Could Cleveland land Amazon's second headquarters?

Posted September 11, 2017

Amazon announced Thursday that it's looking for a location for its next headquarters, HQ2: a "full equal" to its Seattle headquarters. And tech companies have been known to set places in competition with each other: In vying to land Google's ultra-fast broadband network, many cities used stunts and gimmickry to get the company's attention.

Dayton has not been averse to using public incentives, such as those experts say Amazon would want, to lure economic expansion. Over the past two decades, as Amazon has exponentially expanded its ecommerce and distribution tentacles and raced to the top echelon of Fortune 500 giants, Seattle has morphed into its company town. Based on the company's wishlist of urban amenities it wants in its new headquarters, it sounds like Amazon is trying to avoid those same growing pains this time around. Mayor Frank Jackson is in the midst of trying to win reelection, with the mayoral primary on Tuesday.

But it might be a good thing for Amazon to scorn the "liberal", coastal cities, David Leonhardt argued in The New York Times' Opinion Today newsletter.

Dayton has announced it's going to bid. In the image of its founder, Jeff Bezos, Amazon is oriented toward the long-term like few other entities in business. It includes everything from how quickly Amazon employees could commute in the morning to the type of culture the company wants in the area.

Tory will have a challenger in Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who said the West Coast metropolis is a top contender for Amazon's next headquarters.

The state plans to "continue to aggressively court Amazon in hopes that it expands its footprint in Texas and establishes its new headquarters here", Gov. Greg Abbott spokesman John Wittman said. "The number of questions and encouragement in we have received from the community for competing in this significant economic development search is a reinforcement of our city's pride and support for the continued growth and diversification of our economy". Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has already publically said the city would be a ideal community, and the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce is showing enthusiasm as well for the idea. Greater Phoenix is an ideal location for the company's fulfillment centers because of its proximity to California ports and direct shipping routes to other Southwest states and Mexico. In fact, Amazon is looking for a city that has a population of more than 1 million with a "highly-educated" talent pool, especially in software development and tech. The region still has scar tissue from the surprise headquarters move of Boeing, the iconic Seattle corporation of the 20th century. "That's also why Chicago has led the nation in corporate relocations for the last four years". Until the a year ago or so, Amazon has been under-involved and seemingly unconcerned about local and state-level politics for a company of its size. "City staff are working with Toronto Global to make sure we put together an attractive bid for this opportunity".

Amazon opened bidding Thursday on its "HQ2".

And if that seems too cautious, consider how Seattle has come to feel about hosting the original Amazon HQ. It's not so much the jobs as becoming a focal point for growth.

Hopeful cities have a little more than a month to submit a proposal, and the company said it will make a final decision next year.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle.