Amazon’s second headquarters will be built in a city with these 9 qualities—Learn how McKinney fares

A worker loads boxes for shipping at an Amazon fulfillment center.

A worker loads boxes for shipping at an Amazon fulfillment center.

Amazon announced Sept. 7 its plans to open a second headquarters, and McKinney Mayor George Fuller said he and city staff will are taking steps to draw the tech company to the city.

The process for submitting proposals opened Sept. 7 and will close Oct. 19.

Amazon estimates the new headquarters will result in a $5 billion investment and bring 50,000 high-paying jobs to the city that lands the project. According to Amazon documents, it is estimated that Amazon’s Seattle headquarters brought an additional $38 billion to the local economy between 2010 and 2016.

For prospective cities, there is a lot to be gained in hosting Amazon’s second headquarters; however, Amazon desires much from its future location. Below is an official list released by Amazon of ideal characteristics for a host city and a look at how McKinney compares to each characteristic.

1. Metropolitan area with more than one million people

Amazon wants a location that is heavily populated—more specifically, an area within at least 30 miles of a population center as the company expects to bring roughly 50,000 jobs. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area's population was measured at more than 6.4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2010 estimates. The city of McKinney's population was estimated at 168,358 people, according to city estimates as of Jan. 1.

2. Within 45 minutes of an international airport

The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is approximately 32-50 minutes from McKinney.

Should Amazon select McKinney, the company would also have easy access to the McKinney National Airport, which is in the process of updating its master plan.

3. Located 1 to 2 miles away from major roadways

Three major roadways run through McKinney's city limits—SH 121, US 75 and US 380.

4. Access to mass transit

Collin County Transit provides a subsidized taxi program for residents in McKinney, Melissa, Princeton, Celina, Lowry Crossing and Princeton. This service is available for residents who are 65 years and older or are disabled.

5. Estimated campus size is 8 million square feet

The city of McKinney has approximately 22 square miles of undeveloped land within city limits and approximately 40 square miles of undeveloped land in the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction, which is land the city has the authority to annex in the future. Given the amount of land left to develop, Amazon could find a place to settle in McKinney.

6. Economic incentives

The McKinney Economic Development Corp. updated its strategic plan in May and has since made strides in its increased efforts to attract businesses.

The city signed a deal with Independent Bank in July for the construction of its $52 million corporate headquarters on 10 acres of land at the McKinney Corporate Center at Craig Ranch. Other economic incentives offered to companies such as Raytheon Co., Simpson Strong-Tie Co. and PACCAR can be found here.

7. Strong labor force and university system 

Between July 2015 and July 2016, the city of McKinney ranked the third fastest-growing city in the country, according to new data released May 25 by the U.S. Census Bureau. McKinney has ranked on the bureau's fastest-growing cities list since at least 2012.

Amazon said a strong local university system is preferred. The city of McKinney is home to Collin College which has nearly 5,000 students at the Central Park Campus, located at 2200 W. University Drive, McKinney.

8. Quick timetable for construction commencement

This characteristic means an easy and streamlined permitting process. The city is working to streamline the development process and convey the message that McKinney is open for business, Michael Quint, executive director of development services for the city, said in a previous interview. The city also updated its permitting requirements in the ETJ.

The MEDC has also selected Hunt Southwest to develop a speculative light industrial development project in the city in hopes of attracting more businesses.

9. Cultural community/quality of life

Priding itself on its "unique by nature" culture, McKinney was ranked as the number one best place to live in America by Money Magazine in 2014. In 2017, Wallet Hub rated McKinney the second-best real estate market in the country and the best U.S. city for first-time buyers. Smart Asset also ranked McKinney the fourth best place to raise a family in Texas in 2017.

More city accomplishments can be found on the city's website.
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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