The scouting reports are out for where Amazon might put its second headquarters and, so far, the consensus is that Dallas/Fort Worth won’t make the final cut.
According to several news reports, the Metroplex is likely to land among Amazon’s top ten possible locations given the area’s cheap office rent, available sites with 100 acres or more, big international airport and large workforce. But the lack of good mass transit may keep DFW from becoming a finalist.
The New York Times placed DFW as one of nine metros that fulfill Amazon’s criteria of having strong job growth and a good quality of life, but then cut DFW because of limited mass transit. It ranked Denver as the likeliest place for Amazon’s’ new headquarters to land.
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Amazon said it will consider metropolitan areas with more than 1 million residents, immediately drawing interest from communities across the country. The project will be a game-changer for whatever city lands it: Amazon said it plans to invest $5 billion to build a campus that could eventually employ as many as 50,000 workers.
The Seattle-based online retailer wants potential sites to be within 30 miles of a population center, within 45 minutes of an international airport, not more than one to two miles from a major highway and with direct access to rail, train, subway or bus routes.
Using tech talent as a key indicator, online tech news site Recode said Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Raleigh and Washington D.C. are top contenders where Amazon can easily attract and retain tech workers. Dallas only ranks 10th on that list.
The Seattle Times, which knows Amazon best since that’s where the company’s headquarters is located, doesn’t even mention Dallas/Fort Worth in its list of potential contenders. Austin, home of the South by Southwest tech conference and Whole Foods Market, which Amazon recently acquired, is the Texas entrant on a list that includes Chicago, Boston, Denver, New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.
But there’s hope for North Texas.
Despite Slate’s contention that “no town truly fulfills the company’s demanding wish list,” the news and commentary site says Amazon just might choose the relatively low-cost suburbs of Dallas.
“Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, and Philly are probably the most compelling choices for Amazon,” Slate says. “But that doesn’t mean the company might not blow off its interest in higher education or mass transit to procure a low-cost campus in the suburbs of Dallas or Atlanta.”