Home is Where Amazon’s Heart Is: Is the Lone Star State the One?


Amazon. The company making big headlines last August when it officially acquired Whole Foods and made many customers question, what isn’t influenced by this all-encompassing tech and commerce business? Ranging from the invention of the Echo and Alexa to selling groceries in a cashier-less brick and mortar store coined Amazon Go, the future of our everyday experiences may sit in the hands of this company. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington with over 40,000 employees, Amazon is the largest employer in the city providing its economy with immeasurable value and its environment with multiple treasured amenities. So, what’s the next step for this booming business? Growth has brought CEO Jeff Bezos and the team to search for a second headquarters location amongst some of the most alluring spots in the US.

To start the search, Amazon created a list of criteria which potential cities must meet to be considered for HQ2. These requirements outlined a region with more than one million residents, proximity to an airport, manageable commutes, diverse demographics, connectivity and local schools producing quality potential employees. The team then asked applicants to create proposals that detailed why their location would be the best fit for Amazon and what they had to offer the company. The incentive for applicants? A promise to invest 5 billion dollars in development and the creation of up to 50,000 jobs in the city of choice.

Needless to say, destinations from all over the US, Mexico, and Canada quickly scrambled to create plans for the construction of Amazon’s HQ2 and the growth it would bring while highlighting the opportunities their communities could provide for the massive employer. Over 200 locations submitted original proposals in collaboration with economic development companies and government officials. In September of 2017, after considering all of their possible new homes, Amazon revealed a list of their top 20 considerations for the new headquarters.

Below is the list of lucky spots that still have a chance at an amazing partnership with Amazon.
• Atlanta, GA
• Austin, TX
• Boston, MA
• Chicago, IL
• Columbus, OH
• Dallas, TX
• Denver, CO
• Indianapolis
• Los Angeles, CA
• Miami, FL
• Montgomery County, MD
• Nashville, TN
• Newark, NJ
• New York, NY
• Northern Virginia
• Philadelphia, PA
• Pittsburgh, PA
• Raleigh, NC
• Toronto, BC
• Washington DC

Now that Bezos has announced the first cut, the public is in speculation mode about where the final destination will be. Although Amazon has been pretty hush hush about their search and further criteria, many have picked up on a few possible clues about their finalists. Some have agreed that the odds have fluctuated in favor of spots including Atlanta, Austin, and Boston. Most importantly, there may have been a big hint dropped on Super Bowl Sunday when Amazon’s commercial opened up with an Alexa device giving a tooth-brushing woman a report on the weather in Austin. As Texas Monthly put it, “It’s a big ol’ clue, as far as we’re concerned.”

The next step in the search is for emissaries from Amazon to visit the final locations in person and evaluate the space and opportunity they could provide the company. Governor Greg Abbott cited the state’s business-friendly climate as reason for two of Texas’ largest cities to rank “among the most sought-after locations for companies looking to grow and thrive.” With such a large company and so much growth, the biggest impacts of a deal like this could be on transportation and education. Not only will employees be moving to HQ2’s new home, but their families as well. Since Amazon could bring in about 3,300 employees a year as it prepares for a second headquarters, there must be a plan for each community to provide adequate resources and amenities for the population as a whole. Estimates say that if Austin were to be chosen, Austin ISD and surrounding areas would have to hire around 2,000 new teachers to maintain the current student-teacher ratio.

Although the search remains inconclusive, many Austinites are hopeful that Amazon will find appeal in the opportunity, culture and established tech environment of this beautiful city. Undoubtedly, this deal would create immense growth for the economy of Austin. Some may say that increased traffic and infrastructure changes could outweigh the benefits of HQ2. We want to hear your thoughts about a partnership between Amazon and Austin. In the meantime, we will just have to wait and see what Bezos and the team decide in their next step to take on their future endeavors.

For more insights, check out this Owner’s Magazine article on why Amazon HQ2 should choose Austin.