Why NYC probably won’t win the $5B Amazon HQ prize

High cost of living is a handicap for the Big Apple

Jeff Bezos with the Denver and Manhattan skylines
Jeff Bezos with the Denver and Manhattan skylines

Amazon likes low prices. That’s a good thing for Whole Foods shoppers, but a detriment to New York City’s chances of landing the retail giant’s new second headquarters.

That prize should go to Denver, according to an analysis by the New York Times of Amazon’s requirements for a spot to land its “2HQ,” which will bring 50,000 new jobs and as much as $5 billion worth of investment to the winning city over the next two decades.

Following Amazon’s guidelines, the newspaper started with a list of 52 cities in the United States with populations of at least 1 million people, and started whittling down the list based on requirements such as strong job growth, the right labor pool, good mass transit and strong economic incentives.

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New York City lost out in the fourth round, the “quality of life” one, based on high housing costs.

Denver ultimately won out based on its low cost of living, its fast-growing college-graduate population and thriving tech community. Google, Twitter Oracle and IBM already have offices in the city.

It’s not as though New York is completely left in the dust, however. Amazon is building an 855,000-square-foot distribution center on Staten Island, and it may just decide a second headquarters should be at gateway city on the East Coast. [NYT] – Rich Bockmann