Even though offering massive tax cuts and other benefits to attract corporate headquarters doesn’t always work out, that hasn’t stopped a lot of cities and regions from officially filing requests with Amazon to be considered for the company’s planned second headquarters. If you’re anywhere near any sort of population center, there’s a good chance your city council has put its name into the Amazon HQ hat.
According to the AP, Amazon received a total of 238 proposals from city and regional governments in 43 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and three states in Mexico.
The only U.S. states where folks aren’t clamoring to give Amazon a huge tax cut in exchange for the promise of 50,000 or so jobs, urban development, and tech cachet, are Hawaii (which would have been nice but not terribly convenient), Arkansas (home to Amazon foe Walmart), Vermont, and the north-central plains foursome of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
One of the conditions that Amazon had put on its new HQ location is that it be located in a metro area with more than 1 million people, so that might explain part of why those last five states all opted not to compete for the business, as none of them have a metropolitan area fitting that description.
But that apparently didn’t stop several places that don’t fit the population requirement. According to 2016 Census Bureau estimates, there are only about 56 metro areas with at least 1 million residents. Even if you’re generous and look at the number of metro regions with more than 700,000 people, you’re still only talking about fewer than 85 cities, yet hundreds of cities still applied in the apparent hope that Prince Bezos will come visit their city council meeting with a mammoth, job-filled glass slipper of an offer.
Amazon has placed other conditions on its potential hosts, including the need for ready access to an international airport. That again, would seem to have limited eligibility to the few dozen international airports (as opposed to small airports that offer very select service to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean) that are hubs for major airlines. Another speedbump for Amazon suitors is the need for quality mass transit. Even a major city like Philadelphia, which has the population, the airport, the land, the location, and the access to talent, may have trouble convincing Amazon that its often-derided regional rail and often-detoured (and always-delayed) bus system is adequate to move around 50,000 employees.
The company hasn’t put a specific timeline on when it will make its choice for HQ2 other than to say it will likely come in 2018.