Amazon HQ2 focus: real estate, tech talent

Amazon image

Real estate and tech talent are key for Amazon in its HQ search.

October 2017

The commercial real estate industry is abuzz as bids were submitted for the hometown of Amazon’s HQ2, a 50,000-employee, $5 billion second headquarters. With more than 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada vying for the company’s attention, competition is fierce, with some cities getting creative to make their case.

According to this Bisnow article, Tucson, Arizona, sent Amazon a 21-foot cactus to remind the company of the city’s growth and resiliency while Stonecrest, Georgia, offered to change its name to Amazon.

Where’s the Best Real Estate and Tech Talent?

While the right commercial real estate is important, Amazon is looking for a city that will attract young talent, a city with good connectivity, and a city that will offer tax incentives. Along with those requirements, the company will potentially bring 50,000 people, along with their spouses and children, to the city, raising the need for housing, schools and retail—and hoping the city can keep up. Here’s a recap of some of the pitches:

Multifamily predictions

Atlanta

Atlanta is pitching several sites including real estate along the Atlanta Beltline, GID’s High Street site in the Central Perimeter, the Gulch in downtown Atlanta, Integral Development’s Assembly Project, the former GM plant in Doraville and the redevelopment of Fort McPherson.

Baltimore feels that its Port Covington, home to UnderArmor’s headquarters on Sagamore Development’s property, is a good choice for Amazon, especially as it may see a transit stop in the near future. And, several Bay Area cities have teamed up to put in a bid for the 5,000-acre Concord Naval Weapons Station, which is within 45 minutes of an airport, has two nearby BART stations and convenient highway access. Also:

  • Boston has proposed its Seaport neighborhood as the Amazon HQ2 site and has committed to building a $100 million cable-operated gondola system to shuttle Amazon employees to work.
  • Brooklyn real estate developers are highlighting their neighborhood’s tech talent and proposing Industry City, a massive complex of former industrial buildings, for the project, which will eventually need to be 8 million square feet. 

Could Chicago land Amazon?

In the Midwest, Chicago’s Old Main Post Office is currently the largest redevelopment in the U.S. at 2.8 million square feet and offers 250,000 square foot floor plates just steps from the Loop. Here’s more on that Amazon proposal.

And, if the U.S. sites are not the answer, Amazon can always go a little north. Teaming up with its Canadian neighbor, Windsor, Ontario could mean an international headquarters in Detroit.

Which city the internet retail giant will choose will remain a mystery for a while longer, but the promise of such a major real estate development has brought out each city’s competitive side over the past several months.

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