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See Amazon's HQ2 picks

Take a look at the two cities where Amazon will build its new headquarters.

Posted: Nov 14, 2018 9:40 AM
Updated: Nov 14, 2018 10:14 AM

Amazon's search for a second headquarters was never just about finding a new home.

Throughout the process, Amazon skillfully obtained data from 238 cities and metro areas in North America for free, including proprietary information about real estate sites under development, details about their talent pool, local labor cost and what incentives cities and states were willing to cough up to bring the company to town.

"Amazon was not going through this exercise to pick a single HQ2," said Richard Florida, a leading urbanist and professor at the University of Toronto. "It was part of a broader effort -- a corporate relocation strategy -- to crowdsource a wide variety of data."

That's consistent with how Amazon normally operates as a data-driven company, according to Michael Lenox, a strategy expert at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.

"I think it was unique for the cities to be asked that level of detail," he said.

This was especially true for the 20 cities on Amazon's short list, which handed over even more information throughout the process beyond their initial proposals. For example, those cities submitted a comprehensive request for information (RFI) from Amazon following the company's site visits, containing a multitude of detailed questions about talent, real estate, regulations and more.

Amazon itself has said it would use the information from the process when considering opening new facilities, such as warehouses and smaller corporate offices.

And that's already happening. On Tuesday, the company announced that it would open an East Coast hub in Nashville, which was on the HQ2 short list. It will hire 5,000 workers for the facility, which will focus on customer fulfillment, transportation and supply chain activities. (The announcement came at the same time as Amazon's HQ2 decision: New York's Long Island City neighborhood and Virginia's Arlington will split duty as its second headquarters.)

Even contenders not on the short list are already getting investments from Amazon. Since the HQ2 search started, Amazon has announced fulfillment centers in Spokane, Washington, and Ottawa, as well as a new office in Vancouver with jobs in fields like machine learning and cloud computing.

Amazon also could use the information obtained in the HQ2 process to better pinpoint where the best talent is located in the United States.

"At the heart of this is talent," said UVA's Lenox. "Having a better understanding of where talent may reside across the US is valuable to them. It may help with future recruiting."

Data could also give Amazon an advantage in future negotiations with communities, especially if they know what incentives are available.

"Amazon can go back and say, 'You barked up these incentives for HQ2. But what can you do for me now?'" University of Toronto's Florida said.

However, there could be downsides. For example, cities may not be as willing to offer the same big incentives for a smaller facility and some proposed real estate sites may no longer be available in a few years.

Either way, Amazon walks away a winner. It has two new headquarters to call home, and a wealth of data on where to go next.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154411

Reported Deaths: 3836
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
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Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
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Tate177051
Union171026
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Pike164758
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Scott157930
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Simpson151953
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Adams144451
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Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
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George126425
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Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
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Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
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