back to article Sili-spurned Valley! No way, San Jose! Amazon snubs SF Bay Area in search for HQ2 city

Amazon has trimmed its list of potential cities where it wants to build its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. The Bezos Bunch says it has narrowed down a list of 238 proposals to 19 US cities and one in Canada. "Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals. Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals …

  1. kain preacher Silver badge

    Sacramento had a better chance then San Jose.

  2. ratfox Silver badge

    Some of them sound downright unlikely. Washington DC? How is that a good city for a tech company? It's a hellhole you only live close to because you're working for the federal government. I'd also bet against Newark, New-York, Miami or Boston, seeing as they want a lot of cheap space. I think cities like Denver stand a good chance.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      IT Angle

      DC has a lot of tech talent around, mostly drawn by various defense contractors and other Beltway bandit integrators and IT outsourcing firms.

      I didn't think that the SF Bay Area would make the cut. Amazon is looking to this second HQ to cut labor costs and reduce the competition for tech talent for their openings. Moving to Silicon Valley is not going to accomplish that.

  3. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    good call

    I wouldn't live here if my job didn't tie me here. I can't even imagine trying to run a corporate HQ here.

    1. Mayday Silver badge

      Re: good call

      Where's here?

      "Here" sounds like an interesting place.

  4. lafnlab
    Thumb Up


    As someone who lives in Indy, I like our chances, though it will ultimately boil down to what Amazon values most.

    Real estate in Indy is relatively inexpensive, and since we aren't constrained by the ocean, there is plenty of room to grow. Indiana University and Purdue University share a large campus downtown. There are plenty of engineers because of all the IndyCar race teams and all the biomedical companies in the area. There are plenty of scientists due to Eli Lilly and other companies headquartered here.

    The suburbs are attract a lot of families as good places to raise kids, while a lot of singles prefer to live downtown, where there is more stuff to do. It's pretty easy to catch a cab, Lyft, or Uber, and the bus service is pretty good (I use it every day). There are also a couple of car sharing schemes for people who want to use a car only once in awhile, but not often enough to warrant buying their own car.

    Just my two cents.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: Indy!

      Sorry mate.


      What do you do in Downtown Indy after 5?

      Its like most cities in the midwest. All of the 'burbs look the same and the city shuts down after 5.

      Indy, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincy... all the same.

      1. elip

        Re: Indy!

        At least they're fucking cities. When I moved from the Midwest to NC, I drove right through downtown Raleigh, and only noticed, after I hit a sign that said "Downtown" with an arrow pointing back to where I came from. Hope they stay the fuck out of Raleigh, we've got enough wankers here already. All implants. Have lived here since 2011 and have only met a single local.

  5. colinb

    I'll take a Punt

    and say hip, cheapish labour, near Mexico: Austin, TX

    but then money talks so it will probably be one that pays the most via tax breaks like New Jersey

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: I'll take a Punt


      Traffic sucks.

  6. frank ly

    Double Plus Sad

    "Sadly, the ambitious town of Stonecrest in Georgia did not make the cut, despite promising to change its name to Amazon if selected."

  7. Caspar42

    My money is on Atlanta.

  8. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    Sloppy Reporting...

    Got to flame El Reg.

    Sorry guys but you talk about 19 of the 20 cities leaving out Chicago.

    In terms of cities... Chicago has a lot going for it. I know where four of the potential sites are and I live very close to one of them (Walking distance to most of them, albeit not a walk I would want to take in the frozen cold or heavy rain. )

    In terms of commuting to work... You can live anywhere in Chicagoland (Chicago and surrounding suburbs, including Indiana) get to downtown via car, rail (Metra), or the EL. Or bike even. You have high tech companies as well as several tech incubators in the city. And O'Hare is a major airport w Midway for some flights too. So transportation isn't an issue.

    The only 'red flag' is Illinois' state government. Get rid of Mike Madigan and his daughter, and you will see the necessary changes flow thru the State's government.

    If you can stomach real seasons, its not that bad. We don't fold when it snows and we don't have threats of Hurricanes. (Or earthquakes.)

    Its not just the local schools, but Chicago draws on talent from across the Midwest.

    Cowlumbus isn't bad, but not the same as Chicago. Indy? Meh.

    So why didn't El Reg mention Chicago? Only one reference on the page and its in the list.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: Sloppy Reporting...

      Just to add... in El Reg's defense... several other major news organizations also didn't comment on Chicago.

      (That could be a good thing.)

      Bezos is a Blue man and will probably pick a blue state. California, Illinois, NY are the bluest state.

      Toronto is out... think about all of the border crossings when you have to visit the office. The border agents will constantly harass you about why you're going to Toronto and try to see if you're doing any sales business there. (Which means tax revenue...)

      Atlanta? Traffic sucks. Talent? Meh, there's some.

      Chicago has Google, Groupon, and others. (Boeing, United, Allstate, McDonalds, Miller Brewing, ... )

      Get rid of Madigan and fix the pension issue, and we'll be back to normal.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Get rid of Madigan and fix the pension issue, and we'll be back to normal.

        And the crime issue - I'm sure that is on anyone's mind that looks at Chicago.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          Re: Get rid of Madigan and fix the pension issue, and we'll be back to normal.


          If you take away the gang banging its not that bad. More riff raff all over downtown Seattle than in Chicago.

          In Chicago, there are a couple of neighborhoods you avoid. If Amazon comes in... you'll see river west, river north, and wicker park boom and beyond. Already River North has a lot of construction of housing going on... its getting to the point where its faster to walk or take the EL and then walk to get around in some areas. (Or ride a bike, but I usually travel less than 3 miles so walking is better)

          The only rash of crimes are the increase of car jackings. But that's getting under control.

          Oh and if you want, you can live in the burbs then take Metra. I have a lot of friends who do this.

          Madigan is worse than the crime issue. Besides at least now we have CCW permits.

      2. Blank Reg

        Re: Sloppy Reporting...

        Actually I think Toronto has a very good shot. It makes sense to have a second major headquarters somewhere more sane and stable where you can easily attract top talent from around the world without out having to worry about what the idiot in charge might do next to hamper immigration.

  9. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    I'll split my bet, 65% Atlanta and 35% Raleigh. Both have reasonable rail transportation and Atlanta gets the edge because railway access to nearby shipping ports seems to be far better than Raleigh and they already have some infrastructure there by way of sorting and fulfillment centers.

    Northern cities and cities closer to the east coast will have to deal with weather related headaches like hurricanes and blizzards. The biggest problems with Atlanta and Raleigh are energy related to cooling.

    DC is ridiculous unless you want a political lobbyist base disguised as HQ2. LA & NYC are going to be too expensive. Denver and Indy are tempting but ultimately I think the winter weather will kill their chances and Denver really doesn't have any seaport remotely close by.

    Nashville is a tad too far inland for me but still a possibility. That leaves Dallas and Austin which would both join Nashville as my 3, 4, & 5 if I was picking a top 5 but I'm not even picking a boxed trifecta.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Why on earth do you think a seaport is relevant? This is an HQ site, not a distribution center!

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Why on earth do you think a seaport is relevant? This is an HQ site, not a distribution center!

        Sure but you only really need about a dozen people to run an HQ site. I know lots of companies with their main HQ in places like Bern or Grand Caymen and not more than a few members of the C suite and their assistants. IIRC there was one company that only had one full time employee. Why would states compete to have a handful of people? They wouldn't.

        Amazon has 123 Labs to do their coding and product development for the Alexa and Fire. I'm sure there are plenty of people in a call center in Mumbai to handle customer support. That leaves distribution and AWS and I may not know exactly how many people are permanently employed at one of their large data center/server farm but it takes a few for distribution even with all their robots. The question is then what exactly is going in?

    2. Blank Reg

      Toronto doesn't get blizzards, I can think of maybe 2 in the last 40 years, and none in the last 20. There was a big ice storm a few years ago, but in general severe weather is rare. There are also no earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis. Most other cities on the list get far more severe weather much more often.

      Whoever picked the location of Toronto knew what they were doing. If you head 50km in any direction, including south, then you will see a lot more snow.

  10. a_yank_lurker Silver badge


    How did one of the greatest sewers of humanity make it on the list? Newark has no redeeming features unless you count the PATH train to NYC. Its been a sewer for at least 50 years.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, that is interesting. I moved here five years ago for my current job. The cost of living is reasonable, the airport relatively painless, and everyone is a musician.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best roads and weather for Lambos/Ferraris?

    Those Amazon Execs need somewhere nice to drive their toys.

  13. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Miami, FL

    They might want to pick somewhere further inland and slightly higher above current sea level..

  14. Aodhhan

    Labor is the key.

    You really have to look at the available labor pool, both technical and nontechnical. Technically, heavy cloud experience is a must. So the talent must exist or be convinced to move to the chosen location.

    Labor cost, as well as cost of living will be shared with this. Taxes, taxes, taxes... states willing to make a special deal on tax rate will get a boost in points. Legal political kickbacks for officials will likely be available in some locations. If you're in a conservative leaning city, don't count on winning this.


    Some of the obvious...

    Austin or Dallas - Hah, really, Texas? Asterisk politics here.

    Chicago - High Taxes. High technical labor turnover.

    Denver or anything west of the Mississippi River is probably out. Probably needs to be somewhere a bit closer to the east coast. Denver also has the risk of heavy snow closing airport and ground travel more than 5 days a year.

    Boston, Neward, New York City, DC/Maryland. High labor cost and living costs.

    Canada has different laws. New set of laws and lawyers. Not to mention those pertaining to cloud ops.

    So I'd look at Columbus, Atlanta (just barely), Northern VA as well as both PA locations as the top 5, in no particular order.

    Business friendly, has workforce, can attract talent and cost of living is reasonable. Airports can handle the extra workload and plenty of ground routes available.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: Labor is the key.


      When you consider cost of living and cost of talent... not much different than Seattle. Even our local brew has improved. (Including distilled beverages)

      Taxes can go down if you get rid of Madigan

      What you're missing is transportation. As to high tech talent... You can get OSU grads to come to Chicago... but how many Big10 grads, or Univ of Chicago grads want to go to Cowlumbus?

      (Free clue, I had a cowbell that I picked up at a Clippers game... ;-)

      There's more I can say, but Chicago is a much better option when you consider transportation and logistics. (When you fly in to Cowlumbus... its not going to be a direct flight. Chicago... it usually is. ;-)

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