ZestyEd

Possibility of Nashville becoming Amazon's new second HQ city; 50,000 jobs; $5 billion investment by company

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Maybe losing this because of the transit issue would be a good thing. It might force both sides of the city to realize that we need it and now.

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^ ^ ^...or even better, perhaps if Amazon stipulates they'll make the move if our Transit Plan gets green-lighted and underway pronto, then the citizens and powers-that-be will have the reason to get it going.   : )

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16 minutes ago, markhollin said:

^ ^ ^...or even better, perhaps if Amazon stipulates they'll make the move if our Transit Plan gets green-lighted and underway pronto, then the citizens and powers-that-be will have the reason to get it going.   : )

That's IF the average voter wants the HQ. I mean, the economic windfall will be vast for the city but that's not how many voters will see it. They'll see "World's richest man wants to move 50,000 high paying jobs to the area, thus raising rents and the cost of living and possibly changing the character of the city". Like I have said in the Williamson county thread, they just have to be careful about how they frame the debate about transit. 

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After reading this article I feel Nashville has lot going for them, ie better fit than the bigger Northern cities.  Also  I feel when people hear infrastructure they assume roads but that also includes connectivity (fiber network) and if you look at the actual  RFP it mentions connectivity.   Nashville has been mentioned in PC Mag as having a pretty good Broadband network.

Key Preference and Decision Driver

  • Site/Building - A greenfield site of approximately 100 acres certified or pad ready. (What northern city have this readily available? ) 
  • Capital and Operating Costs - A stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure will be high-priority. 
  • Incentives - land, site preparation, tax credits/exemptions, relocation grants, workforce grants, utility incentives/grants, permitting, and fee reductions
  • Labor Force -  Strong University system. 
  • Logistics – Travel time to an international airport with daily direct flights to Seattle, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. is also an important consideration. (BNA is getting there)
  • Time to Operations – To begin Construction as soon as possible  (What northern city have this can do this? ) 
  • Cultural Community Fit – a diverse population, strong higher-education system, and local government that is eager and willing to work with the company.
  • Community/quality of life - The new headquarters should be in a place where people want to live. (It city!) 

Additional Information

  • Connectivity - Ensuring optimal fiber connectivity is paramount at our HQ2 location

 

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I have always wondered if an airport rapid transit line has been considered for a quick(er) and cheap(er) alternative to serve the airport. As below....

37104948815_1b08c2ac22_c.jpg

A few comments;

  • A two-way line would have to go down Donelson Pike and a wider gauge may preclude that.
  • There would only be one line from downtown to Donelson Pike, so frequency of trains would be a problem.
  • It would be a shared line, so the line would have to be closed during parts of the day to accommodate the short line operation.
  • A couple of bridges (one over the river...$$$) could connect pieces of short line downtown to provide continuity all the way to the campus.

I may have answered my own question with the above comments, but as a more immediate solution to serving a River North campus, it might be worth even a temporary fix to draw the Amazon HQ2 to take a serious look at the City.

 

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59 minutes ago, ZestyEd said:

After reading this article I feel Nashville has lot going for them, ie better fit than the bigger Northern cities.  Also  I feel when people hear infrastructure they assume roads but that also includes connectivity (fiber network) and if you look at the actual  RFP it mentions connectivity.   Nashville has been mentioned in PC Mag as having a pretty good Broadband network.

Key Preference and Decision Driver

  • Labor Force -  Strong University system. 

 

There was a strong University system; TBR is no longer a "university" system.

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Sorry folks, while I'm all for the state and metro pursuing the remote possibility, I'm a realist...  Chances of Amazon picking Nashville .are about the same as the chances of the IOC picking Nashville for the Olympic Games.

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29 minutes ago, Hey_Hey said:

At this point there are so many possibilities that no one city has a great chance of getting the HQ.  Who knows how they will balance out the somewhat competing interests of mass transit systems (typically higher tax places) with business friendly places (typically lower tax places). Regardless, it is interesting to think about what Nashville's package would have to include to lure them here.  The 50,000 employee vision is not going to happen overnight, so whatever city is awarded the HQ is going to have 10 years to grow and adapt to the influx of office workers. 

I agree with most here that the River North location is the most interesting. It will take coordination with the property owner, the city, and the state to develop a viable proposal that is attractive. I dare say there aren't many cities which have 100+ acres in their core that could be targeted for the HQ, and it opens unique possibilities for Amazon in regards to housing and living needs for employees.   Is it possible that a deal could be made that would plan for a half dozen office buildings with 750,000-1,25 million sq ft of office space intermixed with 5000 residential units targeting their employees? 

This could be the leverage that the city needs for the state to pony up and improve infrastructure into and out of downtown.  Upgrading the Music City Star service could be coupled with the incentive package and the state could also provide funds to start construction on the Gallatin Pk LRT propsoal.  The state could also fund sorely needed upgrades to I-24 along the eastern side of the River North property. 

This could also spur development at the airport. We already have London service now, but could the state and city secure additional flights to Frankfurt, Paris, or Amsterdam in Europe and Tokyo in Japan and unveil that as part of the incentive?  This could also be the stimulus needed to get everyone on board for building a LRT connection between downtown and the airport. 

Of course, all of these improvements would help all of downtown and Nashville and not just Amazon, so it is more than just a targeted incentive plan.  However, it would a couple of their big ticket items that they are looking for. 

I can't imagine the River North people not being completely on board with this, if amazon shows interest. It's a constant battle for developers to gain tenants to buildings to secure financing, they're not going to hardball one of the largest companies in the world that basically wants to lease the entire region haha. 

 

International flights are definitely a plus (and more would follow any announcement), but as someone else noted, Nashville has service to the main regions that amazon would need service to: Seattle (2-3 flights daily), Bay Area (4 flights daily), New York (15+ flights daily) and Washington D.C. (10 or so flights daily). Like you note, this build-up would take a few years, so the flights would definitely happen as they're needed. 

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I've doubted Nashville's ability to shock the world before, and been soundly eaten a giant serving of crow as a result... but there is absolutely no way we're getting this.  None.  If we had invested in our neighborhoods and mass transit and the like long before now instead of bickering over price tags and routes, we might have a shot, but as things currently stand, we don't stand a chance in hell.  I *LOVE* the fact that the city's leadership made a bid though.  

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They are calling this the Eastern HQ. So, IMO you can take out anything west of the Mississippi and for that matter they may want to be in the eastern time zone.

The mass tranist issue mentioned above is a sound argument as well. Austin, Pittsburg, and for that matter Charlotte's mass transit are weak at best.

Cincinnati,  Columbus, and Indy do not have viable mass transit either.

My guess is that Atlanta may be the front runner, however, the mass transit is overshadowed by the traffic problems due to the love affair with the car.

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If River North's 105 acres are going to be seriously considered, the flooding issue will definitely need to be addressed.  Or, if they are going to look at any properties near the riverfront in CBD/SoBro, the flood wall proposal on the west bank will need to be thoroughly addressed as well.

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Does Atlanta have any easily developable land in its core (midtown, downtown, Burkhead) that is the size required from amazon, like we do with River North? I don't really know a ton about Atlanta's geography. 

Edited by Pdt2f

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5 hours ago, markhollin said:

Just playing around with some ideas here:

Of the 55 metro areas that have 1+ million population (one of the main requirements for HQ2 locale), 26 of them have at least 33% with a bachelors degree or higher.  Nashville has 33.6% of the population that fits that criteria, and comes in at #22 on that list.  So, we're at least in the top 40% of cities to be considered when it comes to those two requirements. 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-hq2-cities-location-choices-new-second-headquarters/

I don't think it will make much sense for Amazon to have their second national HQ in the same time zone as Seattle, so that would knock out LA (which is also lower in than Nashville in % of bachelors degree or higher), San Fran, Portland, San Diego, and San Jose.  So that brings Nashville into the Top 18.

It would seem that a few cities are just too small to have the infrastructure to support such a massive endeavor, nor the ability to absorb such a high influx of additional population in a decade's time.  That would rule out Richmond and Rochester (I keep Hartford and Raleigh on the list because they are parts of larger population cells in their immediate neighborhoods). So, that moves Nashville into the Top 16.

When it comes to metro areas that would have significant acreage in urban/downtown environments that could support the type of campus being solicited for HQ2, I think these remaining cities might have difficulty:  Washington DC (they are not allowed to build anything taller 130 feet in the D.C.) and Boston.  That puts Nashville in Top 14. 

Cost of living/cost of business/taxation could make these remaining cities less desirable: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.  That puts Nashville in the Top 11.

I think weather might make the Twin Cities not that appealing (beautiful summers, but long/harsh winters).  That leaves Nashville in the Top 10:

All of those things being mentioned, I still think that Dallas and Pittsburgh should still be on the list even though they rank slightly lower than Nashville in % of bachelor and higher degrees , so that takes it back to 12 markets.

So, here is an interesting list that will get the most consideration (ranked here just on population):

Dallas/Ft. Worth

Atlanta

Denver

Charlotte

Pittsburgh

Kansas City

Austin

Columbus

Nashville

Milwaukee

Raleigh

Hartford

Of this list, the only ones that have better mass transit than Nashville are Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, Charlotte, Hartford, Austin (just one light rail line), and Pittsburgh (just downtown).  The others really don't have any at this point that I'm aware of, other than buses.  There are several  of these that have mass transit concepts on the table like Nashville.

Additionally, even though they might not have a bachelor degree (and higher) pool %  like Nashville, I still think Houston, Miami, Phoenix, Orlando, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Norfolk, and Jacksonville could be in the mix.

So, in summary, I believe Nashville will definitely be in the Top 20 of cities being considered, and might even make the Top 10. 

 

 

I wouldn't count Detroit (the dark horse) out either, as it actually has quite a bit going for it.

1. Dan Gilbert

2. DTW is Delta's 2nd busiest hub (Seattle is also a Delta hub). It also has relatively new / modern terminals / concourses that are fairly underutilized and could use the extra traffic.

3. Low COL relative to other 5+ million metro areas and extremely cheap real estate (thus the $5 billion investment would go a LOT further).

4. It's home to University of Michigan, one of the top public universities in the country.

5. While it lacks a serious transit system, it arguably has the best road system of any metro area. You can get just about anywhere in about 30-45 minutes (even during rush hour).

6. Jeff Bezos, being the narcissist he is, would love nothing more than to say he played a big part in Detroit's comeback.

7.  It's been named the safest city in the US from natural disaster (no hurricanes,  no tsunamis, minimal tornados / earthquakes). Jeff Bezos is a huge Global Warming nut, so I have no doubt this will be a consideration. 

8.  It is the epicenter of Autonomous vehicle development, if Amazon wants to get involved in that.

9. Abundant fresh water (thus no drought concerns) and shoreline for recreation

4 hours ago, smeagolsfree said:

Been doing some thinking about this some more and the reality is there is probably not going to be a perfect city but a city that can pony up the most money and tax credits.

 

The River North location is almost perfect for this use as it will be isolated in a degree like a suburban campus but in an urban setting. I will say a lot of these cities do not have the land in their core that could acomadate a project like this.

Yea, im back and forth, but every city has its strenghts and weaknesses. 

A couple points to keep in mind:

1. Seattle had fairly mediocre mass transit before Amazon came along and blossomed. So knowing that, it may end up not being a dealbreaker.

2. Amazon's "HQ" in Seattle consists of 33 mid / high rises scattered through Seattle. I don't think Amazon's looking for some huge contiguous piece of land for their headquarters.

Edited by urbanplanet17
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2 hours ago, Pdt2f said:

Does Atlanta have any easily developable land in its core (midtown, downtown, Burkhead) that is the size required from amazon, like we do with River North? I don't really know a ton about Atlanta's geography. 

Absolutely.  But Amazon isn't necessarily looking for downtown sites.   https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/Anything/test/images/usa/RFP_3._V516043504_.pdf

According to Amazon, Amazon wants to be within 30 miles of the population center with access to mass transit on site, within 45 minutes from an international airport, and with 500,000 square feet available by 2019.  The Doraville project in Atlanta (massive, former GM assembly plant, 165 acres) fits that description.  It's got a MARTA station on site, it's adjacent to I-285 and I-85, it's just 15 miles or so from downtown Atlanta.   Right now, the only confirmed tenants are a film studio and a new, 250,000 sq ft HQ for Serta/Simmons mattresses.  Doraville is even larger than the old Ford assembly plant near the Atlanta airport which was redeveloped as the North American HQ for Porsche, complete with a test course.

Assembly_Yards_Site_Plan.jpg

https://atlanta.curbed.com/2017/5/8/15553910/assembly-doraville-serta-simmons

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Atlanta also has the 68-acre Turner Field development just south of downtown that could work for Amazon.  Georgia State University is renovating Turner Field into its football stadium, otherwise those 68 acres are pretty much a blank slate.  While I would dearly love to see Amazon choose Nashville, I just can't see how Nashville could beat out Atlanta for this.

TFNSLCI_View_Aerial_PW_2016.jpg

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10 hours ago, jmtunafish said:

Absolutely.  But Amazon isn't necessarily looking for downtown sites.   https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/Anything/test/images/usa/RFP_3._V516043504_.pdf

According to Amazon, Amazon wants to be within 30 miles of the population center with access to mass transit on site, within 45 minutes from an international airport, and with 500,000 square feet available by 2019.  The Doraville project in Atlanta (massive, former GM assembly plant, 165 acres) fits that description.  It's got a MARTA station on site, it's adjacent to I-285 and I-85, it's just 15 miles or so from downtown Atlanta.   Right now, the only confirmed tenants are a film studio and a new, 250,000 sq ft HQ for Serta/Simmons mattresses.  Doraville is even larger than the old Ford assembly plant near the Atlanta airport which was redeveloped as the North American HQ for Porsche, complete with a test course.

Assembly_Yards_Site_Plan.jpg

https://atlanta.curbed.com/2017/5/8/15553910/assembly-doraville-serta-simmons

That would be a pretty awful location for a company like Amazon, given that it's smack dab in suburbia and its distance from Hartsfield-Jackson (especially with Atlanta's traffic).

From what I rather reading the Atlanta forums, they would want to target the vacant land on the southern edge of downtown (where Underground Atlanta used to be), which IMO would be far more ideal for their purposes as well as Amazon's.

Edited by urbanplanet17

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