Experts (well, some) predict Amazon will pick Atlanta


A company that specializes in comparing communities, making lists of best and worst, has surveyed the various bets on Amazon’s new headquarters and predicted a Georgia choice.

Seattle-based Amazon recently narrowed its list of potential cities for its second headquarters from several hundred down to 20 – Atlanta and 19 other metro areas in the United States and Canada.

The prize will be a massive project that include 50,000 well-paid tech and corporate workers.

Government officials vying for the headquarters have been frenetically trying to out-do each other with taxpayer-funded largesse for Amazon, which last fiscal year had revenues of about $136 billion.

“Trust us - it’s going to be Atlanta,” wrote Sperling’s BestPlaces, after evaluating 18 other rankings of potential locations for Amazon’s much-desired second headquarters.

“We created one huge super-study which tallied how each location performed and from that, we generated a score for each place,” Sperling wrote.

Sperling’s “Amazon HQ Hyper-Ranking” didn’t even have New York or Dallas in the top five. Behind Atlanta, Sperling ranked Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Also putting their money on Atlanta was GBH Insights, a New York-based, data-centric consulting company, according to US News &World Report.

Needless to say, not everyone agrees that winning is good in all ways for the chosen city. And not everyone believes in the inevitability of Atlanta.

The Wall Street Journal ranked Dallas as the best bet. A study by Reis Inc., a real estate research firm, concluded that New York City was the best choice.

And Forbes columnist Peter Cohan said it’s a “no brainer.” It has to be Boston, he wrote.

“How do I know? Of the 20 cities in the semifinals announced January 18, none have the quality of the Boston area’s universities. And none of the contenders produce as many talented graduates with skills in engineering, science, mathematics, and business.”

There were other criteria, he admitted. And Boston is expensive – although nowhere near as expensive as New York.

“The reality is that for a headquarters location, the key question for Amazon – and just about any company these days that depends on brainpower to compete – is where does the best talent come from and where does it want to be.”

And Cohan must be completely unbiased. After all, he teaches business strategy at Babson College, which is at least 19 miles west… of Boston.

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