retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post has a story about the raging speculation about where Amazon’s second headquarters campus - dubbed HQ2 - may be built in North America.

Amazon isn’t commenting, except to say that no decisions have been made, and the Post writes that “in the vacuum, the tiniest shreds of information related to the HQ2 search are being examined with a level of scrutiny normally reserved for the Zapruder film or Bryce Harper’s coming free agency.

“The Amazon search is a serious matter. The chosen city could reap 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investments from the company, Amazon says. Taxpayers may be asked to foot billions of dollars of subsidies to win the deal. Housing markets and traffic patterns may be significantly affected by the company’s decision.”

Among the most-discussed places on the list of finalists…

• Austin, Texas … because that’s where Whole Foods is based and because the city’s name was dropped in Amazon’s Super Bowl commercial.

• Montgomery County, Maryland … because one of the executives working on the project is Holly Sullivan, who apparently used to be president of the now-defunct Montgomery Business Development Corp.

• Northern Virginia … because, as the Post writes, a website called recently discovered “by looking through its online readership data that it had received thousands of clicks from an domain on an article titled, ‘County Wins Top Environmental Award From U.S. Green Building Council’.”

• Boston … because it “has wonderful colleges, a lower cost of living than New York and Amazon already purchased a local robot-maker there.” Plus, that’s where Amazon executives want to go.

• Los Angeles … because “its code name for the headquarters is ‘project Golden’.” (The problem with this theory is that Amazon said that “Golden” isn’t a code name, but rather the last name of the mail clerk to whom the submissions were to be addressed.)
KC's View:
Or, none of these places.

I’ve been on the Boston-or-Austin bandwagon for awhile now, so I’m going to stick with those bets. I continue to believe that whatever city Amazon chooses, it is most likely to be in a blue state - or at least a blue-trending community - most likely to be appealing to the kind of ethnically diverse and culturally liberal workers that Amazon wants and needs to attract.

One other thing. As much as I’ve believed that it will be either Boston or Austin, I would not count out Toronto, the only non-US city on the finalist list. I just have this nagging feeling…