Georgia recruiters crowdsourcing for sites to pitch Amazon for HQ2

Got 100 acres or more to sell? Is it near a bus or MARTA rail line, and within 45 minutes of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport?

If the answers are yes to those questions, the Georgia Department of Economic Development wants to hear from you. The state’s top recruiting agency has set up a web page to essentially crowdsource locations to pitch to e-commerce giant Amazon as part of the state’s pitch for what the company calls HQ2, a new corporate hub where Amazon says it’ll one-day house 50,000 jobs.

Atlanta is competing with just about every other large metropolitan area in North America for the new second headquarters. HQ2 could potentially total more than 8 million square feet of office space, and Amazon has said its new jobs would pay an average of more than $100,000 a year.

“Amazon is performing a competitive site selection process and is considering metro regions in North America for its second corporate headquarters,” the web page says. “If you feel like your community or property meets or exceeds the needs of the project described in the RFP (request for proposals), and have a site to submit – please fill out this form and submit to the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) for consideration.”

Headquarters recruiting is often a secretive business, and the state economic development team declined to comment on the web page. 

But the web page is a novel approach by the state to find a broader pool of potential sites around the metro area that recruiters might not have considered. 

The form also asks about fiber internet capabilities, cellular service, whether it’s within 2 miles of a major highway and if there’s room for expansion on the property or nearby to 8 million square feet of office space. Those requirements are contained in Amazon’s RFP.

Amazon triggered what many observers expect to be a bidding war Sept. 7 when it outlined its demands: a metro area of 1 million or more people, a “business-friendly environment” with links to international airports, a high quality of living and transit.

Some have equated the hunt for HQ2 with a bid for an Olympic Games, except here the prize isn’t a few summer weeks of tourists and international attention, but jobs and investment from one of the world’s best-known companies. 

Most economic analysts have Atlanta among the potential finalists. The list of likely sites that could house the mammoth campus include downtown Atlanta’s Gulch, the former General Motors plant in Doraville, Fort McPherson south of downtown and even the High Street site near Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody.

The city of Atlanta has other candidates, including several sites along the Beltline and the project backed by development firm Carter in the parking lots north of the former Turner Field.

The state and city could also assemble land on the city’s Westside. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, has plans for substantial redevelopment of its Technology Enterprise Park where Amazon might make a good fit.

Bids are due Oct. 19, and the company will decide by next year.

At a Tuesday event at the new Honeywell North American Software Center and division headquarters in Midtown, leaders touted the state’s success in recruiting new and expanding businesses. Amazon was on the minds of many in the room.

Pat Wilson, the state’s chief recruiter and the commissioner of the Department of Economic Development, said Gov. Nathan Deal has made clear Amazon’s project is a big deal.

“We have some amazing assets to sell. That’s what Honeywell bought,” Wilson said. “All of that adds up to a great story, whether you are an Amazon or you’re an automaker or you are a distribution center. All that adds up to a great equation for Georgia.”

Related coverage

Accenture to announce big Midtown tech expansion

Amazon’s ‘HQ2’ proposal likely to fetch bids from Atlanta, other cities

Honeywell hiring up for Midtown Atlanta hub


AJC Business reporter J. Scott Trubey keeps you updated on the latest news about economic development and commercial real estate in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

UPS mechanics union takes out ads to turn up heat in contract talks
UPS mechanics union takes out ads to turn up heat in contract talks

The Teamsters union representing UPS aircraft mechanics is taking out ads amid heated labor contract talks with management. The national advertising campaign running in the Seattle Times and editions of USA Today in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other areas, as well as on Facebook and Instagram, says: “What every American should...
Atlanta’s Equifax faces bumpy road, but expected to survive
Atlanta’s Equifax faces bumpy road, but expected to survive

Equifax is nearing the end of an embarrassing, awful year. Since announcing in September that hackers had accessed its data on more than 145 million consumers, the Atlanta-based company has been dealing with sustained backlash. And there’s more to come as the credit reporting agency steers through a slew of obstacles, from the costs of placating...
CBS, PBS fire Charlie Rose following allegations of unwanted sexual advances
CBS, PBS fire Charlie Rose following allegations of unwanted sexual advances

CBS said Tuesday that it has fired Charlie Rose "effective immediately," following an extensive Washington Post report that detailed alleged unwanted sexual advances toward women by the 75-year-old broadcaster. His firing was announced by CBS News president David Rhodes, who wrote in a midday memo to the network's staff that the action "...
Kempner: Confessions on the laziest, most-popular Christmas gift idea
Kempner: Confessions on the laziest, most-popular Christmas gift idea

Year after year, we return to the holiday season and ponder what special gifts would bring joy to friends and loved ones. And, once again, most Americans somehow arrive at the same answer: a plastic card. Or, increasingly, a digital equivalent of one. Gift cards are pretty much the easiest, fastest gift to give on the face of the Earth. (I know: unless...
City sells Civic Center to Atlanta Housing Authority for redevelopment
City sells Civic Center to Atlanta Housing Authority for redevelopment

The Atlanta Housing Authority has closed on its purchase of the Civic Center property, a key step in a planned $300 million-plus redevelopment of the aging performing arts center into a mixed-use, mixed-income development. Mayor Kasim Reed and Catherine Buell, the CEO of AHA, said 30 percent of future housing units will be designated as affordable...
More Stories