Texas Seems Primed to Land Amazon’s Second Headquarters
But the competition is tough.
Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, but it may be heading to Texas as fast as it can. The online commerce giant announced last week that it is searching for a city to build a second corporate base, according to the Wall Street Journal. Every single big city in Texas has pounced on the opportunity and joined a fierce nationwide bidding war.
The company laid out a pretty detailed wish list for its “HQ2” project, including a metropolitan area with more than one million people, on-site access to mass transit, a commute of 45 minutes or less to an international airport, easy access to a major highway or arterial road, and close proximity to good universities, plus fiber optic internet connections and strong cell phone service. “We want to invest in a community where our employees will enjoy living, recreational opportunities, educational opportunities, and an overall high quality of life,” Amazon’s announcement said, adding that the company is also looking for “communities that think big.”
Based on that list, it sounds as though most of the cities in the Lone Star State would fit the bill. So would a lot of cities in other states, too, but Texas cities have brisket and breakfast tacos, which gives us an inherent advantage, at least in the “overall high quality of life” category. And, of course, no one thinks bigger than we do in Texas. John Wittman, a spokesman for Governor Greg Abbott, said in a statement to the Austin American-Statesman that the state will “aggressively court Amazon in the hopes that it expands its footprint in Texas and establishes its new headquarters here.” Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio have all expressed interest in landing HQ2.
Last but not least, San Antonio will throw its ten gallon hat in the ring, too. “A local team comprised of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, the city, county, and private-sector partners is engaged and ready to pursue the opportunity,” Erica Hurtak, spokeswoman for the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, said in a statement, according to KSAT. “San Antonio is primed for an initiative of this size, and while competition for the site will be aggressive, we are confident in the assets our community has to offer.” The Alamo City shares some of the same advantages as its Texas brethren, like a high quality of life and a booming population, and it has a pretty low cost of living. But, as the San Antonio Express-News notes, it falls short in a few important areas—notably that it doesn’t have a ton of space for HQ2 downtown and doesn’t offer much in the airport department. “The shortcoming we have, and everyone knows about it, is the airport,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff told the Express-News. “That would be a very big challenge for us to overcome for a corporate headquarters that big. Other than that, I think we would be in the ballgame.”
But Texas may have a leg up thanks to its business-friendly reputation and its strong history with Amazon and Bezos. In addition to the recent Whole Foods purchase, Bezos chose the Sierra Diablo Mountains in West Texas to build his “10,000 year clock.” The launch facility for his aerospace manufacturing company, Blue Origin, is located in Van Horn. Amazon has a giant wind farm project planned for Scurry County, between Abilene and Lubbock. And the company has order fulfillment centers all across the state, including Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Haslet, Coppell, Fort Worth, Irving, Schertz, and San Marcos. According to the Morning News, Amazon already employs 20,000 Texans.