As Amazon Reconsiders New York, Does Dallas Have Another Chance at HQ2?

Three months ago, Dallas saw its shot for Amazon’s second headquarters slip away. Now the e-commerce giant’s political battles in New York have some people wondering whether Dallas and other cities are back in the game.

Amazon announced in November that it would split its second headquarters between two locations: Long Island City, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, and the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., near Washington, D.C. It said each campus would get 25,000 jobs. A third city, Nashville, won an Amazon operations hub with 5,000 workers.

Dallas was considered a top contender. It was one of a handful of cities to receive a second visit by Amazon officials in August. But it ultimately lost out to the East Coast hubs.

Since then, however, the Seattle-based company has received pushback from politicians and the public, in part over planned economic incentives. Amazon is now rethinking its plan for the large campus in New York and looking into other options, according to a report on Friday by The Washington Post. The report attributes the information to two unnamed people “familiar with the company’s thinking.”

The Dallas Regional Chamber, which spearheaded the North Texas bid, declined to comment through a spokesperson on whether it had been in touch with Amazon since the November decision. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also declined to comment.

Amazon has not leased or purchased land in New York for the project. It said in a prepared statement Friday that it was “focused on engaging with our new neighbors.”

“Whether it’s building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be,” the company said in the statement.

If Amazon did consider an alternative, it could choose from many options. Among them: It could decline its economic incentive package. It could increase the number of employees moving to Nashville and Washington, D.C., and decrease the number heading to New York. Or it could reopen its location search and put the 25,000-person campus elsewhere.

Some Dallas business leaders are making it known that they’d still welcome the company.

“Our region would certainly welcome another opportunity to compete and talk to Amazon officials,” said Chris Wallace, president and CEO of the North Texas Commission, a public-private partnership that advocates for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “We’ve got a region here that’s prime for more relocations of corporate headquarters.”

Wallace said Dallas-Fort Worth would be better able to absorb a large Amazon campus than New York City because it is a giant, sprawling region with a business-friendly climate, an affordable cost of living and a fast-growing population.

“If they can’t work out their location in New York and they have to move their second headquarters to another location, I have no doubt they are going to look to North Texas,” he said.

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SOURCE: The Dallas Morning News, Melissa Repko