Amazon executives are close to making a decision on the site of the company’s second headquarters, with representatives visiting the finalist cities and looking into the types of talent the online retailer will be able to bring onboard in each prospective location.
According to news from The Wall Street Journal, the visits commenced in the past few weeks and included stops in Dallas, Chicago, Indianapolis and metropolitan Washington, D.C. According to the WSJ, the cities are providing Amazon with details about the standardized test scores of local high school students as well as answering other questions about the types of talent Amazon could recruit as a result of setting up shop in a certain location. The report noted Amazon isn’t giving too much guidance to the cities it’s visiting other than requesting information about education and talent. The officials, who have two days max to make their pitch, have to come up with other data and information on their own. Amazon has asked the cities to keep this phase of the talks private.
Worried of overselling themselves to the eCommerce giant, many city officials have been forgoing hosting Amazon executives at expensive hotels, with dinners at the governor’s mansion, and offering small gifts; instead, they’re enlisting university officials, younger citizens and professionals who can talk about the talent and growth of the city. Officials are also showing off trendier neighborhoods that would draw younger workers. The WSJ noted that some cities have even taken Amazon executives around via bicycle and/or boat.
“Amazon is working with each HQ2 candidate city to dive deeper on their proposals and share additional information about the company’s plans,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a written statement to the WSJ, confirming site visits were, in fact, taking place. Amazon appears to be leaning toward cities that are more urban in nature and that can handle growth at the company and an influx of well-paid employees.