Possible Sites for Amazon HQ2 Narrowing Down

Business

Twenty North American cities are competing to land the next headquarters for online-retail giant Amazon.com. Reports are that the company has now narrowed the list down to a handful of cities.

The site that’s picked is expected to see an increase of about 50,000 high-paying jobs. Amazon is expected to spend nearly $5 billion on the campus, dubbed HQ2. The company is expected to start building the complex in 2019.

The new location is also expected to significantly alter the landscape of the site that’s chosen. HQ2 is expected to bring with it an explosion in housing prices. The company said that the average salary of a new employee at the site would be $100,000. The number of new employees would potentially mean billions of dollars in economic activity for the city and surrounding communities. Some of the finalists include New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Austin, Nashville, Raleigh, N.C., Dallas and Columbus, Ohio.

Some of the criteria the company says it’s using in its search are access to a major airport and well-developed infrastructure.

There is speculation that the Washington, D.C., area is where the site will ultimately land. Experts believe that possible sites being looked at include Northern Virginia and Montgomery, Maryland.

A real-estate fund called Third Avenue recently bought $10 million worth of shares in JBG Smith, a real-estate investment trust working on extensive redevelopment in Crystal City, a neighborhood in Northern Virginia.

“Washington, DC seems to rank near the top of the list,” the fund wrote. “Should it ultimately be selected for its second headquarters, JBG Smith is likely to be a big winner as its Crystal City and Pentagon City locations are natural candidates for Amazon to utilize as it initially relocates employees to the region.”

Quantarium, a research arm of Mr. Cooper, the largest non-bank mortgage servicer in the U.S. recently conducted a study on how property values would be affected in each of the top cities being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters.

The report found that homeowners in Newark, New Jersey and Raleigh, North Carolina would see the biggest gain in property values (33.5% and 27.5% respectively), should they be chosen. The study says that for those two cities the rate of increase would be even higher and faster than what Seattle, Washington, experienced after Amazon first opened there in the late 1990s.

Residents of Seattle have begun to resent the traffic, development and soaring housing prices that the company has caused the city, however. Seattleites accuse the city of perpetuating income inequality.

Amazon is expected to announce the site of HQ2 later this year.

Photo by SounderBruce via Flickr

Comments