Amazon's new headquarters: finding the best fit, and the best deal

The following has not yet been verified. Please improve it by logging in and editing it. If you believe that is not sufficient to solve the problem, please discuss it with the community on the Talk Page. If you think that this article should be removed, please contact [email protected]

This is an developing story that needs contributions and expansion. EDIT to add information or discuss in TALK. 

There were 238 North American cities that requested to be home to the next Amazon headquarters, accompanying the online-shipping giant’s original Seattle location. The list of suitors narrowed to 20 metros on Wednesday. They were:

Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus OH, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County, Md., Nashville, Newark, New York City, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, N.C., Toronto, Washington, D.C.

Amazon said that the location of the new HQ must have at least 1 million people, have access to good education and mass transit — in short, is it livable for the modern corporate executive.

But what Amazon is really looking for, is a good deal. In their call out for pitches, the corporate office said that they were looking for the “best real estate,” “a stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure,” and most importantly “incentive programs.”

The bidding war over Amazon’s next headquarters largely boils down to economic incentives, and which local government is willing to make the most generous offer. Political leaders must determine the tax breaks and treasury money they can afford to give, in order to bring high paying jobs and economic activity to their constituents.

Whether an economic incentive package is a corporate giveaway or a coup for taxpayers is difficult to predict. There are many factors in a large corporation’s interactions with a city, and then gradations within each category.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Amazon says that the new headquarters could employ as many as 50,000 people. But no timeline was given as to when this number might be reached, only that it will take “multiple years.”

Investment. Amazon says it will invest $5 billion to build the new campus. It is likely that the concentration of business executives will attract other construction projects as well. Part of the lure of having new corporate headquarters are the other businesses that sprout up around it.

Housing. While high-paying jobs bring a glut of benefits, it also puts pressure on the housing market. In cities where many people rent, this can put a strain on middle-class and working class families.

Amazon’s home site of Seattle is the most expensive real estate market in the USA, according to a study from PwC Research. The shipping company’s presence is a major reason for this . 

Contribute to this section using EDIT STORY. Use the format below to add your suggestions to each city.

What these cities have to offer

  • Atlanta
    • Location: Atlanta Hartfield-Jackson airport is the busiest in the world, according to Airports Council International, giving Amazon employees access to an international hub that served 104 million passengers in 2016.
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Columbus, Ohio
    • Incentive:  Full property-tax abatement for 15-years. This means that Amazon would not have to pay any additional property taxes for new construction or renovation projects. The Columbus Dispatch says this would save Amazon $456,750 per $1 million of investment in property costs for the 15-year period.
    • Incentive: 35 percent income-tax refund on withholdings for new full-time employees for 15-years. For every worker hired, Amazon can get a refund of 35 percent of taxes spent on pensions and other saving accounts. That would be up to $50 million annually. (Columbus Dispatch).
    • Construction: 60 percent of city income-tax from Amazon employees will go towards supporting the development and transit. (Columbus Dispatch).
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Indianapolis
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Montgomery County, Md.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Newark, N.J.
    • Incentives: The state of New Jersey offered $7 billion in tax credits, the second largest economic incentive package in U.S. history. (NJ.com). The proposal was made in October 2017 along with the initial 238 offerings.
      • The proposal comes through the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program, which gives tax breaks to businesses that move to the most economically depressed areas of the state. Since Newark is not one of the most depressed areas of NJ, the legislature will have to amend the program in order to give the incentive package to Amazon.
    • Location: Newark is a 19 minute train ride to New York City, giving Amazon potential access to the U.S. financial hub without paying for real estate costs of Manhattan.
    • Presence: Audible, an Amazon company, has headquarters located in Newark.  This gives Amazon a large foot in the door already.
  • New York City
  • Northern Virginia
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh, N.C.
    • Business ClimateCNBC ranked Raleigh as the most suitable destination for Amazon’s HQ2 mainly because of North Carolina’s state tax and regulatory environment.
  • Toronto
  • Washington, D.C.

This is an developing story that needs contributions and expansion. EDIT to add information or discuss in TALK. 

Image information

  • TODO tags

      Is there a problem with this article? [Join] today to let people know and help build the news.
      • Share
        Share

      Subscribe to our newsletter

      Be the first to collaborate on our developing articles

      WikiTribune Open menu Close Search Like Back Next Open menu Close menu Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Connect with us on Discord Email us