Don't listen to what you read anywhere else. Call it a hunch. Call it conjecture. Call it whatever you want. I believe Atlanta is landing Amazon HQ2. I also believe that I know where it is going.
Where Amazon HQ2 WON'T Go
- Turner Field
- Fort McPherson
- The Doraville GM Plant
Where Amazon HQ2 WILL Go
- THE GULCH
- It is centrally located - It is in the middle of downtown Atlanta, adjacent to Phillip's Arena and the new Mercedes Benz Dome.
- It has transit - It is on the Five Points MARTA station, which goes N, S, E & W.
- It is big enough - 23 acres will support that level of vertical development.
- It has greenspace - Centennial Park + the areas around the Benz
- It has access to talent - GA State and Georgia Tech are proximate.
- It has social impact in spades...
- The Blanks, Cathys and Invest Atlanta are pouring money into the surrounding neighborhoods. This would be gasoline on that fire.
- It would likely be the catalyst that saves THREE Historically Black Colleges (Morehouse, Spellman & Clark Atlanta)
- Via MARTA, It provides access to all levels of housing.
- There is a retail district being revived right next door - Newport RE has purchased 48 properties south of Downtown in 26 closings in the last many months.
- Georgia & Atlanta can afford HQ2 - Atlanta and Georgia have the healthiest balance sheets of any candidate cities. We are AAA bond rated, and our pension obligations are in the black. If asked to bend financially over backward, we can afford to do it.
Finally, what is Amazon likely to ask for here (beyond the obvious)?
- Complete the entire Beltline RIGHT NOW - This is a quality of life investment.
- Expanded educational programs at low/no cost - Amazon will expect the city/state to foot the bill for spitting out willing, able and prepared workers with skill sets specific to their needs.
- Continued infrastructure/transit investment - We have $2.5B in the hopper. Expect them to ask us to double that.
That said, what is the halo-effect of 50,000 high-paying jobs? Is it worth it? I'm sure I missed something, but I think I am right. What say you?