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Austin Is A Tepid Contender For Amazon's HQ2

Wikimedia Commons/U.S federal government (public domain)
Then-U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter (center) tours Amazon's headquarters in Seattle in 2016.

From Texas Standard:

One question Amazon's Alexa won't be able to answer – at least not yet – is where Amazon will build its next headquarters.

It's been a year since the tech company announced it has outgrown its Seattle home base and needs to expand elsewhere. But the $1 trillion company has been tight-lipped about where that might be.

Since that announcement, 238 U.S. cities ingratiated themselves to the company, trying to win its favor. Amazon whittled that list of bids to 20 finalists, and among them are Austin and Dallas.

But that was in January. Austin American-Statesman 512Tech Reporter Sebastian Herrera says it's true Amazon has been secretive throughout the bidding process – cities typically submitted bids to Amazon though chambers of commerce, which aren't public institutions and aren't held to the same public-information laws that give journalists access to documents. But he does have some insight into which way the company might sway.

Herrera says Dallas and Austin are taking very different approaches to getting Amazon’s attention.

“[In] Dallas, the mayor has been very outspoken about wanting that development to happen in the city,” Herrera says. “Mayor Adler in Austin hasn’t said much. It’s definitely been a different attitude.”

Herrera estimates that Dallas would be more equipped to accommodate HQ2 because it's a bigger city, it has a bigger airport and its transportation is more suitable for the needs of Amazon employees. The one downside is that Dallas isn't Austin; it doesn’t have the same livability as the capital city. Herrera says people love living there, and it has a thriving tech culture along with the prestigious University of Texas.

But for some Austinites, the prospect of Amazon moving to the city is less than thrilling.

“We’ve heard a lot of concerns from Austin residents about the project,” Herrera says. “People are worried about the culture of Austin maybe being different if this huge company comes here and kinda basically takes over like it has in Seattle.”  

Written by Morgan Kuehler.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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