Atlanta Makes Amazon Headquarters Short List

ATLANTA, GA — The experts were right. Atlanta, already the home to business giants like Coca-Cola and Delta, has made the short list of contenders to become home to new headquarters for technology giant Amazon.

Amazon on Thursday released a list of 20 cities and regions still in the running for HQ2 — a second headquarters for the Seattle, Wash.-based company expected to bring $5 billion in spending and 50,000 high-paying jobs to whichever area ends up getting the nod.

Atlanta was one of those 20 cities, selected out of 238 applications that Amazon said it reviewed. It's one of three sites in the Southeast to make the list, along with Miami, Northern Virginia and Raleigh, N.C., and one of 11 on or near the east coast.

"Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity," said Holly Sullivan of Amazon in a news release. "Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation."

According to Amazon, the company will work with each of the remaining candidates in the coming months to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information and evaluate the feasibility of building the new headquarters there. A decision is expected some time in 2018.

 

Since Amazon announced plans for HQ2 in September, Atlanta has consistently been mentioned by analysts as a likely contender for the new headquarters. Moody's Analytics, the economic-research arm of the business and financial services company, ranked the Atlanta area No. 2 among the many localities striving to become home to a second headquarters for the Seattle-based online-retail giant. Austin, Texas, which is also on the short list, 

Austin, Texas, which was ranked No. 1 by Moody's, also is on the list of 20 finalists.

In its announcement, Amazon said it plans to spend $5 billion on the new headquarters, creating as many as 50,000 jobs in the process. In its call for proposals, the company said the project is expected to create tens of thousands of additional support jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the community where the new headquarters land.

The company estimates that its investments in Seattle, where its current 33-building campus is located, pumped $38 billion into the city's economy from 2010-16.

State and local government officials have made landing HQ2 a top priority. Such is the level of enthusiasm that Gov. Nathan Deal last week had to urge lawmakers to keep their minds on other issues, assuring them that he will call a special session of the Georgia General Assembly if they need to do anything to help Georgia's chances.

"If Georgia makes the list of final three contenders for HQ2, I will call a special session so that we can make whatever statutory changes are required to accommodate a business opportunity of this magnitude," Deal said in a speech as lawmakers arrived in Atlanta for their 2018 session. "To do so before we know where we stand would be presumptuous on our part and premature."