Jan 18 2018
10:09 am

Amazon has narrowed the candidate cities for their second headquarters from 238 proposals to 20. Nashville made the cut. Other locations in the South are Atlanta, Raleigh, Miami, Dallas and Austin.

Cities are competing for a $5 billion investment and up to 50,000 jobs. In addition, "construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community."

Amazon announces 20 HQ2 candidate locations

Metulj From the Lurkzone's picture

Only 6 of those cities meet

Only 6 of those cities meet all of the criteria and three of them are within ~50 (NoVa, DC, and Montgomery County) miles of each other, so I suspect that Amazon is going to turn a blind eye to some of the criteria to keep the places most likely to sell out taxpayers on the even shorter list. In RE Boston: I don't know where in the hell they would put it as there is so little I suspect "Boston" is loosely defined and includes lovely places like "Worcester," "Fall River," "Chelsea," and "Lowell." Pretty advantageous corporate tax structure in Massachusetts too.The Newark, NJ one is hilarious. No way Amazon is going to deal with the corruption in Newark or NJ for that matter. I wouldn't be surprised if Nashville makes it down to the final stages, but schools, dude, schools. My money is on Denver. It's got a wildly underused airport and a damn good quality of life.

R. Neal's picture

I suspect that Amazon is

I suspect that Amazon is going to turn a blind eye to some of the criteria to keep the places most likely to sell out taxpayers on the even shorter list.

I suspect you are right.

Here's a pretty good article that sums up my thinking on incentives...


Woodchuck's picture

It's a D.C. suburb slam dunk, Bezos lives in D.C. owns The Post

The public transportation network is there allowing the troops to live out in the suburbs or inside the beltway depending on their education preferences and then hit Metro to wander on out to Amazon Ranch. Everything Amazon would do in Denver they can already do in Seattle, but to truly span the continent they'll come to the Eastern Time Zone. If access is a concern, they can chose from the three D.C. airports to move people in and out, but none of the land in any direction will be cheap.

Nashville will make a good run, but the lack of infrastructure is already hard on the businesses relocating to/already thriving in Nashville. As unpopular as the public schools are in Nashville, there is a parallel private/parochial school system that is quite popular, contributing in part to the successful migration of people, business, and other's economies to the Mid-State.

Atlanta would be sleeper if they can wedge Amazon into the northern part of the metropolitan area between 75 and 85 within the existing or slightly extended Marta lines, as Marta isn't going to Gwinnet County and shouldn't be expected to hit Cobb County anytime soon.

Hated to seen Knoxville didn't make the final cut, but I think Manhattan's has been reopened in the Old City for the umpteenth time and saw where the SuperChamber was well represented at some nail salon opening up in Turkey Creek and the Zaxby's opening at East Town.

R. Neal's picture

Don't forget the hot dog

Don't forget the hot dog stand in the back closet of the gas station on Chapman Hwy. posing as an heir to the once relevant but now abandoned Smoky Mountain Market next door.

Metulj From the Lurkzone's picture

1. DC Public transportation

1. DC Public transportation is shambolic. When we drive south to TN and VA we take 84 to 81 and pray that the 66/81 interchange isn't a snarl and its over 75 miles from hell that is the Beltway. The Metro is terrible. The airports include Dulles, which, hands down, is the worst major hub in America; National which is lovely in many ways, but not much more than a regional airport and its smack downtown, and BWI, a lonely outpost nowhere close to DC itself.

2. The RFP from Amazon specifically spec'd quality PUBLIC schools. 50K people works out to about 20K more students and, even in voucher segregationland, no private school system can absorb that.

3. Knoxville would never have been considered beyond the first round. Too small, but lots of space. Lots of upside to Knoxville, but zero public transportation, mediocre public schools, and a nice, but provincial airport (that is so wickedly expensive to fly into that Nashville and renting a car comes out cheaper). Quality of life in terms of things to do has grown so much there though. When I saw Discovery bought the Scripps portfolio, my heart dropped, but when they made the decision to put the whole kit-n-kaboodle in Knoxville it made my heart not drop. So, it can handle major players, but not something as major as Amazon.

(Anonymous)'s picture

East Towne-Amazon, etc.

You are right. It does seem that Knox appears to be trying to recreate the past in certain areas. Maybe it is time to think differently. The East Towne area can be primed for a radical change if the owners and surrounding neighborhood will let it. Think of an urban village in a suburban context. A walkable (I know, even I think the term, maybe overplayed), neighborhood, with apartments or a a few major employers located in or around the mall with retail still playing a primary focus as this area is an important part of the north/east Knoxville area.

I do think that the area needs to recruit different retail players as there may be too many of the same brands in the area. Maybe not the major retailers but maybe their other brands, think Macy's Outlet, Nordstorm Express, H&M, etc.

Re: Amazon: Knoxville would have been considered too small but this is a good exercise for the city/county to examine their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps a better transport link to the airport should be considered. The airport is Knoxville property and a Kat bus servicing downtown, (hotels), U.T. and the U.T. Medical center with a potential stop/link with Blount county south of airport might attract additional consideration from employers.

It also might be interesting to create a super-incubator in the downtown area. I know that region has historically focused on the "Technology" Corridor for such incubation but that area has grown incrementally over the past 30 years and it might be time for U.T./Pellissippi and the city and/or county to funnel resources for a larger incubator the downtown area.

R. Neal's picture

There was an incubator

There was an incubator downtown a while back with the main feature being high-speed internet if I recall correctly. When high-speed internet became ubiquitous (everywhere except downtown) it became sort of irrelevant and didn't refocus or adapt. There may have been other factors, my memory is fuzzy.

Woodchuck's picture

Business incubators need business capital/financiers

Memphis had Morgan Keegan, Inc. which provided initial support to Federal Express, Inc.

Nashville had J.C. Bradford which provided the initial support for Hospital Corporation of America, Inc.

Chattanooga had Jack Lupton who basically provided the money and the blue print for the remodeling of the city and the economy of Chattanooga.

Atlanta had Robinson Humphrey Company which provided the financial footing for most large businesses which started in Atlanta prior to their 1996 Olympics and before it was purchased by SunTrust.

Knoxville doesn't have that necessary investment bank resource and the big businesses being sold in Knoxville these days, except for Pilot, are already owned by other big businesses such that there won't be a pile of local cash to set aside to invest/reinvest in local start up businesses.

FutureGrowth's picture

Re: Incubator (Lack of Funding)

That was a good list. I had forgotten some of that or did not know about the others. I tossed U.T. into my prior post because I knew they are still trying to grow their Cherokee Farm, have an small incubator at the Vet. school and have been trying to establish an in-house incubator at the Haslam College of Business.

I had hoped that they might have been able to consolidate these efforts into a more concentrated push, closer to campus. I had read that they want to redo the riversde Neyland for a cost of $350 million and that worries me. That is an endowment for many colleges. I would hope that if they do proceed with such plans that they will expand it, beyond Neyland to include Thompson-Boling (exterior) and perhaps begin putting underground garages on campus. It will soon be hard to see Neyland if they keep surrounding it with garages.

Just a few thoughts and I do appreciate your commentary as it seems very informed.

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