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Austin takes lead as Amazon HQ2 frontrunner, according to report

Moody’s Analytics puts city at top of contenders list for internet giant’s second headquarters

Amazon Buys Whole Foods For Over 13 Billion
Amazon’s Seattle headquarters grocery store
Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images

Austin is Amazon’s likely choice for the location of its second headquarters, according to a recent Business Insider story. Leanna Garfield reported on the Tech Insider section of the site Wednesday that a data-driven study by Moody’s Analytics looked at 65 cities according to five of Amazon’s stated factors in making its decision: business environment, a skilled workforce, costs, quality of life, and transportation. The study excluded Seattle, the location of Amazon's first headquarters.

The report, which used data from local governments and community surveys, points to the Austin-Round Rock area as the top contender. Atlanta ranked second in the study, while Philadelphia was listed third.

According to a story in the Austin American-Statesman’s 512Tech section, the Austin Chamber of Commerce submitted a bid to the company on Wednesday, a day before the deadline.

An important caveat, as Business Insider points out, is that the Moody’s analysis does not include incentive packages offered by different cities.

Other cities have been public about tax incentives—Memphis, Tenn., offered $60 million; Chula Vista, Calif., considered $400 million; and, not to be outdone, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to offer the $7 billion in incentives for a location in Newark, according to Business Insider. Texas Monthly last month reported that several other Texas cities, including Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, expressed interest in submitting bids, while a statement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to the Statesman affirmed the state’s desire to “aggressively court Amazon.” (Interestingly, San Antonio initially considered bidding and decided against it, according to Texas Monthly).

Austin has played things closer to the vest. The chamber told the Statesman it made a “compelling case,” but declined to provide details of Austin’s proposal; the story also pointed out that the Austin City Council and other leaders have become more skittish of late about offering companies large incentive packages. Mayor Steve Adler, while supporting the idea of submitting a bid, joined others in the conversation in expressing concerns about whether or not the city could easily absorb the workers HQ2 would bring to the area; other concerns include the city’s notorious traffic problems and poor mass transportation options as well as finding a suitable spot for the sure-to-be-massive headquarters.

Still, the Statesmen reported that the city worked with officials from throughout Travis, Williamson, and Hays counties to submit a single response for the whole region—which includes plenty of land in places such as Round Rock, already populated by a number of tech companies. And, lest we forget, there’s that sweet “synergy” to be found in Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods. Who needs light rail when you have asparagus water?

Austin, Texas is most likely to get Amazon's $5 billion headquarters, according to the data [Business Insider]

Austin’s bid is officially in for Amazon’s giant HQ2 project [AAS]

Where Amazon's Next Headquarters Should Go [Moody’s Analytics]

Can Austin win Amazon’s HQ2 — and could city handle impact if it did? [AAS]

New Jersey just escalated the fight for Amazon's headquarters with a $7 billion incentive [Business Insider]

Chamber chief: Austin will go after Amazon’s $5 billion ‘second headquarters’ [AAS]

Why San Antonio Turned Down Amazon’s New Headquarters [Texas Monthly]

Texas Seems Primed to Land Amazon’s Second Headquarters [Texas Monthly]