The HQ2 sweepstakes are heating up as e-commerce giant Amazon has announced the 20-city shortlist for a second North American headquarters. The 20 metro areas, four of which are in the Midwest, were all that remain after whittling away at an initial 238 proposals sent in from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The four cities in the Midwest to make this list were Chicago, IL, Columbus, OH, Indianapolis, IN and Nashville, TN. The other finalist locales are:
Los Angeles, CA
Montgomery County, MD
New York, NY
Northern Virginia, VA
Speaking on the State of the Market panel at the 16th annual Chicago Real Estate Forecast conference, Drew Nieman, executive vice president at CBRE Chicago’s agency leasing group, brought up his experience working on two of Chicago’s 10 Amazon submittals. “What it did cause me and others around me to think about was…everything as a whole—not just our project or our site—and the benefits that Chicago has to someone like Amazon,” Nieman said.
Chicago’s geography, transportation infrastructure, talent pool and other factors, he argued, should be very attractive to Amazon. “It’s pretty cool to sit back and look at a higher level of how Chicago operates and how it works and the things that we’ve got in comparison to [other cities],” Nieman said. “I kind of like what we saw in the work we did to sell them on us.”
HQ2 will be a fully functional second headquarters for Amazon, not a satellite facility. The company has previously announced $5 billion in investment tied to the new office, with the promise of as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs within five years of opening. The company expects to make a final decision some time in 2018.
“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough—all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon Public Policy. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”