MAKING THE CUT
Amazon has become one of the largest companies in the world, so when they speak, folks tend to listen. I hope you all have heard that Amazon wants to build a second headquarters somewhere in the U S. I wonder how much the current cost of living for their employees in Silicon Valley is a factor. The overall impact of this decision will be huge for the area they choose. Amazon is talking about eventually employing 50,000 people at the new site and spending $5 billion on construction costs. Wow!!
Originally 238 cities made proposals to Amazon. Recently they cut their list to 20. Even though the N & O’s headlines said Raleigh made the final 20, the truth is the Triangle made the final 20. The Triangle submitted seven different sites as possibilities. These sites were in Wake, Durham and Chatham Counties. Here is what Amazon is looking for: 1) near a metropolitan area of over a million people 2) be able to attract top technical talent 3) be within 45 minutes of an international airport 4) have direct access to mass transit 5) be able to expand their facility to as many as 8 million square feet over the next decade. Amazon wants a good quality of life for its prospective employees. They will not hire all 50,000 workers at once and workers do not have to live here already. They also want unspecified tax incentives.
The Triangle should be unrivaled when competing with the other sites in all areas but two. Mass transit is a real weakness but could be solved. The other unknown is the willingness of our state government to grant sufficient tax incentives to attract Amazon. Amazon may demand more than is practical for the state to spend. All in all, I think our chances are pretty strong.