21 reactions to Amazon's reported plan to split HQ2 between 2 cities

Reports surfaced last week that Amazon plans to divide its second headquarters between two locations, most likely Crystal City, Va., Dallas or New York City.

The surprise announcement was met with mixed responses. Here are 21 reactions to Amazon's HQ2 plans from local officials, columnists and business executives based in the 20 finalist cities and Seattle:

1. Atlanta Gov. Nathan Deal told Bisnow Atlanta he didn't believe the city was out of the running yet. "It's never over until the fat lady sings, and I haven't heard a fat lady singing yet," he said, adding, "We don't need an Amazon. We stand ready to do whatever we need to do ... but we're not going to have our hearts broken if they decide to go somewhere else.”

2. Austin Mayor Steve Adler told ABCNews affiliate KVUE: "We have huge traffic issues and affordability issues in our city. We can't do anything to exacerbate those challenges. So if anybody moves to Austin, any big company moves to Austin, those would be the conversations we would have."

3. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told CBS Boston: "Boston is a great, world-class city. I think it would be a perfect setting, a home for HQ2 for Amazon. You know, I think that if we don't get it, and I said it from the beginning, I'm not going to be necessarily disappointed because we've added 20,000 jobs a year for the last five years, and you know people want to be in the city, and if we get it, we'll be prepared for it."

4. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said on ABC7 Chicago: "As fun as it is to speculate on rumors, we're not playing that parlor game. We've led the nation in corporate relocations for five years in a row because of the strengths of Chicago's talent, transportation, training, technology and transparency. That's a record we will continue to build on."

5. Columbus columnist Joe Blundo, who writes for The Columbus Dispatch, made a "last-ditch effort" to woo Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: "Columbus would come at Bezos like a slobbering puppy. The Ohio State University Marching Band would perform Script Bezos at home games. We would let him park anywhere he pleased in the Short North. We would name our children Bezos."

6. Crystal City, an urban neighborhood in Arlington, Va., is rumored to be a potential winner. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told WTOP Radio, "A lot of us are anxiously awaiting a decision." He added, "We're in a good position with the way we train our workforce, the talent that we have in Northern Virginia and the greater Washington area and so I think we've got a great chance at the end of the day."

7. Dallas' Shawn Shinneman, the online managing editor of D Magazine, wrote: "What we can say with certainty right now is that throughout the seemingly endless process, Amazon has earned an incredible amount of free advertising … An incredible amount of free advertising, man! At the Dallas Morning News, we have 265 stories that mention 'HQ2.' That's more than one every other day. The Dallas Business Journal has 315 stories with that phrase inside. At the Star-Telegram, which seems to have stopped writing about its chances after Amazon's top 20 contenders list named Dallas — not really specifying whether that meant the whole region or just the city — we still have 43 mentions. If you're wondering, we've chimed in 21 — check that, 22— times."

8. Denver's bid process was managed by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., which had not been notified it was disqualified from the process when reports surfaced about splitting the headquarters, according to its vice president of economic development, Sam Bailey. "The Amazon HQ2 project has been immensely beneficial in generating exposure for our diversified economy, advanced industries and communities throughout Colorado and the Denver metro region," Mr. Bailey said, according to The Denver Post.

9. Indianapolis-area business leaders believe their city could be the site of a future Amazon project, if not HQ2. Tim Cook, CEO of KSM Location Advisors in Carmel, Ind., told the Indianapolis Star, "One thing I had suspected for a long time is Amazon is looking at these different cities and evaluating what would be good markets to do other projects in." He added, "Even if it's not a headquarters project, maybe it's a different project. I don't think the story is closed yet on what could still be in this for Indianapolis, even if they don't get the headquarters."

10. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNBC in August that the city was proud to be "the only West Coast city to be considered for the second round. Los Angeles is now the third-largest economy of any city in the world, after Tokyo, and we're almost the size of New York. We graduate more engineers than any city around. Whether it's logistics, the creative capital, manufacturing, international trade, we think Los Angles offers something that's very different than any city in America, so we're honored to be in that mix."

11. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said Amazon is still asking them for information related to their bid. "There has not been radio silence," he told Miami Herald.

12. Montgomery County, Md., is relatively close to Crystal City, the rumored site of one of Amazon's HQ2 locations. Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Maryland Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., told Maryland Matters, "Anything that comes to the region is going to benefit the region."

13. Nashville (Tenn.) Technology Council CEO Brian Moyer told the Tennessean he was disappointed, but he added, "The fact we hit the top 20, the finalists, was a win for Nashville and we are already seeing that play out. It has elevated us in a big way and for that I'm very pleased."

14. Newark, N.J., isn't done competing yet. "We are in the ninth inning of this process with no finalist having scored yet," Aisha Glover, who helped with Newark's pitch, was quoted as saying in The New York Times. "It's not over until it's over."

15. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told WCBS Newsradio 880: "I think we have the best product, I think this is the greatest state in the country, I think we put together a tremendous proposal, we have a great incentive package." He added, "Anything else I can think of that'll get us over the top, anything they want named Amazon — I'll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that's what it takes."

16. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said, "We're in the running until they tell us we're not, until they pick another site, but this constant speculation, you can't respond to it," according to WHYY. "One thing Amazon … [does] as well as anything else, when it comes to their website and their delivery methods, they keep their powder dry, they keep it quiet," he said.

17. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto told CBS Local: "I've heard rumors before it was Chicago. I've heard rumors before it was Boston. It's given us the ability to be more attractive in presenting our case to other companies. Even if we don't get it, I'm still happy we went through the exercise."

18. Raleigh, N.C., is still waiting to hear from Amazon. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, "Usually, across the board, when you're dealing with a company and you've made proposals, they will let you know one way or another," Mr. Cooper said after a routine N.C. Council of State meeting, according to The News & Observer.

19. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told KIRO-TV Seattle: "I'd call those branch offices. That would be good news," referring to the HQ2 split.

20. Toronto Mayor John Tory said the city's bid book was available online and as of Nov. 8 had been downloaded 17,000 times. "The other 16,999 that read the book, beyond Amazon, are people that today are making decisions about coming to Toronto," he said, according to IT World Canada. "No matter what Amazon decides, the city right now is a beacon for investment."

21. Washington, D.C.-based startups voiced some trepidation to Business Insider. "It's like putting a large tree into a garden that's still trying to flower," said Ajit Verghese,general partner at venture cooperative Humble Ventures. "It sucks in a bunch of nutrients ... [but] good things can happen when that tree gets planted. Acorns fall and things take root. Different types of ecosystems will grow and build around it."

Notes: Responses are in alphabetical order by city or county.


More articles on leadership and management:

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Viewpoint: Amazon’s HQ2 choice to concentrate opportunity, deepen economic divide


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