Triad Leaders Want Amazon's HQ2, But Do We Have A Shot?

Triad Leaders Want Amazon's HQ2, But Do We Have A Shot?

4:31pm Sep 19, 2017
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (Courtesy: Amazon)

Earlier this month, Amazon announced it wanted to open a second headquarters. It invited cities to send proposals, and places like Charlotte, Raleigh, and Boston responded.

But the Triad has also put itself into the mix.

Whichever city ultimately wins, Amazon has promised a $5-billion investment, 50,000 high-level jobs and more.

WFDD’s Sean Bueter spoke with Triad Business Journal reporter Katie Arcieri to find out about the odds of winning such a coveted prize.

She says wherever the company goes, Amazon wants to make a bold statement.

Interview Highlights

On the potential to win the new Amazon site:

You know, they want to be a force of transformation with whatever community that they are going into. I mean, if you're talking about 50,000 jobs, no matter where you go it's going to be transformational. But the folks that I've talked to, including Chris Lloyd who is a site consultant based in Richmond who actually helped to bring Honda Aircraft Company to Piedmont Triad International Airport, has said that definitely this area has potential to win this. It's just a matter of whether or not Amazon is interested in kind of being the biggest fish in a kind of a smaller pond.

Raleigh, Charlotte, and a number of other major cities are competing for this project. Why would local leaders put so much effort into what appears to be a long shot?

Well, I think that they probably believe that it is a long shot, but it's definitely worth pursuing. Absolutely. I mean, this region as a whole has been really trying to get that big fish, that big company that's going to be a game changer. And why not have it be Amazon? I mean, Amazon is unconventional, they like to shake things up. If Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point really provided a great incentive package and kind of rolled out the red carpet for Amazon, that's a good thing.

So, I definitely think there's nothing wrong with them putting their name in the hat. But you're right, I mean places like Kannapolis and Carrubus County already have an Amazon presence. And so it's just a question of whether or not they can compete with other areas in North Carolina that have really made it easy for Amazon to choose their area.

Will the Triad win Amazon's HQ2?

It's a real toss up. I mean, it's the kind of thing that would be a great game changer for this area. But you're right. I think it probably is, at the end of the day, a long shot. I think Amazon is looking to be in an area that's more tech focused overall. This area is more manufacturing focused. I mean, they're getting more advanced for sure. But a place like Raleigh or a place like Boston or even Austin, Texas, those are the cities that I think are bigger metro areas that could absorb the kind of workers that Amazon is looking for and also closer to large international airports that could get headquarters employees back and forth quickly.

But at the same time, you know, I do think that this area has a great transportation infrastructure that Amazon could certainly benefit from. I mean we're talking about an e-commerce company, a distribution company, that can get a book to you the same day. So, it's just a matter of what, I think, Amazon is really interested in doing with this second headquarters that maybe its other headquarters doesn't do currently.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

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