6 US Cities Amazon Should Consider for its Second HQ
Amazon has gotten too big for Seattle. Now it’s looking to build a second headquarters somewhere in North America, and it’s taking suggestions.
This morning, Amazon started soliciting offers from metropolitan areas to host a new campus for up to 50,000 employees. This “HQ2” would become a co-equal headquarters to Amazon’s giant Seattle setup, the company says. The headquarters must be no more than 30 miles from a major population center and no more than 45 minutes from an international airport.
The prize here will be big, with tens of thousands of jobs and over $5 billion in investment. Expect cities and states to start falling all over each other with tax incentives and land deals. Bids are due by Oct. 19, and Amazon will make its decision next year.
Amazon has demands. Here’s what it wants:
- Metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people
- A stable and business-friendly environment
- Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
- Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options
I think Amazon probably wants to get away from the West Coast, which would count out options like San Diego, Boise, Phoenix, and Denver. The expensive, crowded main metro areas of the Northeast Corridor also seem to me to be unlikely winners, because Amazon can get much more for its money elsewhere.
These are my top six suggestions, in order, of where Amazon might land in the US:
1. Kansas City
Possibly the nation’s most underrated tech hub, Kansas City was one of the first Google Fiber markets and is home to Sprint. The city has terrific internet connectivity, it has been nurturing tech startups in the Crossroads neighborhood, land is affordable, the airport has nonstop flights to all the right places, and the local government has a very pro-tech stance. Kansas City’s primary downside is its lack of international flights. “Kansas City International Airport” holds its title because of flights to Toronto and Cancun, which isn’t the globe-spanning range Amazon wants.
2. Dallas-Fort Worth
The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the fourth-largest metro area in the US, with more than 6 million people. It has its own tech titan in Samsung, and it’s just down the road from Austin, a vibrant tech hub. It’s centrally located and has one of the nation’s major airports.
The Fort Worth side of the Metroplex is going through some major changes right now, with the city redeveloping downtown with a riverwalk, lakes, canals, and apartment buildings—turning the former city of stockyards into a real urban center. There’s a major new entertainment district planned for 2024, and frequent commuter rail connects the city to central Dallas.
Dallas is a bit more expensive, and a bit further along in terms of development. It’s positively buzzing as an urban hub, with world-class dining and nightlife, a growing public transit system, and a diverse population. That would be an easy move for Amazon.