Cities Fight For Amazon’s HQ2 – Is North Carolina’s Triangle a Contender?

Amazon’s announcement that they intend to open and invest over $5 billion in a second headquarters in the United States has cities all over the country fighting for the opportunity. Is North Carolina's Triangle a viable contender?

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Amazon’s announcement that they intend to open and invest over $5 billion in a second headquarters in the United States has cities all over the country fighting for the opportunity.

Amazon reports that it intends its HQ2 to be a “full equal to Amazon’s current campus in Seattle, creating as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.” The enormous economic advantage is clear, especially as Amazon revealed the numbers behind its original HQ: “Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy – every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional $1.40 for the city’s economy overall.”

Last week, Maryland approved an $8.5 billion incentives package to offer Amazon, the largest one to date. Labeled the PRIME act, it offers credits, incentives, and grants with $2 billion in targeted infrastructure investment.

North Carolina, on the other hand, appeals to Amazon’s interest in mass transit, with over $2 million already allocated towards a mass transit package, including a light rail system and increased bus service.

Amazon site shoppers have already been deployed to several of the 20 site finalists chosen by Amazon: the Triangle in North Carolina as well as Dallas, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. These site shoppers have been particularly interested in education and potential workforce talent in the areas they scope out. The Baltimore Sun reports that Amazon “examines data provided by the cities—such as the ACT and SAT scores of local high-school students— and asks probing questions regarding how much talent Amazon can attract.”

Thanks to the Triangle’s situation amongst three major research universities, many are confident in its competitiveness in this regard. President of Wake Tech Community College is one of them, declaring as follows of the region: “We do very well in education. We have top-flight talent, a top education system, and we are able to attract talent.”

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