Executives at Amazon, have visited some of the bigger names on the list of 20 finalists in recent months. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon dropped in on New York City, Miami, Chicago, and Newark, while possibly avoiding smaller cities or more suburban areas like Raleigh, North Carolina, and Montgomery County, Maryland.
Amazon appears to have decided that a city is necessary for luring the best employees.
Nathan Jensen, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin says that Amazon wants to build a second HQ that is an attractive place to live and work for young professionals. Which is why they are looking for big cities.
Cities like Miami and Montgomery County are the finalists for the new HQ2. While Miami is a cosmopolitan city that draws business and tourists from around the world, Montgomery County, located outside of Washington D.C. is less well known than Miami.
Absorbing up to 50,000 new workers would be a major undertaking for the smaller cities, notes Jensen. And many of those being high-wage positions, it could recreate some of the issues with soaring housing costs, income inequality, and gentrification saw in regions with tech companies as well as Amazon’s home base, Seattle. Jensen added that unlike an unplanned expansion of the workforce, cities do have the ability to plan for this.
The company has had a lot of suspense around the decision. It has cities lined up with glossy proposals and tax cuts and Amazon watchers are eagerly looking for clues, and odds-makers are making bets. The new facility is expected to create 50,000 jobs and cost $5 billion to build. The company circled down to 2 finalists after they received 238 proposals. Amazon will come up with a decision about the winning city by end of the year.