct flights pretty much anywhere, and friendly tax environment.

Sep 25, 2017

I think, functionally, Dallas would be the best option. The only drawback is that it is lacking in the "cool" factor. It's not a tech hub or a place you think about when you imagine trendy places to live, but most areas have decent schools and affordable cost of living with a ton of growth expected in the near future. It's a major city with a lot of amenities and cultural places of interest. The problem is that they are just more spread out than in the coastal cities. Access to museums, sports teams, and major educational institutions is really good. Dallas has SMU, UT-Dallas, UT-Arlington, TCU, and a few other local schools right in the metro area. Texas, Texas A&M, and Baylor are all within a 3-4 hour drive. Public transit is terrible, however, there are so many freeways and more lanes being built every day that you can almost always find a way around the traffic.

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Sep 22, 2017

Fingers crossed for Irvine, CA

https://www.ocbj[dot]com/news/2017/sep/11/irvine-co-making-serious-push-amazon-hq2/

Sep 22, 2017

L...O...L...

Sep 22, 2017

Not sure why Philadelphia isn't getting more love here - 5th largest population in the US (and plenty of talent, UPenn, Villanova, Haverford, Temple, etc.), plus lots of space in the south part of the city to develop a campus, and located halfway between DC and NYC at a fraction of the cost.

Philly has also recently started to capture some of the NYC / Brooklyn spillover. People used to move from the East Village to Bushwick when it got too gentrified, but now those people are moving to Fishtown in north Philly. I think it's a legit option.

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Sep 23, 2017

anybody who understands the RFP and Philly market will tell you Philly is a great fit and legit contender, though the dancing dog guy who dominates these threads had a bad summer there 10 years ago

Sep 23, 2017

Agree here - my top 5 in no particular order: Philly, Detroit, Denver, Atlanta, Pittsburgh. Don't think any of the west coast cities has a chance. They don't need to double down on the West Coast.

Sep 22, 2017

From what I had read so far.. The top 4 cities they are looking at and in discussion with
1. Toronto
2. Seattle
3. Boston
4. Philly

What ever city offers them the best deal package will win. From my understanding its tax cuts and things like that. They looked into transportation, labor force, and a few other things that was listed above and came up with the city list above.

Not looking into the numbers.. They already have HQ1 in seattle. I think they want to spread their range and go to east coast so i think boston or philly go it.

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Sep 22, 2017

I don't believe any Canadian city has a real chance of winning. What a political disaster that would be for Amazon, which is already under political pressure for potential anti-trust practices and costing countless retail jobs. Imagine the raging inferno that would envelop Amazon if it were to announce that Canada, rather than the U.S., would see 50,000 new jobs at the expense of [name the hyperbolic 7 figure number quoted] American retail jobs.

Sep 22, 2017

Seattle?

Sep 23, 2017

I just ask not to go to New York. 50,000 males with a CS degree but with a lack of taste and any interest in culture will ruin the last ungentrified parts of the city.

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Sep 28, 2017
ulm:

I just ask not to go to New York. 50,000 males with a CS degree but with a lack of taste and any interest in culture will ruin the last ungentrified parts of the city.

lmao true.

Sep 23, 2017

Boston.

MIT, Harvard, BU, BC, Northeastern... Arguably the intellectual capital of the the East Coast with a vibrant city growing like crazy and a strong labor force with a lower cost of living and less politics than NYC. Not to mention it is a port city within a day's drive to NYC, Philly and DC. Logan is a good airport as well.

The only issue is it is in a corner of the country (like Seattle) so from a logistics perspective somewhere like Charlotte might make more sense - but I don't think that will outweigh the benefits of Boston.

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Sep 23, 2017

Lots of talents from GT in Atlanta. AMZN recruits down there very well. I put money on ATL if the state rolls out the carpet.

Sep 23, 2017
JBUCHAN:

Alright folks, let's have everyone's best guess (or inside knowledge) of what city the new Amazon HQ2 will be located. I am going with Denver and Colorado Springs.

The culture is really great
Marijuana is legal
Plenty of other large corporations have their HQ there
The cost of living is much less expensive compared to other major cities
Somewhat centrally located in the US

Interested to hear what you speculate.

Colorado is submitting a unified bid at the state level. CO Springs is not part of it, but Denver/Boulder/Aurora are. I think one of the critical aspects to Denver's possible success is that there is a big political push to win this, and we're consistently ranked as the top destination for millennial college grads. The biggest challenge here is that unemployment in CO is at 2.4% so will most of the hires have to be brought in from elsewhere?

In addition to Denver, my top 5 would be Atlanta, Boston, Detroit and Pittsburgh.

Sep 23, 2017

If you realize the core of Amazon's business (one which ships pre-made items to your house), you'd understand there's nothing innovative about it. Yes, they have ancillary businesses (servers, cloud, etc etc), but it's a retail store at core. Never understood the hype.

There are far more innovative companies in medicine, space exploration, etc.

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Sep 23, 2017

Not really relevant though is it

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Oct 25, 2017

Amazon's core business is AWS. They are using that to subsidize everything else they are doing.

Sep 24, 2017

Detroit

Sep 24, 2017

I'd probably guess Boston. Yes cost of living is quite high, but it's a major East Coast city with quite a few draws. There's an excellent talent pool from the numerous Boston based universities and the city is the growing FinTech capital.

Sep 24, 2017

I wish they would put it in fair park in Dallas. Would help revitalize that area. Probably too far for from the airport though.

Sep 26, 2017

not too far from LUV though... time to start buying some land in fair park

Sep 25, 2017
  • Denver would likely win if it were located in the midwest or east coast, but I don't see them doubling down on the western U.S.
  • Remaining options, in order of likeliness: Atlanta, Detroit, Pitt, Philly, Boston
Sep 28, 2017

my inside source is telling me DC area

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Oct 16, 2017

My 2 cents - Amazon will be broken up at some point. Similar to the Rockefellers with Standard Oil, Bezos wants to control the process. There are two core business lines in my mind, online retail and web services, that will likely be separated. The web services division just took down a big chunk of space in northern Virgina for their east coast HQ. Northern Virginia is the data center capital of the world, if that is going to be the focus of the 2nd HQ, DC/NoVA is an easy and very likely choice. Additionally, if Bezos wants to have influence in DC it wouldn't be the worst thing to have a massive footprint in that market.

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Sep 28, 2017

I really hope not the DC area. The traffic has become exponentially worse since I moved up here a few years back. It is also one of the more expensive cost of living areas in the nation and doesn't have the best work life balance. WMATA is the worst mass transit I have ever seen too, constantly under construction and breaking. The only benefit of DC is it's access to universities and the MSA has the necessary population.

Oct 17, 2017
Praesto:

I really hope not the DC area. The traffic has become exponentially worse since I moved up here a few years back. It is also one of the more expensive cost of living areas in the nation and doesn't have the best work life balance. WMATA is the worst mass transit I have ever seen too, constantly under construction and breaking. The only benefit of DC is it's access to universities and the MSA has the necessary population.

It looks like the focus of Virginia's bid will be Herndon/Dulles (the District of Columbia and Maryland have less than 0.00% chance, for various reasons and Tysons Corner won't work for various reasons) due to the new Metro stations and available physical space. I'm sort of ambivalent about it--it would be cool for my hometown to win this bid, but it actually wouldn't really help me in any particular way (it would probably hurt me, on net). I guess I can see why the politicians want to win this deal, but let's look at this from our personal standpoint:

1) 50,000 employees earning an average of $100,000 = higher housing costs/less housing availability;

2) Worse traffic.

The average citizen should not desire Amazon HQ2, or at the very least will not directly or indirectly benefit from HQ2. To that point, I will be f*cking pissed if Virginia gives Amazon a bunch of tax incentives to come here.

Oct 14, 2017

Aren't Boston and DC two of the hotter housing markets in the US? I'd think they would try to get away from the Seattle/Silicon Valley-level real estate costs.

Oct 16, 2017
202dc:

Aren't Boston and DC two of the hotter housing markets in the US? I'd think they would try to get away from the Seattle/Silicon Valley-level real estate costs.

Depends on what you mean by "hot"

They are some of the most expensive markets in the US, but not the most active or fastest growing.

That said, they're expensive for a reason

Oct 14, 2017

It's all hearsay, but the most authoritative rumor I have heard is that they want NYC or Boston, and are holding this beauty pageant to essentially start a bidding war. Cities like Atlanta are likely to provide massive subsidies in their bids, and NY/Boston will most likely match and then win.

Oct 20, 2017

I may be biased, but I'm going to go with Baltimore - a combination of the Port Covington development, tax incentives, location (the Acela corridor), nearby fulfillment sites, proximity to airports, a working shipping port, liberal brownie points for urban revival, and Johns Hopkins and other universities

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-to-mak...

Oct 20, 2017
falconpunch19:

I may be biased, but I'm going to go with Baltimore - a combination of the Port Covington development, tax incentives, location (the Acela corridor), nearby fulfillment sites, proximity to airports, a working shipping port, liberal brownie points for urban revival, and Johns Hopkins and other universities

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-to-mak...

I'd be very surprised if they picked Baltimore. Virginia (DC) seems like a far superior place to do business if that area is their target, no?

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Oct 20, 2017

Except Baltimore is a shit city outside of a few nice neighborhoods. Recruiting top talent to Baltimore would be very tough compared to literally 100 other cities on the list.

Oct 20, 2017

Don't want to come across as condescending and you aren't the only person to mention fulfillment centers as a reason for picking a locale but what do fulfillment sites have to do with HQ2. Amazon literally has fulfillment sites in all the metro areas that fit their criteria. To me whether or not an Amazon warehouse(s) is located in said market could not be more irrelevant to the decision.

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Oct 20, 2017

Stonecrest, Georgia has got the HQ locked up. Renaming their city to Amazon, Georgia. If I'm Bezos that's a no brainer.

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Oct 21, 2017

Despite a couple setbacks towards the top, this has undoubtedly been one of the most interesting threads I've read on WSO in recent memory. Who knew people could come together and have a thoughtful discussion on the internet in 2017? Maybe we're not doomed after all...

Hard to look passed the benefit of a NYC / Boston HQ2 to be Amazon's east coast compliment. Those markets speak for them selves and have the cachet factor. That being said, Denver is logical. Connectivity, plenty of housing coming online in the DT core, strong economy, air traffic and a phenomenal business environment. But whatever, we're all partial to the markets we cover when it comes to this discussion...

Wish I knew someone with some inside info so we could buy everything in the winners city prior to announcement... (hint hint, wink wink [PM me I'll make it worth your while]).

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Oct 24, 2017

Sorry to rain on you Northeasterners' parade, but HQ2 is certainly coming to Dallas or Atlanta. Amazon is not going to put their HQ in the opposite corner of the United States, it is going to be put somewhere centrally located with other major corps. Alongside what @CRE said about ATL, Dallas hosts American Airlines and Southwest HQ in two of the best airports in the country. Also, Hillwood Development already has a transactional relationship with Amazon, the last 8 real estate transactions to be exact. Also, Amazon is looking for a downtown urban corridor like their Seattle HQ --- Hillwood presented a 40 acre plan in downtown Dallas. I believe Denver would have a chance due to the culture, but they don't have the education/schools necessary to fulfill positions. Also, nobody wants pot smoking hippies in their global F12 company. Lastly, I don't know why people from Boston think their nearby Ivy League schools fit the demographics of Amazon. SEC and Big 12 schools around Dallas certainly do though.

Read it and weep, yankees...

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Oct 26, 2017

I say zero chance it goes to any city in Texas. People seem to forget how loony Texas republicans are. It doesnt matter that Dallas is democratic as Bezzos is not about to choose an anti abortion, pro gun, anti immigrant, anti transgender mecca as a an HQ. Zero chance.

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Oct 26, 2017

That makes a ton of sense, never thought of it that way.

If misery loves company, what does success love?

Oct 24, 2017

Albany, New York E.g. Upstate New York

You think I can be the MVP without practicing? -Allen Iverson

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Oct 25, 2017

If I were Amazon - (1) Boston/NYC/DC in some order

What I think Amazon does - (1) Atlanta; (2) Denver; (3) Dallas

Oct 25, 2017

I think that this is fairly accurate. In terms of NYC/Boston/DC, I would think that NYC overall size and high cost of living there might be a bit of a deterrent that would make cities like Boston and DC that also meet Amazon's population, educational and transit requirements more viable options. I also think that one consideration that is being heavily overlooked in this discussion (both on here and in the news) is the added benefit in terms of lobbying that settling in DC would add, as the company continues to expand the realm of services that it provides. Some of the discussed sites in Boston are crazy (i.e the proposal to convert the largest train station in the city to office space purely for the purpose of HQ2). It also seems that the city is landlocked to an extent, which may not be as much the case with other cities. Boston doesn't have rent controls either, which makes me wonder what a population increase of this size/demographic would do to a market that is already approaching being overvalued. Does DC have space for a project of this size?

Do the universities near Atlanta and Dallas provide a talent pool adequate enough for what Amazon is looking for?

Oct 25, 2017

D.C. has it in its Virginia suburbs at the end of the Metro line. D.C. proper does not have the space.

I agree with you in terms of lobbying, which makes me just laugh out loud at the prospect of HQ2 going to Canada. Imagine the outcry from Americans if a job- and business-destroying mega-corporation (I don't necessarily believe that--just what people will say) took its jobs and investment out of country when it had literally hundreds of bids from the United States. Talk about destroying all of the goodwill Amazon currently has with Washington politicians.

As a Washingtonian, the more I read about HQ2 the less I want it, and I struggle to see why any local jurisdiction would want it other than an economically depressed area, such as Detroit.

Look at the disaster for current residents who rent that HQ2 will be (with questionable upside):

https://www.curbed.com/2017/10/19/16502988/amazon-...
It will actually result in a "tax" on every resident of at least several hundred dollars per year over the baseline non-HQ2. So if I'm a local (and I am), I'm left asking myself what the benefit is to my fellow citizens and me having 50,000 people make the real estate market even less affordable.

Oct 26, 2017

Has anyone considered that Amazon placed the RFP only to create leverage with the city of Seattle?

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Nov 5, 2018

LIC it is

Nov 5, 2018

As someone who grew up right next to Queensbridge, this shit is unreal. It's amazing how everyone avoided LIC pre-Giuliani to now this happening. Fucking nuts.

Nov 5, 2018

LIC and crystal city, nytimes basically said it's done deal

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Nov 6, 2018

Should be good for my JBG shares...

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Nov 6, 2018

Cuomo sounds like someone trying to win free tickets on a radio contest.

"I'll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that's what it takes," Governor Cuomo said. "Because it would be a great economic boost."

Amazon Plans to Split HQ2 in Two Locations

Nov 6, 2018

This furthers the narrative of dividing up the company so that when DC comes to Bezos to break up Amazon he can do it in a pretty simple way.

Nov 6, 2018

When Amazon first announced, I wrote down a list of my top 5 cities. My list was Washington D.C., Atlanta, Dallas, New York and Boston. Luckily, I had the foresight to bet against some co-workers at the time - looks like the bet will pay off. Fingers crossed.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

Nov 6, 2018

Wow, I don't think anyone saw this coming--two locations. I sure as heck didn't.

Not thrilled about it coming down the street from me, but with only half of it coming to Crystal City it shouldn't impact D.C. area real estate prices more than 0.25% above regular annual price increases, according to the Curb article I posted last year. Over 10 years, you're talking only 2-2.5% difference in prices with and without Amazon.

Long Island should also be able to absorb the people without too much issue.

Nov 7, 2018

Split HQ rumors have been circulating among my contacts in the DC real estate market for months......

Nov 7, 2018

Ok. Since I don't work in commercial real estate in the D.C. area (national multifamily) I wasn't privy to that insider information. No need to be an ass about it.

Nov 7, 2018

Long Island city is not Long Island at all, its a revitalized industrial part of Queens

Nov 7, 2018

Being born and raised as an east coaster I really wish we could have been more creative in naming our cities, I mean Long Island City? If it does go here can they rename this thing?

Nov 7, 2018
real_Skankhunt42:

Long Island should also be able to absorb the people without too much issue.

Long Island City is a small waterfront area right across from Midtown. It's not going to do well with the influx of G train riders who are screwed by the L shutdown (I live in Greenpoint and already seeing this on weekends), and HQ2 will decimate the neighborhood.

Nov 7, 2018
Edifice:
real_Skankhunt42:

Long Island should also be able to absorb the people without too much issue.

Long Island City is a small waterfront area right across from Midtown. It's not going to do well with the influx of G train riders who are screwed by the L shutdown (I live in Greenpoint and already seeing this on weekends), and HQ2 will decimate the neighborhood.

czesc bracie!

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Nov 7, 2018

Mieszkam w Greenpoincie, ale nie jestem polski!

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Feb 8, 2019

Facing opposition, Amazon reconsiders NY headquarters site, two officials say

:

Amazon.com is reconsidering its plan to bring 25,000 jobs to a new campus in New York City following a wave of opposition from local politicians, according to two people familiar with the company's thinking.

The company has not leased or purchased office space for the project, making it easy to withdraw its commitment. Unlike in Virginia -- where elected leaders quickly passed an incentive package for a separate headquarters facility -- final approval from New York state is not expected until 2020.
...

Key officials, including freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), whose district borders the proposed Amazon site, have rallied against the project. And opponents went door-to-door to warn people in Queens of looming rent hikes and displacement, much as Seattle experienced during the company's explosive growth there.

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Feb 8, 2019
Edifice:

Facing opposition, Amazon reconsiders NY headquarters site, two officials say

:

Amazon.com is reconsidering its plan to bring 25,000 jobs to a new campus in New York City following a wave of opposition from local politicians, according to two people familiar with the company's thinking.

The company has not leased or purchased office space for the project, making it easy to withdraw its commitment. Unlike in Virginia -- where elected leaders quickly passed an incentive package for a separate headquarters facility -- final approval from New York state is not expected until 2020.
...

Key officials, including freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), whose district borders the proposed Amazon site, have rallied against the project. And opponents went door-to-door to warn people in Queens of looming rent hikes and displacement, much as Seattle experienced during the company's explosive growth there.

Could not be happier. Gov Cuomo gave away way too much to Amazon to entice them into coming to NYC, and now we see another move meant to further empty the public coffers for no real benefit.

Besides, as a developer, it bothers me that all these hyper-aggressive LIC developers got their deus ex machina to save them from the double whammy of building a massive glut of massively overpriced housing in that neighborhood over the last half decade. Let the idiots lose their money, don't bail them out with 2.3b of taxpayer-funded corporate subsidy

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Feb 8, 2019

Please let them come to Dallas. We just need another reason for Houston and Austin to hate on us. We truly don't give a F*** if they do.

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Feb 9, 2019

We honestly don't even think of Houston or Austin.

My thoughts regarding Houston are oil and Hurricane Harvey, and my thoughts regarding Austin are somewhere lost between 6th Street and Rainey Street.

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Feb 8, 2019

I tend to agree, and yes the quality of housing built in LIC recently is atrocious.

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Feb 8, 2019
Edifice:

I tend to agree, and yes the quality of housing built in LIC recently is atrocious.

Any examples? Generally interested

Feb 9, 2019
CRE:

Any examples? Generally interested

I"ll PM you; generally not a big fan of shitting on other people's buildings. That being said, in general, a lot of merchant builders who don't care about the long term play jumped on LIC 4-7 years ago and just built as quickly and cheaply as possible. A lot of those buildings tend to fall apart real quick, but if the developer sells out a year after stabilization... not their problem, right?

I think a lot of folks saw what happened with Williamsburg's rezoning and thought; "here's another waterfront neighborhood with even better access to Midtown, this is a home run" and rushed to be the first through, and as a result, they wayyyy overbuilt and cut corners to be the first out the door.

Nov 7, 2018

I think a city (and its supporting state structure) should welcome Amazon HQ2 with open arms, but I don't think they should offer them any financial incentives. As I've said before, if you've got $x billion dollars to give away to Amazon then you would best serve your city/state/region by reducing regulatory barriers and implementing across-the-board tax cuts. That will create more and distributed economic benefit.

Feb 8, 2019
real_Skankhunt42:

I think a city (and its supporting state structure) should welcome Amazon HQ2 with open arms, but I don't think they should offer them any financial incentives. As I've said before, if you've got $x billion dollars to give away to Amazon then you would best serve your city/state/region by reducing regulatory barriers and implementing across-the-board tax cuts. That will create more and distributed economic benefit.

Just saw this as I responded to the latest; in NYCs case I agree, but its not hard to see a city like Cleveland offering a huge incentive package to lure a company that will essentially turn it from a down-on-its-heels, third rate city into one right below Chi/NYC/LA in terms of economic vibrancy. Ohio already ranks pretty well as a "good for business" state and what a lot of these dying rust belt cities need is a kick in the pants in the form of a massive injection of new industry. And Cleveland has the public infrastructure in place to support such a move.

Feb 8, 2019

The issue isn't the infrastructure or ability to fit Amazon's 25,000 employee's into the city (comfortably). Its the ability to find the talent required to meet their needs.

Dallas would be able to fit them as well and could possibly help supply the talent, but it would come at a cost of stealing from other businesses and convincing others to move to Dallas. Just like Cleveland would have to convince those people to move to their city in order to work for amazon. You'd have to factor in people not wanting to deal with winter/weather, state income taxes or traffic (like Dallas) etc. Of course you could convince to deal with that stuff but it comes in the form of having to pay more to lure them. Which creates upward prices on the surrounding MSA (rent increases, labor costs going up across the board).

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Feb 8, 2019
Rice and Fires:

The issue isn't the infrastructure or ability to fit Amazon's 25,000 employee's into the city (comfortably). Its the ability to find the talent required to meet their needs.

Dallas would be able to fit them as well and could possibly help supply the talent, but it would come at a cost of stealing from other businesses and convincing others to move to Dallas. Just like Cleveland would have to convince those people to move to their city in order to work for amazon. You'd have to factor in people not wanting to deal with winter/weather, state income taxes or traffic (like Dallas) etc. Of course you could convince to deal with that stuff but it comes in the form of having to pay more to lure them. Which creates upward prices on the surrounding MSA (rent increases, labor costs going up across the board).

Sure, but Cleveland in the past has been an attractive place to live, since it used to be one of the biggest cities in the country. It's not a crazy high tax burden (I think 19th in the country). And again, one of the reasons not to move Amazon HQ to, say Birmingham AL is that Cleveland still has the social and physical infrastructure of a first tier city, in terms of museums and things like that. And the cost of living is relatively low, though there are tons of ritzy suburbs. But putting jobs in the downtown would be a huge boon to the local economy (which is undergoing a small renaissance), even if the employees all live in the burbs. You'd see a lot of empty storefronts fill up to cater to new workers. You won't really see that in LIC.

There are really only a handful of cities in this country with the talent to meet Amazon's needs in place. Dallas isn't one of them. The four cities I listed above, maybe with Boston or Philly, are about it. By the very nature of how many jobs are coming, you'll need to draw some in from non-local sources. The question then becomes, what are places skilled workers will want to live in? I'm not saying Dallas would be bad. Just that Amazon has basically owned Seattle for a long time, and it doesn't make sense to me for them to go to NYC, where they are at best the third or fourth most important industry (finance, law, and real estate pretty dominant) or LA (where Hollywood would be king), or Dallas/Houston (oil/natural gas) and instead move to a large-ish but not booming city where they can effectively be a big fish in a medium sized pond and throw their weight around, instead of a medium fish in a huge pond in NYC.

Feb 8, 2019
Ozymandia:
real_Skankhunt42:

I think a city (and its supporting state structure) should welcome Amazon HQ2 with open arms, but I don't think they should offer them any financial incentives. As I've said before, if you've got $x billion dollars to give away to Amazon then you would best serve your city/state/region by reducing regulatory barriers and implementing across-the-board tax cuts. That will create more and distributed economic benefit.

Just saw this as I responded to the latest; in NYCs case I agree, but its not hard to see a city like Cleveland offering a huge incentive package to lure a company that will essentially turn it from a down-on-its-heels, third rate city into one right below Chi/NYC/LA in terms of economic vibrancy. Ohio already ranks pretty well as a "good for business" state and what a lot of these dying rust belt cities need is a kick in the pants in the form of a massive injection of new industry. And Cleveland has the public infrastructure in place to support such a move.

Yeah, I can see some exceptions to the rule, such as Cleveland. As a general rule, I wish gov'ts would agree to mutual disarmament because the benefits of these economic incentives generally do not live up to the hype. I'd much prefer that states and cities attract businesses organically through having a good business environment and solid infrastructure.

As a resident of Arlington, VA I was appalled at the $750 million incentive package given to Amazon to locate to Crystal City. A jobs program for a county with sub-3% unemployment, high median incomes, very high housing prices, overcrowded schools, and jammed roads is just a vanity project for politicians. There is almost no benefit to the current county residents except for the major company--JBG--that basically owns all of Crystal City. Tax payers--me--will be making the owners of Crystal City breathtakingly wealthy. My taxes will go up to pay for it.

Feb 9, 2019

Yep, in general I agree. States fight and spend to poach businesses, who basically laugh all the way into the bank while they pocket obscene tax breaks every ten years once they can legally threaten to move again. Or, as we see in Foxconn, they just slip through loopholes to deny many of the "benefits" they bring.

Nov 7, 2018

Large businesses asking for government tax benefits for being..... large businesses? I don't know which city they should choose but the tax incentive city befits argument seems super shady.

"The only thing I know is that I know nothing, and i am no quite sure that i know that." Socrates

Nov 7, 2018

So they want to go to Austin.

Nov 7, 2018

1) Dunno.

2) Here's the list I'd consider if I were Bezos, and likely in this order based on the criteria noted in the article:
Boston
Atlanta
Raleigh
Austin

New York and Washington are the notable exceptions to my list (and perhaps Philly, too). I feel New York is too large/too expensive to house everything Amazon would want. Washington is a bit of a wild card; lots of tech jobs, but they're all Gov't tech.

also assuming the West Coast is out to facilitate geographic diversity. But we know what assumptions can do...

Nov 7, 2018

I hear you on Austin/Raleigh. Low cost of living, low cost of land, high university output, geographically separate from existing West Coast HQ.

Nov 7, 2018
  1. Newark, NJ
    Proximity to NY, I-95 corridor, NY Airport, Most densely populated region of the country. Dirt cheap property and good public transport.
Nov 7, 2018

Probably won't choose Washington as they're opening their AWS East Coast HQ here

Nov 7, 2018

Yeah, that's in Herndon (I actually tried buying that building last month but seller wanted an obscene sum that could never be financed by a normal lender). It may preclude a 2nd HQ location.

I'm in Arlington and our local BIDs are looking at it. We meet all the criteria (within 45 minutes of international airport, more than 1 million people, etc.), but Arlington is also public transportation accessible and is a stone's throw from Washington, D.C. (i.e. nice for lobbying). Plus, we are overflowing with universities (Maryland, UVa, George Mason, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, etc.), and we have a ridiculous amount of tech-trained people and a healthy start-up scene.

I think if not for that Herndon location we'd be atop the list. Los Angeles is actively pursuing but I think that's a laughably bad location for Amazon HQ2. It only nominally meets Amazon's criteria.

Nov 7, 2018

I figure it will be in a city that is the polar opposite of Seattle, warm weather, cheap COL and enough real estate for housing/ headquarters.

I'd put my money on:

Austin
Atlanta
Raleigh
LA
Phoenix

in that order.

Nov 7, 2018
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