Amazon HQ2 Not Landing in Atlanta—Rejoice!
I started talking about Atlanta’s Amazon HQ2 potential a year back in my post “Amazon HQ2 and The Gulch: A Symbiotic Relationship?” and continued the discussion in a follow-up post.
Now, Amazon announced its intention to co-locate Amazon HQ2 in New York and the DC metro areas, and I am pleased with the result. Sometimes, you can score just as many runs hitting singles and doubles—so in that regard, Atlanta and Georgia are doing just fine. Thank you very much.
Good Things Already Happening Here
In my opinion, Atlanta is already winning the corporate relocation game as well as nurturing our own future Amazons through such initiatives as Atlanta Tech Village and the ATDC at Georgia Tech.
Need evidence? Think Mercedes-Benz, Norfolk Southern, Apple, State Farm, Athena, and Accenture. All have announced either relocation or workforce expansion in the Atlanta metro area. And these are just a few.
Some May Be Disappointed
I’m sure developers of massive redevelopments, like The Gulch and Quarry Yards, are disappointed. But in the long-term, they will be fine, and the City and State will save billions in incentives and avoid setting a bad precedent (as the same incentives would have eventually been sought by other outfits).
Was Atlanta Ever a Good Fit?
I suppose we had to chase this deal, but did we ever ask ourselves…
- How would our already outdated transit system and inadequate road network handle the additional 50,000 employees? Some argued they were all going to live on the Southwest Beltline and walk or “scoot” to work.
- What would it do to current and future employers? Surely, it would have discouraged future relocations, which I am sure would please folks in Charlotte, Nashville, Raleigh and Austin.
- How bad would housing affordability become?
- Would Atlanta’s politics become skewed by an influx of progressive millennials?
- What would future corporate relocations ask for?
- How many billion-dollar incentive packages can Atlanta afford? First, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, then State Farm Arena, now the Gulch. (Meanwhile, our police are understaffed and underpaid.)
Atlanta Did Not Have A Chance
If you look at the choices Amazon made, Atlanta never had a chance.
- We lacked existing buildings for easy renovation and quick move-in. (None of the considered projects could be developed overnight.)
- Atlanta has a burgeoning, young tech-oriented population, but we do not have the depth and breadth located in NY and DC.
- Amazon will have far less impact in the selected markets than it would have had in Atlanta.
- Amazon’s politics do not play well with Atlanta’s politics.
See Ya, Amazon HQ2
The Atlanta media has had a lot to say about Amazon HQ2 not selecting Atlanta. I have two words about the Amazon HQ2 pursuit—good riddance!