Indianapolis one of 20 finalists for Amazon headquarters; economist says city solid contender

Indianapolis is one of Amazon’s finalist for the company’s second headquarters.

The company put out a list of 20 cities on Thursday morning.

They cities are:

Austin, Texas.
Columbus, Ohio
Los Angeles
Montgomery County, Maryland
New York
Northern Virginia
Raleigh, N.C.
Toronto, Canada
Washington, D.C.

Amazon’s search for a second headquarters city has triggered an unprecedented competition among governments around North America to attract a $5 billion project that promises to create 50,000 jobs.

The retailing behemoth has made clear that tax breaks and grants will be a big factor in its decision. It received 238 proposals and said it will announce a decision sometime this year, according to The Associated Press.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb offered the following statement regarding Amazon’s announcement that Indianapolis is among a list of 20 finalist locations for the company’s second headquarters:

We are thrilled to see Indianapolis on the list of finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters. It speaks to Indiana’s growing reputation on the world stage as a great state to locate and grow a business. We look forward to working with the central Indiana region and Amazon as they continue to narrow their list of potential sites for HQ2.

Ball State economist Michael Hicks said he believes Indianapolis is a solid contender to become a second headquarters for Amazon.

He points out that Indianapolis, Columbus and Raleigh lead the pack.

“I believe the real contenders are probably Indianapolis, Columbus, Raleigh, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Nashville, Austin, Northern Virginia, Atlanta and Denver,” says Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “There are real location specific limitations on the other places;  labor costs and/or scarcity of good sites, or deep fiscal troubles.

“Northern Virginia, Atlanta, Denver, Austin and Nashville are the most congested places remaining list,” he said. ‘They can all mitigate this with big construction projects,  but I think they are less likely than the other five.  Denver doesn’t give the company the time/zone geographic diversity I suspect they are looking for.”

Hicks says the strongest locations aren’t really the ones with the huge incentive packages, but are places that have been doing robust quality of place work for decades.

“This is where people are moving, and this short list has developable space, minimal congestion problems and large availability of residential development to house 30,000 college educated workers and their families.”