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South Florida Identified as a Finalist for Amazon HQ2

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South Florida Identified as a Finalist for Amazon HQ2

South Florida Identified as a Finalist for Amazon HQ2


Officials Say the Region Has Enough Tech Talent to Land Massive Tech Headquarters


South Florida business development leaders said they aren’t surprised that the Tri-County region made the list of 20 finalist communities for Amazon’s new headquarters, though the timing caught them off guard.

“I didn’t think we’d see this until February or March,” said Bob Swindell, CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

But Swindell insists the accomplishment shows Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties have the tech talent and infrastructure in place to compete for the retail giant’s massive headquarters.

“This silences the detractors,” he said.

The three counties teamed to make a regional bid for Amazon’s HQ2 that included confidential real estate sites in each county.

The area has 6 million residents, with more than half of the 3.1 million-person workforce bilingual. The area has 2,000 daily direct flights, 375,000 university students, no state or local income taxes and 150 miles of coastline.

“We are beaming right now,” said Kelly Smallridge, president of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. “South Florida is hip, chic, urban and we’re attractive to millennials. We have it all.”

Smallridge and Swindell said officials also made clear the three counties are linked together by the new Brightline commuter train that started service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale last week. Service to Miami is expected to begin in the spring, and the service also will reach Orlando in the next few years.

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Seattle-based Amazon said it will work with each of the 20 finalists to better understand the proposals and expects to make a decision this year.

“Amazon HQ2 will be a complete headquarters for Amazon, not a satellite office,” the company said in a statement. “The company plans to invest over $5 billion and grow this second headquarters to accommodate as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.”

The other 19 finalists are: Atlanta; Austin, TX; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, OH; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Montgomery County, MD; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; New York City; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, NC; Toronto and Washington D.C.

Smallridge said she’s not sure of the next step, though she expects Amazon to send an executive team for ground visits to the communities.

“Fingers crossed,” she said.

Paul Owers, South Florida Market Reporter  CoStar Group   


Source: South Florida Identified as a Finalist for Amazon HQ2

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