If you ask Alexa where Amazon’s second North American headquarters will be located, she might just say Raleigh.
The Raleigh metropolitan area was named as one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second North American headquarters. Although Charlotte, the Triad and Hickory all made pitches to the company, the Triangle is the only North Carolina finalist that made the cut.
“It says a lot about who we are as a region. We’ve obviously done a lot of things to make this the kind of place a company of that size would consider putting a headquarter,” Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said of Amazon’s announcement in the News and Observer.
What could this mean for the Triangle?
Research Triangle Regional Partnership, an association of economic development agencies, proposed seven different sites for the headquarters. It's unknown whether the company made the decision based on one specific site or the general area. Amazon said it will spend $5 billion on construction and hire up to 50,000 individuals to work at the company's second headquarters.
“Clearly this would be a big boost to our economy, and our talented workforce, high quality of life and affordable cost of living are big magnets for any potential employer. North Carolina is the perfect place for Amazon and we will continue to work to bring these jobs to our state,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in his statement.
While the Triangle has regularly received high marks from analysts who have been following the contest, the lack of a mass transportation system in the region is seen as a significant handicap. However, Durham, Wake and Orange counties have all drawn up plans to develop new mass transit systems—which would include a 17.7-mile light rail line that will connect Durham and Chapel Hill—and voters have agreed to pay higher sales taxes to help build them.
The Triangle's skilled workers, universities, low living costs, startups, an influx of tech companies and a booming arts and food scene also all work in Raleigh’s favor.
If finalists were to be ranked based on a recent index of best-performing cities in the United States, Raleigh would come out on top of the American cities being considered. Still, the Triangle faces fierce competition from 19 other finalists, all with their own pros and cons—Toronto, Ontario; Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; New York City; Newark; Nashville, Tenn.; Montgomery County, Va.; Northern Virginia; Washington, DC; Miami; Los Angeles; Indianapolis; Denver; Dallas; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; Boston; Austin, TX.; Atlanta.
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