"We believe the top 5 likely cities for Amazon's second headquarters/HQ2 in order will be: 1. Atlanta, 2. Raleigh, 3. Washington D.C., 4. Boston, and 5. Austin (only non-East Coast city in our Top 5)," Ives wrote in a note to clients Sunday. "While any of the other 15 cities on the list (with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia most likely) are clearly possible locations for HQ2, we ultimately believe these 5 cities appear to be the most viable candidates given all the competing factors."
Ives laid out what he believes are the five most important criteria for Amazon's decision-making process:
1. "East Coast presence."
2. "Thriving engineering/surrounding university infrastructure and student pipeline."
3. "Transportation hub with major growth potential."
4. "Strong technology and pharma industry presence."
5. "Business friendly, political incentives, and attractive tax/economic long term benefits."
The city that gets Amazon's second headquarters will receive dramatic economic benefits.
The e-commerce giant has said it plans to invest more than $5 billion and create up to 50,000 high-paying jobs for its second headquarters. Amazon emphasized the new headquarters will be "a full equal" to the company's original Seattle headquarters and not a satellite office.
"With Amazon's investments translating into tens of billions flowing into the Seattle economy over the last decade and given its clear momentum as a consumer and enterprise global behemoth, this will be a crucial decision for Amazon and ultimately change the future landscape and economic trajectory of the city that is awarded HQ2 for decades to come," Ives wrote.
Amazon expects to make a final decision by year-end.