The deadline is here: Austin, Dallas and Houston go after Amazon's HQ2

Amazon's first headquarters is located in Seattle.

Amazon's first headquarters is located in Seattle.

Communities around the metropolitan areas of Austin, Dallas and Houston have teamed up to send proposals for Amazon’s second headquarters, nicknamed HQ2.

The Seattle-based company is looking to make a $5 billion capital investment to create 50,000 jobs at 8.1 million square feet of office space. On Sept. 7, Amazon made the announcement of the search, asking cities to team up for one proposal per Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In Texas, Community Impact Newspaper has reported on the bid process in the three metropolitan areas it covers, including:

• The Austin Chamber of Commerce was quick to say they would help prepare a regional bid for HQ2. First talks from the Chamber came on the first day of the search, Sept. 7.

• How Austin stacked up with Amazon’s wish list was the subject of discussions Sept. 8, a day after the request for proposals went public.

• Last week at an Austin Chamber of Commerce event, it was announced a bid was being forwarded, perhaps quietly compared to other cities. More than 40 sites were considered for the bid.

• Moody’s Analytics named Austin the No. 1 city in contention for HQ2 based on several data-driven criteria. On the same list, Dallas-Plano-Irving was ranked 34th, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land was ranked 49th and Fort Worth-Arlington were ranked 55th.

• Round Rock, Pflugerville officials tout the benefits of HQ2 coming to the region.

• The square footage of the buildings of HQ2 will be more than 14 downtown Austin buildings combined.

Leander and Cedar Park contributed to Austin’s effort for HQ2. Cedar Park is about 20 miles north of Austin and Leander is 25 miles north of downtown.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA, coverage included:

• McKinney Mayor George Fuller said Sept. 8 the full city staff and McKinney’s private sector business community would pursue a deal with Amazon.

• On Sept. 11, Grapevine Economic Development Director Bob Farley said having a corporate headquarters like Amazon would bring a lot a lot of benefits.

• McKinney fares well in this breakdown against the specs for Amazon’s HQ2.

• On Sept. 15, Frisco stands up to the same test of what Amazon is looking for in a host city.

• Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney, in a video released by the city, said “Frisco is the perfect fit for HQ2.”

• A $10 million donation of land from the Jorba family has been offered to help entice Amazon to come to McKinney with its HQ2.

• Grapevine officials and economic developers submitted data for the HQ2 proposal, which includes a site between SH 121 and SH 26 south.

• The city of Frisco explored the process, including strengths and weaknesses in attracting Amazon’s HQ2.

“Meet Me in McKinney” campaign was launched Oct. 17, allowing the city of McKinney to highlight what is unique about the city. A campaign video was part of the presentation.

In the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA, coverage included:

Generation Park prepared its pitch for HQ2 near Lake Houston. The 4,000-acre  is located along Beltway 8 near Atascocita.

Amazon is anticipated to make a decision on the project in 2018.
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.


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