Some commentators believe St. Louis would be a great location to put Amazon’s second headquarters, known as HQ2, because it would revitalize the region, but the New York Times’ data team, the Upshot, doesn’t believe the city meets all the requirements the company is looking for.
Dustin McKissen, the founder and CEO of McKissen + Company, a business public relations firm, supported bringing Amazon to the St. Louis area to improve the region socially.
“(N)o city is more of a microcosm of America than St. Louis,” he writes. St. Louis typifies America’s struggle with race, which would give Amazon an “opportunity to show that large tech companies ... can be vehicles for disproportionately positive social and economic change.”
McKissen, the vice president of entrepreneurship and marketing for the St. Charles County Economic Council, said that the article was his own personal opinion and not a paid-for piece. In it, he pointed to how St. Louis has a strong start-up culture and is ranked highly as a good place to live as more reasons why HQ2 should be built here.
It’s the latest national piece encouraging Amazon to bring HQ2 — and the 50,000 jobs associated with it — to St. Louis.
In September, Gov. Bruce Rauner said he supported both the Chicago and St. Louis bids to land the project.
That move, though, was not welcomed by Crain’s, which said the governor was betraying the state by supporting the St. Louis bid.
“(D)on’t expect Amazon to open offices in East St. Louis or Alton,” Joe Cahill wrote in the Crain’s piece. If it goes there, Missouri will want “every last dollar” Amazon invests in their state in exchange for the incentive package that it’ll get.
Moreover, if Rauner supports St. Louis, then he casts doubt on Chicago, Cahill wrote, suspecting his double-talk was to appease downstate voters with an election year coming up. But, Cahill pointed out, “metro Chicago has a lot more votes than Metro East.”
It’s a move that Ross Douthat, a columnist for the New York Times, says Amazon should meet me in St. Louis.
Instead of plunking itself down in a coastal city where young creative types live, Amazon could choose from any number of smaller cities in the heartland, Douthat writes. And St. Louis, “a once-great metropolis fallen on hard times, the major urban center for a large spread of Trump county, the geographic center of the country and the historic bridge between East and West,” could be the best pick of the litter.
Although the company has to choose the location that makes the most sense for its business, Amazon, if it wants to avoid utility-style regulations, may want to pick a location that sends a message that it is trying to benefit the country, Douthat writes.
Despite the national support for St. Louis, the New York Times’ data team, the Upshot, ultimately picked Denver as the best location for Amazon based on four criteria provided by the company about what it’s looking for.
St. Louis failed the first round of Upshot cutoffs — strong job growth — but it’s unclear whether this was the exact idea Amazon meant by “stable business climate for growth.” Still, “sentimental picks like Detroit” (and probably St. Louis) were removed from consideration for the exact reasons why Douthat considered it a good pick: revitalization.
Chicago was also removed because of Illinois’ financial situation.
Reporters then whittled 25 metropolitan areas down to 14 based on their populations of computer programmers. Then it nixed five more areas for their “quality of life,” and five more were removed for access to mass transit.
The final four — Portland, Denver, Boston and Washington, D.C. — were evaluated based on their state and local governments’ predisposition to tax breaks. Only Denver survived.
The losers might not be too upset, though, as not everyone thinks landing the project will be good for the winning city.