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Only one North Carolina city made this top 25 list for Amazon’s HQ2

Ronnie Bryant, President and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, center, greets attendees at Wednesday's Amazon HQ2 Media Event at the UNC Charlotte Center City building.
Ronnie Bryant, President and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, center, greets attendees at Wednesday's Amazon HQ2 Media Event at the UNC Charlotte Center City building. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte has once again been left off a ranking of the likeliest cities for Amazon to pick for its second headquarters.

According to New York-based real estate research firm Reis, New York City ranks the highest among other North American metros hoping to land Amazon’s coveted $5 billion project. Charlotte was among the 238 regions that submitted proposals for the headquarters last month.

Reis calls its analysis “purely data-driven,” using internal commercial real estate statistics along with Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Census data and state tax rates. The firm then scored criteria (such as public transportation access, cost of living and access to higher education) for each top metro against the U.S. metro average.

New York got the top spot because of its transportation infrastructure and high quality of living amenities, Reis said. Next up was San Francisco, then Washington, D.C. Raleigh’s negative scores on access to public transportation and “amenities/quality of life” were offset by higher scores on access to higher education, office rent and apartment rent, landing it at No. 23 on the Reis ranking.

“This analysis ... covers nearly every ‘decision driver’ mentioned in Amazon’s (request for proposals) and objectively sums a set of values that measures every indicator by metro as a percentage better or worse than the U.S. average for that indicator,” Reis said.

It’s unclear which rank after its top 25 Reis would have assigned Charlotte – a representative from the firm could not be reached. The Triad and Hickory, which also both submitted proposals to Amazon, were also not on the Reis list.

This isn’t the first time Charlotte’s been dismissed as a likely choice for Amazon. In September, The New York Times nixed Charlotte from its list of prospective cities for its lack of “cultural edginess.”

Reis noted, however, that its analysis is neutral, meaning it doesn’t weigh certain variables more than others like Amazon might. Amazon’s decision, Reis said, could boil down to factors not mentioned in its analysis, such as incentives or geography.

“Or the decision could be based on whether or not the decision maker owns a newspaper in the city,” Reis said of Washington, D.C., and the Washington Post, bought by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2013.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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