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4 Cities Most Likely To Win Amazon's New HQ

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4 Cities Most Likely To Win Amazon's New HQ
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It seems that just about everyone is vying for Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN)’s second headquarters.

In the two weeks since its announcement, more than 100 communities have expressed interest ahead of the Oct. 19 bidding deadline, and despite rumors of a Boston bias, Amazon has assured that it has no pre-existing preferences.

But a few contenders appear worthier than others.

Most Eye-Catching Options

Considering Amazon’s criteria, Loop Capital Markets predicted that New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston would receive the most serious consideration.

“We believe all four of our ‘finalists’ are both relatively business and employee friendly, with strong academic environments and relatively good qualities of life,” analyst Anthony Chukumba wrote in a Tuesday note.

Chukumba analyzed the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas accounting for Amazon’s population and airport specifications as well as other perceived perks, such as the presence of other Fortune 500 companies, proximity to top universities, cost of living and non-vehicular transportation scores.

Both San Francisco and Los Angeles made the initial top four but were ultimately factored out.

“We think the former has too much competition for talent in the region, while the latter lacks a vibrant technology ecosystem,” Chukumba wrote. “In addition, we think Amazon management may want to diversify geographically from the Western U.S.”

Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis-St. Paul rounded out Loop’s top 10. The firm did not consider qualifying Canadian locations, nor did it factor in the appeal of tax breaks.

What Do They Got?

So what do the expected frontrunners bring to the table?

New York City is selling its massive workforce, diverse economy and esteemed intellectual community. Some have pointed to Brooklyn as a plausible development site with a sizeable millennial population. ”New York City is where tech meets the real world,” Mayor Bill de Blasio’s spokesperson said.

Chicago touts its public transportation infrastructure and access to the University of Chicago, University of Loyola and other top colleges. The city has already identified sites in the Old Main Post Office, former Finkl Steel Plant and former Michael Reese Hospital.

Philadelphia has begun crafting a pitch highlighting its 102 colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania; ranked medical facilities; proximity to New York City and Washington, D.C.; transit system; and expanding millennial population.

Boston’s proximity to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, relatively low cost of living, hosting of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) and access to a major airport have allegedly appealed to some Amazon insiders already championing the city, according to Bloomberg sources.

And What About Amazon?

Contenders have little to lose and a lot to gain in shaping their bids. Amazon’s $5 billion construction project and creation of about 50,000 jobs will catalyze significant economic development in the winning city.

But Amazon has major stakes in the game, too.

“Wherever HQ2 ends up, we believe the benefits to Amazon of being able to attract talent from an entirely different pool than Seattle as the company’s headcount continues to burgeon will far outweigh any logistical challenges from operating two headquarters,” Chukumba wrote.

Loop has a $1,200 price target on the stock, which was trading at $969.99 at the time of publication.

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Latest Ratings for AMZN

DateFirmActionFromTo
Oct 2017Credit SuisseMaintainsOutperform
Sep 2017Wells FargoReinstatesOutperform
Sep 2017Loop CapitalInitiates Coverage OnBuy

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Posted-In: Amazon HQ2 Anthony Chukumba Loop Capital MarketsAnalyst Color Top Stories Analyst Ratings Tech General Best of Benzinga

 

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