By D.C. Stribling, Contributing Editor
Since Amazon announced that it would establish a second headquarters (known as HQ2), cities nationwide have joined the site selection scrum. Metro New York best fits Amazon’s public criteria for the selection prize, according to Anderson Economic Group, in its recently published AEG HQ2 Index.
Winning the site selection is certainly a prize. HQ2 could be the future site for up to 50,000 workers with salaries averaging more than $100,000 per year. It’s unusual that a single company’s impact on a city could transform the local economy and improve growth prospects in the way that HQ2 could.
According to AEG, empirical research and expert observation of corporate headquarters site selection suggest that, in rough order of importance, the most important factors in Amazon’s decision include: talent pool; infrastructure (access to transportation options and global connectivity); location (proximity to customers, suppliers and production facilities); local cost of doing business; and incentives.
Moreover, in Amazon’s RFP, the retail giant emphaszied it’s looking for a metro area with more than 1 million people; a stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure; the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent; a highly educated labor pool and a strong university system; proximity to an international airport, major highways and mass transit; and incentives and a high quality of life.
AEG crunched the numbers of the 35 cities in the United States that meet specific requirements from the RFP, and after New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta were next. Perhaps the only surprise in the top 10 is Salt Lake City, coming in at No. 9 because of its high marks for ease of transportation. At the bottom of the AEG list—beginning at 31st—are Orlando, Detroit, Sacramento, Kansas City and San Jose.