With Billions of Dollars on the Line, the Bids for Amazon's HQ2 Are in

10/30/17

Courtesy of Motley Fool

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) received over 200 bids from competing cities and metropolitan areas that hope to become the home of the company's second headquarters, a.k.a. "Amazon HQ2".

In this segment from Industry Focus: Consumer Goods, Vincent Shen and senior Fool.com contributor Asit Sharma cover the highlights of the bidding process so far, and how cities are looking to improve their odds as Amazon begins the process of narrowing down the candidates.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Oct. 24, 2017.

Vincent Shen: I mentioned this to you before the show, but I wanted to quickly get your thoughts, maybe just spend a couple of minutes talking about the latest news with Amazon's HQ2. The application process is finally over. This is for the company's second headquarters. They said they received applications from 238 cities and regions applying to be the home of Amazon's second headquarters, and that represents a total of 54 states, provinces, districts, and territories in North America, the big draw, of course, being the more than $5 billion the company will invest in development of its second headquarters, and the 50,000 high-paying jobs that will go along with it. Do you happen to know, Asit, if your region near the Research Triangle submitted a bid, and if they put out any social-media stuff around that?

Asit Sharma: I'm pretty sure they did, Vince. I was following it on Twitter, and the Raleigh area certainly put in a bid. I think Charlotte did as well. Some of our listeners may have seen on TechCrunch or a couple of other sites, there are some nice videos that prominent cities have posted, from Philadelphia to Atlanta, you can watch their presentations. Boston, in particular, I thought had a great presentation. But how about up there in the Northern Virginia area?

Shen: Absolutely. I was at a wedding this last weekend, and Amazon's HQ2 came up a few times in conversation. A lot of us live in the D.C. metro region, and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser named specific neighborhoods in her proposal for the city. But we were ultimately a little bit skeptical about such a big development in the District itself. But between D.C., Northern Virginia, like you mentioned, Maryland, there's definitely a lot of options that meet the criteria that Amazon set.

If you're not as familiar with the process and the requirements that Amazon laid out, they mentioned things like proximity to an international airport and universities, public transportation, space for several million square feet of development. At this point, with over 200 locations throwing their hat in the ring, it's going to be tough for us to narrow down the list, though plenty of places have named their top 10 or 20 most likely notable candidates.

I'd also like to point out, I think I saw this in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, they pointed out a map that's color-coded on Amazon's website regarding the second headquarters, and it seems to indicate at least what states did not submit a bid, which I thought would be interesting to point out. They included Vermont, Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Hawaii as regions that did not submit a bid for this. I can't say I'm too surprised.

There's also been some controversy around this entire project, since some cities are offering pretty generous incentives to the company to sweeten their proposals, essentially. Though the company will not announce its decision until sometime next year, there isn't too much detail in terms of the announcement timeline. New Jersey, for example, could offer up to $7 billion in tax breaks to the company if they choose Newark, and that would put the headquarters right outside New York City. So that'll definitely be something we'll follow and update on once they've made a decision.

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