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With Amazon narrowing its list of potential cities for its second headquarters last week, one Wall Street technology analyst believes he knows which of the remaining candidates have the inside track for the economically game-changing project.
GBH Insights' Daniel Ives predicts five cities out of the new list of 20 candidates have a better chance to get Amazon's second headquarters than the rest.
Amazon announced Thursday it narrowed the list of potential sites for its second headquarters to 20 locations.
"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.