DALLAS (CBS11) – Business and city leaders all over North Texas say they’re excited, even pumped that the DFW area made the list of 20 finalist cities now vying for Amazon’s HQ2.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said, “Oh, I’m very excited. I’ve been optimistic all along that we would make the short list, and now, we’re there.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said, “We just made the playoffs here, we’ve got a long road to go for the big prize.”
After making Amazon’s first cut for its HQ2, the Dallas Regional Chamber, which has led this region’s effort, must now find out which DFW cities and which projects the online retailing giant is most interested in.
During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Mike Rosa, Sr. VP of Economic Development for the Dallas Regional Chamber, says he will speak with Amazon as early as Friday to determine the next steps.
While adding a second corporate headquarters, Amazon has said its current headquarters in Seattle would remain.
As part of the region’s joint bid, about a dozen cities submitted proposals to land the second corporate headquarters, which Amazon says would ultimately provide 50,000 jobs, paying on average $100,000 in salary and benefits.
Rosa said, “It would have a tremendous impact.”
The region’s he said makes North Texas very attractive to companies.
Since 2010, DFW added more than 700,000 jobs and 75 corporate headquarters relocated here.
Last year, the region added nearly 100,000 jobs.
“There’s talent moving into this region each and every day,” said Rosa. “Texas remains a place young people want to come to so we are better than most to accommodate their long-term growth plans at the scale they’re looking at.”
In addition, Dale Petroskey, the Chamber’s President and CEO, said 40 percent of the tech workforce in Texas is in the DFW area. “We’re number one. That’s growing fast, very fast. We’re now the fourth fastest growing tech market in terms of workers only behind San Francisco, San Jose, and New York City.”
Bernard Weinstein, Associate Director of the Maguire Energy Institute at SMU agreed the workforce is the most important factor for companies like Amazon. “The quality of the labor force, the availability of labor — will they be able to hire the professional staff that they need, and on that score, I think Dallas-Fort Worth looks very good.”
Mayor Rawlings said another asset for DFW is the cost of doing business in DFW is 10 to 12 percent less than other big cities in the U.S.
While each city offered Amazon an initial incentive, Weinstein said he doesn’t believe that won’t play much of a role. “I don’t think tax incentives at any incentive package is going to be the deciding factor. Amazon’s revenues are $150 billion a year. An incentive package is going to be chump change compared to their revenues.”
While experts say this area has a strong workforce, and a business friendly climate, Mayor Rawlings said there is one concern he has: “My biggest fear on this thing is if for some reason the want an East Coast city, eastern time zone, something since they’re in Seattle, let’s putsomething on the east coast for media reasons or because they’re closer to Europe.”
But he said he still believes the DFW region is located in the perfect spot in the U.S.
Weinstein though said he’s not as worried about geographical location, “I see it as Seattle vs. someplace in the eastern half of the United States and that would include Texas.”