Amazon is looking for a second headquarters and nearly every major city in America is rolling out the red carpet for Jeff Bezos & Co., including Dallas, Fort Worth and a few in Collin County.
The Seattle-based online marketplace put out a request for proposal worth $5 billion last week that anticipates 53,000 jobs created in the new city, $38 billion in investments to the local economy and $25.7 billion in compensation to its employees. Among its preferred criteria for a new city are: a metropolitan area of more than 1 million people, a stable and friendly business environment, an urban area with access to local talent and “communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.”
If that sounds to you like criteria Dallas meets, you’re not alone. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told D Magazine in an emailed statement that the city has “already contacted Amazon to express our interest and have proceeded to their prescribed next step.” He added: “We will aggressively demonstrate that Dallas and our surrounding area would be the perfect spot for their expansive business needs. Amazon already has an extensive amount of business here. They’ve been good corporate citizens and we look forward to future conversations.”
But what are the odds Amazon, with six fulfillment centers already in North Texas, actually comes to the region? In an effort to predict Amazon’s next headquarters on its blog The Upshot, the New York Times floated DFW as a possible landing spot as well as Houston, San Antonio and Austin, where recent Amazon acquisition Whole Foods is based. While the Times saw Dallas as an attractive location due to factors like strong job growth, talent pool and high quality of life, it was eliminated due to a lack of convenient mass transit.
The Seattle Times, meanwhile, didn’t consider Dallas as an option at all but included Austin as a potential home alongside Chicago, Boston, Denver, New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. Austin’s rising startup scene, liberal political leanings and laid-back atmosphere drew comparisons to Seattle, and the newspaper noted the annual South by Southwest festival, Whole Foods and the Bezos family’s accumulation of land in West Texas.
Of course, Dallas’ neighbors up north are also gunning to land Amazon. After luring the likes of Toyota, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, FedEx and JPMorgan Chase, among many others, cities in Collin County are also weighing the RFP. Allen Economic Development Corp. CEO and Executive Director Dan Bowman told D Magazine that “On the coattails of Toyota and the many other corporate relocations, Allen is right in the middle.” While Plano and Frisco officials neither confirmed nor denied their cities’ interest, McKinney EDC Economic Development Corp. President Darrell Auterson told the publication, “We’ll definitely be taking a hard look at whether or not we’ll be answering [the RFP].”
Fort Worth, too, is putting together an economic package. “We’re looking at all the different options on the table,” Brandom Gengelbach, executive vice president of economic development at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, adding the chamber was “thoroughly reviewing and understanding the [request for proposal] and developing a response to represent Fort Worth in the best light.”
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