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The Case for a Suburban HQ2

The Case for Putting Amazon’s HQ2 in the Suburbs

If it’s built on the urban fringe, HQ2 doesn’t have to be an inward-looking campus marooned in sprawl. It could be the mother of all suburban retrofits.

CityLab, Jan. 26, 2018

Last week, we learned which 20 cities made the not-exactly-short list to host Amazon’s second headquarters. These cities rose to the top of the 238 that submitted bids last fall in hopes of winning the economic jackpot: up to 50,000 highly paid Amazon employees contributing to their tax base, plus billions of dollars in local investment by the online giant.

Analysts and bookmakers have already sized up the finalists’ odds. Meanwhile, with the field of contenders narrowed, speculation has turned to what type of headquarters Amazon might choose to build, and where, within the short-listed metropolitan areas.

In the project RFP, issued back in September, Amazon stipulated that it was looking for a metro area of at least 1 million people and “urban or suburban locations” that could attract and retain talented tech workers. The company wants to be within 30 miles of a population center and no more than 45 minutes from an international airport, and it wants mass transit “at site.” The RFP also noted that HQ2 “could be, but does not have to be” a downtown campus.

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