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Surprise, Surprise, DFW Made The HQ2 Shortlist


DFW’s diverse economy, relatively low cost of business and living, and access to a talented workforce, are just a few of the factors that likely snagged it a spot in Amazon's HQ2 shortlist. The road to the top 20 has been a competitive one marked with nationwide one-upmanship. But when it gets down to brass tacks, how will Amazon winnow down this rather long shortlist?

“Set aside whatever the incentives packages are … I suspect that while the economic and other incentives that the cities are offering are very important criteria in the Amazon review, they are ultimately less important than other factors,” ULI Executive Director Stockton Williams said.

According to him some of these more important factors are the overall cost of living and business, the pipeline of talent in the region and access to that talent. Williams said the talent equation is not limited to universities and colleges. Rather, it includes proximity to research companies in Amazon’s field and the existence of pre-existing talent in the area.

Other factors like the effect of a city on Amazon’s brand, the presence of competitors and amenity availability will also likely contribute to the ultimate decision.

Williams said there is no glaring weakness he could point to that would exclude Dallas from staying in the running. Instead, he points to the city’s development over the last decade and said it checks a lot of the boxes Amazon has with the added bonus of being more competitive in terms of cost of living and doing business than many of the other 20 cities on the shortlist.

“I think Dallas is a very real competitor for [HQ2],” Williams said.

Still, there is a long way to go until the wedding bells ring. Williams pointed out that 20 is a bit hefty for a shortlist and that Amazon will likely use the time between now and the final decision (or second winnowing) to squeeze all 20 suitors for more wooing.