Miami Among Finalists Vying for Amazon's HQ Billions: Can New Home Revive Amazon's Interest in Alcohol Ventures?

Miami Among Finalists Vying for Amazon's HQ Billions: Can New Home Revive Amazon's Interest in Alcohol Ventures?

January 30, 2018

January 18 saw Miami make the list of 20 companies in the running to become home to the second headquarters of the online commerce giant Amazon. In September, 2017, Amazon announced its search for “HQ2,” a term coined by founder Jeff Bezos, who, coincidentally, grew up in South Florida. The Seattle-based company has outgrown its original facility and seeks a location for its second headquarters. Metropolitan areas are naturally eager to attract the company that economically transformed Seattle; Amazon received 238 proposals from cities throughout the US, as well as from Toronto, the only city outside the country to make the list of finalists. The company’s very public request for proposals (RFP) is unusual, with Amazon claiming they appealed to regions this way “to find a city that is excited to work with us.” Amazon, founded in 1994, estimates its presence in Seattle between 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy. It’s no wonder municipalities are willing to go to extremes to attract Amazon’s attention (the mayor of Tucson, Arizona apparently shipped a huge cactus to Jeff Bezos. After they failed to make the final cut, you have to wonder if the city offered Amazon a return option). Finalist Newark, the second most populous city in New Jersey, offered Amazon up to $7 billion in tax incentives for consideration. Wherever HQ2 is built, Amazon has stated the new facility will cost approximately $5 billion to construct and maintain, creating a tremendous surge in the chosen city’s construction industry. After beginning operations, Amazon further estimates employing as many as 50,000 full-time employees (particularly software developers) over a 10- to 15-year period “at an average annual compensation exceeding one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per employee,” according to the company’s RFP. Many of the cities making the list can offer a substantial impact on renewing Amazon’s prior interest in developing its alcohol program.  Miami for example has seen a  rise in independent production and sourcing facilities.  Moreover, South Florida is home to some of the nation’s largest alcohol distributors and a frequent first stop for imported products.  For Amazon, that means easy access to diverse product portfolios and possibly new brand opportunities under Florida’s alcohol beverage laws.

Ideal City is Large and Amenable to Business 

Naturally, competition is stiff, and Amazon has been very reserved about revealing its internal process of narrowing down its choice. Its criteria are fairly broad, with preference for a region with more than a million residents, a strong, stable business environment, potential to attract talent, and creative thinking when proposing real estate options. They also state a preference for relative ease of access to airports, highways, and mass transit. Of course, if a city has all these positive aspects, it’s probably already doing well and will continue to attract stable, well-paying employers, while underserved cities lacking Amazon’s ideal attributes are not likely to draw the headquarters, meaning a continuation of lower-paying jobs in general. As for Miami’s chances? It’s nearly anyone’s guess when you look at Amazon’s criteria. Miami has the international hub going for it, a large airport, seaports, and no winter storms. Amazon’s selection process will continue for many months now, and by the end of 2018, the choice will be narrowed to one. The 20 Amazon HQ2 finalists are:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Indianapolis
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Montgomery County, Md.
  • Nashville
  • Newark
  • New York City
  • Northern Virginia
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • Toronto
  • Washington, D.C.

Tag: alcohol industry news