Members of Amazon's HQ2 selection team reportedly visited Miami and Chicago recently, but officials in Dallas aren’t saying whether the Seattle-based e-commerce giant has returned to the region after its initial visit.
A spokesman for the Dallas Regional Chamber, which is spearheading the North Texas push for HQ2, declined to comment Tuesday on whether Amazon’s (Nasdaq: AMZN) selection team had returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth area since its initial trip in February. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also declined comment, and Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Amazon representatives have visited all 20 cities on the short list at least once. You can see a complete list of all 20 finalist cities by clicking here.
The South Florida Business Journal, a sister publication to the Dallas Business Journal, reported that Amazon made a return visit to Miami within the past 30 days, and The Chicago Tribune reported that Amazon representatives in August visited a 62-acre development in the city’s South Loop neighborhood.
The reports of a second visit are reigniting speculation about the status of Amazon’s search.
Dallas seemed to be an early frontrunner for HQ2, but more recently has been cast as an underdog in many national reports and studies.
More recent reports have zeroed in on the Washington, D.C. area as the likely winner of HQ2. Those experts cited that region’s large and diverse tech workforce, its abundance of quality universities, and its proximity to lawmakers and federal agencies that could play a major role in Amazon's future expansion.
Dallas fares relatively well in a comparison of costs of operating Amazon's second headquarters in 20 finalist cities, according to a recent analysis prepared by a global site selection firm.
The Boyd Co., a New Jersey-based location consultancy, compared the costs of payroll and benefits, electricity, amortization, property and sales tax for an “Amazon HQ2-like” corporate headquarters with 50,000 employees and 8 million square feet of Class A office space. Startup and relocation costs were not considered.
Dallas ranked seventh cheapest among the 20 Amazon HQ2 finalists, with a total annual operating cost of slightly over $7.1 billion. Miami ranked slightly lower at $7 billion, and Chicago ranked higher at $7.7 billion.
Based on operating costs and a variety of factors, John Boyd, principal of The Boyd Co, said he thinks Dallas is a top five contender for HQ2.
"I think Atlanta, Dallas (and) the three markets in the D.C. region are strong," he said. "And I think Miami is a strong outlier. And also Newark (New Jersey). Newark can't be dismissed."
But Tom Stringer, who heads site selection for the international consulting firm BDO, said he doesn’t expect Amazon to choose Dallas for HQ2.
“I think other cities fit Amazon’s strategic needs as espoused in the (request for proposals) better than DFW does,” Stringer said.
In 2017, Amazon announced it was seeking a second North American headquarters which, once built out, will employ up to 50,000 high tech workers and entail $5 billion in investment. This set off a race among big cities eager to house the world's most valuable company and its highly paid employees.
In January of this year, Amazon narrowed its choices down to 20 metropolitan areas in North America after receiving 238 proposals from communities across the continent.
Amazon said it will announce the host of its second headquarters before the end of the year.
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