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Vancouver ranked dead last in list of 64 possible cities for Amazon HQ2

Kenneth Chan Nov 18, 2017 10:02 am 34,941

Vancouver doesn’t stand much of a chance in becoming the home of the much-coveted golden goose that is Amazon’s second global headquarters.

According to a new ranking by Sperling’s Best Places, Canada’s third largest city is dead last in the race based on its compilation of 18 of the most reputable studies with lists and rankings of potential locations for HQ2.

In fact, none of the Canadian cities made it to the top 10. Unsurprisingly, Canada’s best chance lies with Toronto at 12th place, just ahead of Pittsburgh and ahead of San Jose.

This is followed by Calgary at 55th (tied with Suburban Maryland), Montreal at 56th, and Ottawa at 61st.

Atlanta is the ranking’s clear winner, followed by Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Austin, Dallas, Denver, and New York City.

“As several pundits have pointed out, finding a metropolitan area that meets all Amazon’s criteria is not only difficult, but impossible,” said Bert Sperling with Sperling’s Best Places.

“And the HQ2 project is such a massive scale, that it can transform an area, adding missing infrastructure to meet its needs. In this unique case, conventional thinking may be a disadvantage. I expect to be surprised.”

The score the cities received in the ranking is based on the rank of each city in a study. As a result, the cities with the most points are the worst places for HQ2 while the cities with the least points are best.

Amazon’s Request for Proposals issued two months ago identified determining factors such as a minimum regional population of one million, a major international airport within close proximity, a stable business climate, a strong public transit system, a highly-educated labour pool, diverse population, a low cost of living, and a high quality of life.

Metro Vancouver’s high cost of living, lack of space, and close proximity to the Seattle headquarters is said to be some of the region’s largest hurdles with attracting Amazon’s potential $5-billion investment to build a new second global headquarters with eight million sq. ft. of office space for 50,000 employees.

A total of 238 cities and regions in North America, including many small communities such as Langford on Vancouver Island, submitted a bid for HQ2 before last month’s deadline. Amazon is expected to make a decision on its second home city sometime in 2018.

Earlier this month, Amazon announced it will occupy a new nine-storey, 150,000 sq. ft. office building at the southwest corner of Dunsmuir and Homer streets. The company’s  second corporate office in downtown Vancouver will employ 1,000 people when it opens in 2020.

Sperling’s Best Places Super Study for Amazon HQ2

1 Atlanta 13.6
2 Boston 17.2
3 Chicago 21.7
4 Philadelphia 25.8
5 Washington DC 26.5
6 Austin 26.6
7 Dallas 27.7
8 Denver 28.3
9 New York 29.3
10 Raleigh 31.6
11 Pittsburgh 32.2
12 Toronto, Ontario 34.5
13 San Jose 34.8
14 Salt Lake City 35.7
15 San Francisco 35.9
16 Minneapolis 36.4
17 Portland 36.8
18 Nashville 37.3
19 Miami 37.4
20 Los Angeles 37.7
21 Baltimore 38.7
22 Detroit 39.6
23 Houston 39.9
24 Charlotte 40
25 Phoenix 40.9
26 San Diego 41.5
28 Rochester 42.6
28 Seattle 42.6
29 Cincinnati 42.6
31 Richmond 42.9
31 Las Vegas 42.9
32 New Orleans 43
33 Orlando 43.2
34 Indianapolis 43.3
35 Columbus 43.9
36 Jacksonville 44.2
37 St. Louis 44.4
38 Kansas City 44.7
39 San Antonio 45.6
40 Cleveland 46.8
41 Hartford 46.9
42 Memphis 47.1
43 Tampa 47.4
44 Suburban Virginia 47.6
45 Virginia Beach 47.6
46 Tucson 47.7
47 Birmingham 47.8
48 Omaha 47.8
49 Providence 48.1
50 Syracuse 48.2
51 Colorado Springs 48.2
52 New Haven 48.3
53 Westchester, NY 48.3
55 Calgary, Alberta 48.4
55 Suburban Maryland 48.4
56 Montreal, Quebec 48.6
57 Chattanooga 48.6
58 Anaheim 48.9
59 Sacramento 49.1
60 Grand Rapids 49.1
61 Ottawa, Ontario 49.2
62 Riverside 49.3
63 Newark 49.4
64 Vancouver, British Columbia 49.6
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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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