Amazon narrows down search for HQ2 to 20-city shortlist
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Amazon narrows down search for HQ2 to 20-city shortlist

If you’re the mayor of a major American city, then the end of 2017 brought you something new to fantasise about: the possibility that Ecommerce titan Amazon would set up camp, making its “second headquarters” in your jurisdiction. While the idea that a company setting up its second major location is not one which would normally cause palpitations among senior civil servants, Amazon is a little different.

The company has transformed the economy in its hometown of Seattle, adding 40,000 jobs and $30 billion (plus an additional $55 billion in “spinoff benefits”). Those are the kind of figures that no city official can ignore. But, if you’re one of the 238 cities that Amazon has just wiped off its list of potential new homes, tough luck.

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Amazon’s remaining shortlist of 20 cities includes some of the locations you would expect – New York, Boston, Chicago, etc. In a statement released Thursday, the company said it would come to a decision this year as to which city it would bless with the more-than $5 billion project. Incredibly, the lucky city will see even more “high paying” jobs added to its local economy than Seattle has (50,000 for the second headquarters, as opposed to 40,000 in Seattle).

You have to feel a little sorry for the 238 rejected applicants. Many of these cities commissioned reality-TV-like stunts to try to woo their potential corporate suitor. Stonecrest, Georgia, voted to let Amazon form its own, eponymous, city; Birmingham, Alabama, erected a giant, Amazon-branded, shipping box outside a local food hall. Still, their opportunities aren’t entirely gone.

While Amazon may have ruled these cities out from its quest to discover a “second headquarters”, the company has also vowed to add 20,000 employees at “a second corporate campus” somewhere in the U.S. It also plans “about $30 billion” in capital expenditures over the next five years. Lets hope Birmingham hasn’t taken down its display just yet, then.

Describing the process, Amazon’s Public Policy spokesperson, Holly Sullivan, told the press: “Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity. Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.

Disclosure

Dominion holds Amazon in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

 


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