Amazon Released A List Of 20 Finalist Cities For Amazon HQ2 Today, Will Make Final Decision Somtime in 2018
The dream of Amazon spending $5 billion to build a second headquarters in St. Louis and bringing thousands of very well-paying jobs to the city was nice while it lasted.
Online shopping behemoth Amazon released a list of twenty cities today that the company considers finalists for its second headquarters. Among those cities are major cities like New York, Atlanta, Boston, Washington D.C., and Miami as well as cities once considered peers with St. Louis like Nashville and Indianapolis.
Kansas City was also absent from the list of finalists as was the joint Missouri proposal submitted by Governer Greitens that would have utilized the cross-state HyperLoop.
Amazon received more than 230 proposals from cities across North America when it announced several months ago that it was looking to build a second headquarters, dubbed “Amazon HQ2.” Back in October we outlined the three bids that came from Missouri, one each from St. Louis and Kansas City and another from Governor Greitens’ team that proposed Amazon facilities in both cities with a HyperLoop transit system connecting the two.
The St. Louis Proposal
The Amazon HQ2 proposal submitted by St. Louis proposed a “river campus” with facilities on both the Missouri and Illinois sides of the Mississippi River, connect by a sky tram system.
The St. Louis proposal also included a 215,000 square-foot building at Lambert International Airport, the Amazon Conference and Welcome Center. The “world-class” center would also include a 200-room hotel and be adjacent to the company’s own hub at the airport.
Also included were possible alternate sites stretching from O’Fallon on the Illinois side to Wentzville on the Missouri side.
The proposal touted the region’s low cost of living, colleges like Washington University and Saint Louis University, the MetroLink transit system and attractions like the Saint Louis Zoo.
Like almost every other city that submitted a proposal to Amazon, St. Louis included incentives. The city proposed an incentive package totaling $3.82 billion and broken down to $2.429 billion in incentives from the state of Missouri, $1.331 billion from the city of St. Louis and $56.5 million from St. Louis county.
An emphasis in the proposal was on the company’s opportunity to really change the perception of St Louis by picking the city. Many thought that path may have been the city’s best opportunity at winning Amazon over. Alas, Amazon won’t be investing $5 billion in St. Louis and creating 50,000 high-paying jobs.
Who Will Jeff Bezos Pick For HQ2?
With this week’s release of the 20-city list, hot takes and think pieces are a dime a dozen around the internet.
But where will Bezos build and what will it look like?
Irish betting site Paddy Power is currently taking bets on the Amazon HQ2 race. The site gives Boston the best odds at 3/1 with Austin and Atlanta tied right behind at 7/2. 8 of the 20 finalist cities, including Columbus, Nashville, Indianapolis and Los Angeles are tied for the longest odds at 20/1.
Could It Be Boston?
Many people, like this Forbes contributor, are saying Boston will win the race largely due to the wealth of talented graduates produced by the likes of MIT, Harvard and others. The city is proposing a headquarters built on the former site of the Suffolk Downs horse racing track, which hosted its last race in 2014.
One of the most notable things about the Boston proposal is that it didn’t include any incentives for the project. However, city leaders have said they are willing to offer incentives if they are selected and see more of Amazon’s building plans.
Could It Be Indianapolis?
A Ball State economics professor that the IndyStar talked to about Indianapolis’ chances with Amazon gave the city odds of 6/1 to win. He said that city’s cultural institutions and cost of living, both things St. Louis touted in its bid, would give it an edge.
He also said that Indiana’s history of being a friendly environment for businesses would help the city, but the weather could hurt the bid.
Not much is known about the bid that the city sent to Amazon, including any incentives. Indiana officials have said they would be aggresive and creative with any incentives offered, but stressed they would be “fiscally prudent.”
Could It Be Nashville?
Not much is known about Nashville’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce submitted the bid for the region, but has not released any details. Media outlets were able to get their hands on some documents, like the script for a promotional video that Nashville Mayor Megan Barry filmed to be included in the bid.
Speculation says that the bid proposed several different sites within the Nashville footprint. One of those sites would be in downtown Nashville and feature a $40 million double-decker pedestrian bridge and a streetcar system.
Mayor Barry is pushing a $5.2 billion transit plan for Nashville that could go to a public vote this May. The cornerstone of Barry’s plan is a 1.8-mile tunnel under the city that would cost an estimated $936 million. Well it’s estimated to cost that. If it’s like the “Big Dig” tunnel in Boston, it may cost closer to $3 billion.
Could Amazon Choose Chicago?
A s a Chicago Tribune reporter puts it, Chicago will win this competition because the other options are “hot garbage.”
The hopefully tongue-in-cheek column, penned by Rex Huppke ,claims that the online king will clearly pick Chicago because the city will rename Millennium Park to Amazon Park and its location means that North Korea probably won’t be able to hit it with a missile.
Unlike most of the other finalists, parts of the Chicago bid are out there for people to see. It’s rumored that the bid offered incentives in the $2 billion range as well as infrastructure contributions. The bid offered ten different sites around the city that could be appealing to Jeff Bezos and company. Some used existing buildings while others offered more of an opportunity for the company to build it’s own mini-city.
Chicago’s vast transit network could be the most attractive thing about the city’s bid in the eyes of Amazon.
Will The Winning City Really “Win?”
Amazon has stated that it will make its final decision on the location of its second headquarters sometime in 2018.
As Beth Skwarecki writes for LifeHacker,
“just be careful what you wish for.”
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