The Tech Tale of Cities and Amazon

Posted by Beverley Smith on

The Tech Tale of Cities and Amazon

The tech revolution is really becoming stronger and stronger every day. It is driving many economies across the globe, and we will experience an expansion in the tech space.

This is what is driving Amazon to establish its second headquarters in three cities, a decision that is guided by talent, demographics and local government incentives.

This move is projected to create about 50,000 jobs across the three cities.

Ever since Amazon announced that it was considering establishing its second headquarters, many cities staged themselves and joined the race so that they could be picked by Amazon.

However, along with the local government incentives, which could be in form of subsidies, the tech giant is really interested in cities that have a long-term commitment to the education, innovation and livability.

The move by Amazon to these cities would be a huge benefit to their communities.

Three cities that could be shortlisted
includes New York, Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia and Dallas. However, Amazon is still far in their selection.

Just recently, Wall Street Journal and New York Times had indicated that Amazon may be splitting its future second headquarters between two cities, New York and Arlington, with 25,000 jobs in each.

The process of looking for the right cities to establish the second headquarters has certainly not been rushed, actually, Amazon released their 20 cities shortlist in January 2018. It is expected that the selection of the final site will be revealed before the end of the year.

It has always been believed that Northern Virginia was always the favoured site to receive the second headquarters of the retail giant,  owing to its proximity to Washington D.C. talks are still advancing with representatives in New York and Dallas.

There are various factors that were used in the selection of the 20 finalists, including their interest in university research, science education and accessible neighbourhoods.

These cities may not be the ones that offer the best incentives in the country, but they are believed to be having the best public and private assets in addition to their interest in education and innovation.

There were cities that fared better than others, and it is believed that even they would not be selected by Amazon, they would still create more tech jobs long into the future.

Cities that fare the least, are actually working very hard to outperform the rest of the country in terms of creating more tech jobs which help accelerate future growth regardless of Amazon’s decision.

How cities stack up as a tech economy.
Amazon is really interested in a deep pool of talented workers. This is one great indicator that distinguishes cities on the Amazon’s final list from other areas and it is actually what makes New York City among the top cities that should be selected by the retail giant.

By talking about a deep pool of talented workers, we are talking about the software development engineers who are at a premium in the American workforce.

In fact, every city that is really faring greatly in this talent is on Amazon’s list. New York is one city that is quite attractive and producing the top software development engineers.

It is important to note that tech firms are not only interested in programmers, but also they need accountants and architects, consultants and managers. All these industries work together in one way or another, and they lead to a city that is rich in talent that is invaluable to tech firms.

Amazon would also be keen at looking at cities have high numbers of filing for patents. In fact, filing for a patent is a good indicator that a new idea has been brought up and is being developed.

This actually happens hand in hand with the local universities, which are known to accelerate the development of the idea until it matures. This a good factor because, as mentioned earlier , Amazon really wants a city that has long commitments to education.

New York is doing well in this segment, but it cannot be said to be the best.The growth of young firms in New York together with other top cities on the list are vibrant cities where  young firms are launched andaare able to thrive.

There are low levels of young firms failing to grow. Due to this, these cities are able to start and grow companies, which are actually job creators.

In this cities also, digital services companies are continuously coming up and are able to thrive because every company knows the value of being strategically placed on the internet.

These digital services companies are a fast-growing part of the economy, and the growth is now happening in various other cities.

Nurturing new talent

Amazon values education and is keen on looking for cities that are highly committed to education. There are regions that produce more college graduates than others.

Those with more college graduates are able to expand their pool of talented workers in various fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

A city that experiences a greater production of college graduates has a deep pool of talented workforce that most tech firms would be looking for.

Amazon and any other tech firm know the importance of STEM talent. The cities with the strongest scores in the nurturing new talent have always focused on building and attracting STEM talent for many years.

Quality of life and transportation.

Cities with a good quality of life seem to attract more workers. The quality of life goes hand in hand with the housing stocks and transport systems.

The top cities in Amazon’s list seem to do very well in this area.  A lot of workers would want to work in those cities, which contributes to the expansion of their pool of talent.

What cities offered Amazon so that they can be selected. 

Details of what cities offered Amazon have been hard to get. Amazon has seen a lot of offers going its way from the various cities that they shortlisted.

Some cities have actually tried so much to get the attention of Jeff Bezos, like Tucson, Arizona, sent a 20-foot cactus to Amazon, while the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri claimed he had bought quite a good number of items on Amazon and left reviews which included details of the city on each and every product.

However, these were just stunts that never worked for these two cities for they failed to appear in the final list.

Those that made it to the 20 finalists’ list, on the other hand, have offered massive incentives in terms of tax breaks and development sites.

However, there are cities that have chosen to keep their offers a secret.

The reason for these cities to make very nice offers is very evident and any city would wish to have Amazon establish their second headquarters in them.

The greatest thing that has prompted, so many cities to offer what they can, to get Jeff Bezos’ attention is the fact that the company expects to spend more than $5 billion on its new project and better yet it would lead to the creation of 50,000 jobs to its new second headquarters.

Atlanta’s mayor, Kasim Reed, said that the city would offer  great incentives and development that would worth more than $1 billion.

Boston, actually proposed an Amazon Task Force in its 109-page bid, wherein it stated that they would have paid city staffers who would be the representatives of Amazon in the Boston’s government.

New York is offering a huge space for both development and housing for potential employees of the retail giant who would move there.

Northern Virginia, on the other hand, has opted to keep its bid details a secret. Additionally, a city like Dallas and Austin, Texas are not offering any major tax break, but they are keen on showing their merits.

Why Washington D.C. is considered the front-runner?

One thing that you should note is that the selection process has been kept a secret with an incredible operational security and no leaks.

However, almost everyone thinks that it will go to the Washington D.C. region. This could be due to various reason including that the district would give the company a local base for influencing national decisions as well as a huge local workforce that would make it hard to demonize the company.

Also, it is believed that Jeff Bezos is renovating his large mansion in Washington D.C. which would be a great place to hold galas and events. Jeff Bezos is also the owner of Washington Post Newspaper.


Currently, a lot of speculation is happening, but the final city is expected to be announced soon. Every city wants to have Amazon establish their second headquarters in them.

This will have a huge impact on the local communities, in terms of the creation of more jobs and the acceleration of the economy. 

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