How Does Atlanta Stack Up In Quest For Amazon HQ? | WABE 90.1 FM

How Does Atlanta Stack Up In Quest For Amazon HQ?

Sep 15, 2017

As Atlanta joins dozens of cities in the frenzy to land Amazon’s North American headquarters, clear advantages include its relative affordability, its strong logistics hub, and growing number of walkable, transit-oriented development sites.

First, if Amazon is leaning toward an East Coast location, as many believe it is, this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle reports Atlanta has an edge in housing costs over early favorites such as New York and Boston.  Lower cost-of-living expenses appeal to the young, talented workers Amazon wants to hire.

Here’s how Atlanta scores regarding Amazon’s wishlist as detailed in its request for proposals:

Locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.

While Atlanta is not an established technology talent supercenter such as San Francisco, Boston or New York, the Big A has made strides in developing and attracting a tech workforce. Real estate services firm CBRE Inc. ranked Atlanta fifth in tech talent among 50 of the largest cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Proximity to an international airport and direct access to mass transit.

Amazon wants its HQ2 to be 45 miles from an international airport, making Atlanta a winning candidate. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest, having shuttled 104.2 million passengers last year.

Metropolitan areas with more than one million people, stable and business friendly environment.

With nearly 5.7 million residents, Atlanta area is the ninth-largest metro in the country. The population is not just large, it’s equipped for a knowledge economy.

On Sept. 7, the Seattle-based Internet juggernaut said it is seeking sites in North America for a second headquarters, dubbed “HQ2.” The 8-million-square-foot headquarters would create 50,000 jobs over the next two decades.

Douglas Sams covers commercial real estate for Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Urvaksh Karkaria covers technology for Atlanta Business Chronicle.