Thanks to its massive HQ2 contest, Amazon stockpiled top secret data and future development plans from cities across the U.S. and Canada. The tech giant has yet to pick the location for its second global headquarters (the first being in Seattle), but what it learned about the 237 reject cities could still come in handy, Axios reports.
A year ago, Amazon invited cities to propose why they'd be the best home for HQ2, requesting larger metropolitan areas with effective transit systems. The promise of 50,000 full-time, high-paying jobs lured 238 applicants, who spilled transit improvement plans, potential tax incentives, and other hopes for the future to the company. Those details might still be a secret to residents and even some city leaders, Brookings Institution expert Joe Parilla tells Axios.
Amazon will only bestow its thousands of HQ2 jobs on one lucky city, and it has narrowed its search down to 20 finalists. But unlike its competitors, Amazon knows what 237 other areas have to offer. Those secrets could come in handy as Amazon looks to build smaller data centers, research and development facilities, and more, Parilla tells Axios.
The potential jobs that come with those builds would prove a huge benefit for communities. Yet by proposing tax breaks and financial incentives to reel in HQ2, these cities also laid all their cards on the table. Now Amazon knows what everyone can provide, and it could force cities to fork over HQ2-level deals for far fewer jobs. Read more about Amazon's data powerhouse at Axios. Kathryn Krawczyk