Friday, October 20, 2017

Last Call For Battle Of The Amazon

Like plenty of other North American cities, Cincinnati is prostrating itself to Jeff Bezos and Amazon for the lure of 50,000 potential jobs as the company plans a second HQ outside Seattle.  Cities had until yesterday to submit a bid and Cincy Mayor John Cranley threw the Queen City's hat into the ring with dozens of other metropolitan centers across the US, Mexico and Canada this week.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says the region can win the bid for Amazon's second headquarters. 
Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky submitted a joint proposal. They're competing against dozens of other cities and regions across the country. 
Cranley says this area has the best story to tell. 
"We have the best combination of assets that is looking for," Cranley says. "I'm not here to promise you that we will win, but I promise you that we will be taken seriously and that we have a real chance to win this bid." 
Cranley is providing few details about what's in the region's proposal. He says the city is offering Amazon the same tax incentive package General Electric received to locate a headquarters at The Banks.

Many of the bid details are protected by confidentiality agreements. The proposal was partly compiled by REDI Cincinnati, which is a private operation and not subject to state open records laws. 
City Manager Harry Black praised the regional proposal and the people who cooperated to put it together. He tells reporters Cincinnati is one of the most desirable destinations in the country. 
"We have higher ed, we've got medicine, we've got the arts and culture, we've got technology, we've got a dynamic and impactful business ecosystem here," Black says. "So if Amazon knows what's good for itself, it will select Cincinnati."

To be fair, the reasons Cranley and Black list are the reasons why Amazon opened a Midwest distribution hub here in NKY by the airport.  Cincy has always been a pretty good central location for reaching several East coast and Midwest states and cities.

But what makes sense for a distribution center operation doesn't really translate into a company HQ.  Cincy is home to some Fortune 500 heavy hitters like Kroger and Proctor and Gamble, but it's not a top ten population center like New York or Chicago or LA or even a second-tier US city like Miami or Denver or Atlanta.

I don't expect Cincy to make it through even the first round.  Amazon is going to go to whoever gives them the billions in tax incentives they are looking for, and that will be a city that has both the resources and the shamelessness to debase their economy to give it to them at the cost of taxpayers and voters.  Cincy's not that town.

I would expect Texas will win the day, or Florida.  Both have real need for immediate infrastructure investments after various hurricanes this year and it's a buyer's market for Amazon, and everyone knows it.  Texas seems to have their stuff together more in this regard.

My money's on Dallas/Houston/San Antonio, with Houston being a feel-good story of the year, even though I'm sure the deal Amazon will get from that city will be a disaster in the long-run. Let's not forget that Amazon is a major US corporation and will gleefully screw over anyone they can to make profit.

Cincy will come out ahead.

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