Houston The Largest City Left Off Amazon's HQ2 Finalist List
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America's fourth-largest city has been left off Amazon's shortlist. Despite Houston's appealing to Jeff Bezos via plane advertising, the e-commerce giant will not consider the city as a finalist for its second headquarters. After receiving 238 proposals, Amazon chose 20 metropolitan areas for further study. Texas is not out of the race yet — Dallas and Austin are still in the running.
"Of course we are disappointed," Greater Houston Partnership CEO Bob Harvey said. "Unfortunately, our strengths in the area of innovation are not widely recognized, as was evident in Houston’s absence from the many national rankings that came out over the past few months attempting to handicap Amazon’s selection."
Houston's efforts to woo Amazon were spearheaded by the Greater Houston Partnership's work with Midway on the developer's East River Site and McCord Development's Generation Park. Although analysts gave Houston a passing grade, the city scored low among most predictions.
"Obviously I'm disappointed Houston didn’t make the final list, but I've been doing this long enough to know it's not over till it's over, " Midway Executive Vice President David Hightower said. "Amazon already has a presence in Houston, and it's a growing presence."
"As a Houstonian, it hurts my feelings not to make the top 20 list, but it doesn't surprise me," McCord Development President Ryan McCord said. "There's a few other contenders on the list that I'm shocked are there, they don’t hold a candle to what Houston has to offer."
McCord said that Amazon's decision will not alter Generation Park's development, which will continue to focus on long-term innovation.
But Harvey sees this as a sign that some form of change is necessary in Houston.
"I believe this is a wake-up call for Houston," Harvey said. "While there has been growing momentum in the innovation space over the last couple of years, this is a clear indication that we have much more work to do as a region to grow our digital economy."
Amazon has said it will make its final decision this year.
"If Amazon isn't going to pick Houston, I sure want it to be Dallas or Austin because that way there will be benefits to Houston," Hightower said. "If they go to Dallas or Austin I believe we'll see a stronger Amazon presence in Houston."
For a full list of finalists, click here.
UPDATE, JAN. 18, 2:20 P.M. ET: Comments from Midway Executive Vice President David Hightower have been added.
UPDATE, JAN. 18, 3:05 P.M. ET: Comments from McCord Development President Ryan McCord have been added.