Where, oh where, is Amazon going to put its second headquarters?
There’s no end to the speculation, from areas where CEO Jeff Bezos has homes (Washington, Texas, New York, California, D.C.) to sites that mighg best meet the company’s proposed criteria.
And, undeterred, Tacoma and Pierce County still want their shot at being the second home base for the e-retail giant. That’s despite Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke saying the company might look outside the Northwest in its search for talent.
“Not everybody wants to live in the Northwest,” Wilke said Tuesday at the GeekWire summit in Seattle. “It’s been terrific for me and my family, but I think we may find another location that allows us to recruit a different collection of employees.”
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Amazon later walked back that statement.
But, if Amazon did look outside the Northwest, here are some possibilities, and why:
▪ Denver: Of the list we’ve assembled, this one is probably the most culturally aligned with Seattle and Washington.
The Mile High city came in third behind Chicago and Dallas to lure Boeing’s corporate headquarters in 2001, according to The Denver Post. And The New York Times thinks Denver is best positioned to snag Amazon’s twin headquarters.
Housing: Rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $2,050 a month in August. The median value for a single-family home was $421,300.
Education: More than 47 percent of adults over 25 have bachelor’s degrees or higher.
Weather: Looking for a city with all four seasons? Denver has 245 sunny days per year on average, and 17 inches of rain. Its average low in January is 19 degrees and the July average high is about 88 degrees.
Denver is on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains, a range boasting dozens of peaks higher than 14,000 feet.
Of note: Don’t forget, Colorado and Washington residents were in the vanguard of legalizing recreational pot in 2013. So there’s that in terms of culture symbiosis.
▪ Atlanta: Hello “Hotlanta.” The city certainly would be worlds apart from Seattle, particularly in weather and housing.
Atlanta is home to the world’s busiest airport, according to Airports Council International. Flights in and out are within two hours of 80 percent of the country’s population, according to the city’s airport.
Atlanta might be among the few cities that have the amount of executive talent Amazon will need to open a new headquarters, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Housing: Rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,895 a month in August. The median value for a single-family home was $173,900.
Education: More than 50 percent of adults over 25 have bachelor’s degrees or higher.
Weather: 217 sunny days, on average. Let’s not talk about the humidity.
Of note: There’s also a “City of Amazon” pitch from Stonecrest, east of Atlanta.
▪ Phoenix: While Amazon kindly said “no” to Tucson’s cactus gift, Phoenix has played it cool.
“We have landed five corporate headquarters in the last 18 months in the city, not including two that landed elsewhere in the valley, Christine Mackay, director of Phoenix Community and Economic Development, said in a Phoenix Business Journal report. “Phoenix will be very competitive for this headquarters project.”
Housing: Rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $925 a month in August. The median value for a single-family home was $294,400.
Education: Nearly 28 percent of adults over 25 have bachelor’s degrees or higher.
Weather 299 sunny days, on average. The average July high:104 degrees.
Of note: Don’t forget that other Northwest jobs-creating juggernaut, Boeing, announced some of its jobs were headed to Mesa this year.
▪ Austin, Texas: Home to Whole Foods, Amazon's favorite grocery store. Its purchase of that chain put Amazon among that region’s largest employers.
One of the few cities in the country with Google’s fiber’s gigabit home internet service, Austin also boasts a large tech sector. Apple, Dell, IBM and Samsung have more than 6,000 employees there, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Housing: Rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,330 a month in August. The median value for a single-family home was $252,600.
Education: Nearly 50 percent of adults over 25 have bachelor’s degrees or higher.
Weather: 228 sunny days, on average. July’s highs run into the mid90s.
Of note: Austin is home to the South by Southwest festival, which draws tens of thousands of the creative class each year to the arts and technology conference.
▪ Raleigh, North Carolina: This city, along with Minneapolis and Austin, ranks well when it comes to the “talent pool” index, according to the Brookings Institution. Raleigh is part of an eight-county region known as the Triangle. Three major universities are nearby: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Duke University.
Housing: Rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,220 a month in August. The median value for a single-family home was $344,00.
Education: Nearly 51 percent of adults over 25 have bachelor’s degrees or higher.
Weather: 213 sunny days on average, with July’s highs close to 90.
Of note: Raleigh is known for its robust banking and medical research sectors.
▪ Minneapolis: You have to wonder what retail giants Target and Best Buy would think about Amazon siting its second headquarters in their home state. (Amazon already has a tech office in Minneapolis.)
Housing: Rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,448 a month in August. The median value for a single-family home was $258,400.
Education: More than 48 percent of adults over 25 have bachelor’s degrees or higher.
Weather: 198 sunny days, on average, with 26 inches of snow on average a year. Put on your parka. The January low is 7 degrees.
Of note: Minnesota has no sales tax on clothes and accessories. In 2014, the city was named third among most cycling-friendly urban areas.
Sources: Housing price data came from real estate website Zillow. Statistics on bachelor’s degrees came from the U.S. Census.