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.


AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues 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

Is active or passive investing best? You may be surprised
Is active or passive investing best? You may be surprised

It’s hard to believe, but we’re more than halfway through 2018. So far, it’s been a year of market ups and downs. We’ve endured a correction, experienced a rebound, and are now back closer to flat. The recent choppiness makes this a good time to revisit the great debate between active and passive investing. Last year, an email...
Atlanta company eyeing sports betting industry outside Georgia
Atlanta company eyeing sports betting industry outside Georgia

When Inside Injuries launched in 2016, the company was intended to supply fantasy sports players and companies with injury analysis on top players across sports, CEO Tracy Hankin said. Sports betting wasn’t in the company’s sights. A Supreme Court ruling in May, which struck down a federal law outlawing sports betting outside of Nevada...
No, you don’t need a perfect score to be an exceptional borrower

WASHINGTON — I have been told many times that I’m a perfectionist, but I feel that I’m not perfect enough for such a label. Yet it’s true that my life is driven by a relentless report-card-like quest for excellence. This is why I understand people with super-high FICO credit scores who seethe that they have yet to get a perfect...
Man fired after encounter with 'racist' customer. After sharing story, Home Depot offers job back.
Man fired after encounter with 'racist' customer. After sharing story, Home Depot offers job back.

After a man last Thursday approached the checkout at a Home Depot in Albany, New York, staff member Maurice Rucker asked him to leash his dog. That's when the man exploded. » RELATED: Atlanta's Home Depot growing in various ways, but not new stores Rucker, a 60-year-old black man, claimed he was fired Tuesday after defending himself from...
Peach problem: Georgia fruits clobbered again
Peach problem: Georgia fruits clobbered again

Uncooperative weather has taken a jumbo bite out of the Peach State’s peach crop , a second year of pain for growers of the iconic fruit. And similar hardship appears to have eliminated half Georgia’s more lucrative blueberry yield. The difficult years have left Atlanta shoppers in the produce aisle facing the prospect of paying...
More Stories