Austin on short list for Amazon's second headquarters
Posted January 18, 2018 2:58 p.m. EST
AUSTIN, Texas -- Amazon announced Thursday that Austin made its short list of 20 cities that could become the site of the retail giant's planned second headquarters project.
Dallas was the only other Texas city that made the cut.
"We are pleased that the Austin region has advanced to the second round," Mike Berman, spokesman for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. "We look forward to presenting the best of what our region has to offer and how we can partner with Amazon."
Amazon's so-called HQ2 will be the Seattle-based online retailer's second headquarters in North America. Amazon said last year that it will invest $5 billion in the project and will hire 50,000 highly paid workers wherever the project lands. The company said "HQ2" will eventually be the equivalent to its Seattle headquarters.
Austin was one of more than 238 cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico that submitted applications to Amazon last year. The list of finalists fit the criteria that Amazon had established early in the search process, such as a metropolitan area with a population of more than a million people and an attractive home for tech talent.
Austin officials said in October that no local financial incentives were included in the city's proposal for the Amazon project. Gov. Greg Abbott's office has said it would offer an equal financial incentive package for any Texas city bidding for the Amazon project. If Amazon picks Austin or Dallas, it's expected the majority of any financial incentives would come from the state.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said Thursday that the city would need to weigh the costs and benefits before bringing such a massive project here. In a letter to Amazon in October, Adler wrote that Amazon and Austin could help each other with issues such as mobility and affordabilty if Amazon picked Austin as the site for HQ2.
"There would not and could not be a commitment from the city to do anything with any of these economic development conversations without first coming to the community for a pretty wide and transparent conversation," Adler said Thursday.
"This is a desirable city for companies to come because it's beautiful, it has lots of talent and its a place where people who work for companies want to live. So when we have conversations on economic development, there will have to be conversations that deal both with what is special and desirable in this city, but also what our challenges are and how we can best meet those challenges."
In a statement, Abbott said his office was "thrilled" to see Austin and Dallas make Amazon's short list.
"Texas is a hotbed for the tech industry, and both Austin and Dallas have proven themselves to be among the most sought-after locations for companies looking to grow and thrive," Abbott said. "... I am confident that the economic advantages of an Amazon expansion in Texas speak for themselves, and make either Austin or Dallas an ideal fit for Amazon's HQ2."
Also making the list:
Montgomery County, Md.
Amazon said it will make a final decision on the HQ2 site later this year.
Mark D. Wilson and Sebastian Herrera write for the Austin American-Statesman. Email: mdwilson(at)statesman.com, sherrera(at)statesman.com.
Story Filed By Cox Newspapers
For Use By Clients of the New York Times News Service