The Peach state hasn’t been this excited since the birth of Herschel Walker! Amazon, the tech behemoth and largest internet retailer in the world plans to build a second headquarters in one lucky city.
Overnight the winning city will receive the label of newest “Tech Hub”. A $5B investment boom to its city along with 50,000 new jobs averaging around $100K. If chosen, Amazon’s direct investment would quickly catapult Atlanta to a new economy city. Atlanta made the short list of 20 cities to host Amazon’s expansion after 238 proposals were submitted back in October.
Initially, I thought Amazon would choose Northern Virginia. The Washington D.C./Northern Virginia area is a primary battleground in the cloud computing wars which makes this area very attractive to Amazon.
With that said, Eureka Realty Atlanta is officially advising all of their Atlanta based investor clients and home owners to pay attention to the benefits of an Amazon move.
If you own property in or around the Atlanta area and are thinking about selling, hold your residential property until Amazon announces their HQ2 decision.
So I will take this opportunity to make my prediction official! Write it Down! Done Deal! Amazon will choose Georgia for its second headquarters and make Atlanta the new “Silicon of the South”.
The benefits to the city of Atlanta would be enormous! When Amazon’s headquarters moved to downtown Seattle 7-years ago the metro area population increased 1,100 people per week. In addition Amazon:
- Created 53,000 additional jobs
- Invested $5.1B in capital expenditures and operational expenses
- Increased personal income by $17B to non-Amazon employees
- Influenced the doubling of the residential home price
- Increased the number of Fortune 500 companies in Seattle from 7 to 31
- Infused $43 million into the city’s public transportation
- Increased the number of annual hotel nights by visiting Amazonian guests by 223,000 (or 610 years of hotel night stays)
Why am I so confident? Reading Amazon’s proposed requirements made it easy to determine why Amazon will chose Atlanta. A diverse, gifted population are all strong selling points. However affordability of its Real Estate is the main reason for their decision.
Amazon will choose @Atlanta for their HQ2 Headquarters! Check out the date I predicted this and write it down!!!! #Experienced #Knowledgeable #Accurate https://t.co/yZNhGSu4rI pic.twitter.com/V9hEemNs1T
— Eureka Atlanta (@EurekaAtlanta) May 26, 2018
Access to Tech Talent
According to WalletHub.com, the Atlanta area ranks 8th in the nation for the best STEM market talent. STEM jobs are require education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and are extremely competitive. This profession grew at twice the rate of non-STEM jobs over the last 5 years. Atlanta is also third on the list for STEM employment growth.
Amazon’s September 7th press release says the tech giant is looking for “Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent”. They want engineers with a preference for software development. Only two of the cities on Amazon’s short list ranked slightly higher than Atlanta for STEM professionals (Boston and Austin).
Feeding Atlanta’s talent pool is Georgia Tech’s College of Computing. The schools College of Engineering is one of the elite and most diverse public institutions in the nation. The undergraduate engineering program ranked 4th in the 2018 America’s Best Colleges edition of U.S. News & World Report. Its computer engineering and artificial intelligence programs both ranked in the top 10. As Amazon grows they will also have access to a lot of logistics talent anchored by UPS and Delta Airlines both headquartered in Atlanta.
HQ2 Atlanta “Gulch Campus”
Another of Amazon’s key decision drivers was “communities that think big when considering locations and real estate options”.
Amazon noted it is seeking a “transformative” site that can support 8 million square feet of office space over the next two decades.” A delegation from Amazon visited Atlanta back in late March and viewed over 70 sites according to the state’s deputy economic development chief Tom Croteau.
“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters”. This campus will have its own executives and new technology teams, it is “not a satellite office”. – Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos
Amazon was most impressed with the redevelopment plans of downtown Atlanta’s “Gulch”. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that, “Los Angeles-based CIM Group has filed plans with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to develop 9.35 million square feet of office and 1 million square feet of retail space in the Gulch, a 120-acre site near CNN Center and Philips Arena.
The vision for the project is to create vibrant urban walkable districts which will include green spaces in the core of the city. The project proposes a “development over structured parking to create a robust transit-oriented development adjacent to two MARTA stations,” according to the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) filing.
The Internet giant also noted a preference for sites with access to mass transit – bus and rail. Will Ashworth of Investor Place added, “Amazon doesn’t want to be in the middle of the countryside where employees live in identical townhouses and have to drive to get anywhere.”
The key driving factor for Amazon’s decision will be the affordability of residential real estate for their employees. Employees who are currently working in HQ1 can choose to continue working there or they could have an opportunity to move if they would prefer to be located in HQ2.
A lot of employees might want to choose Atlanta since the median price at the Seattle based headquarters hit a record whopping $819,550 in March. The average home price in all the cities on Amazon’s short list average $570,000. Housing is so expensive in Boston that the city offered $75M for affordable housing for Amazon employees if their city is chosen. Amazon will not need to offer that in Atlanta where the median home price is in the mid 200’s.
Amazon will choose Georgia for its second headquarters and make Atlanta the new “Silicon of the South”
Thanks to its healthy economy and rapid job growth, Atlanta has a low unemployment rate where some of the cities on the short list do not. Atlanta has welcomed a large number of new residents over the past few years and has the bandwidth and infrastructure to absorb another 50,000 Amazon residents.
Atlanta boasts 16 Fortune 500 Corporate Headquarters and according to the Motion Picture Association of America, the Georgia film industry currently ranks third in the nation behind California and New York. The city has the nation’s busiest airport as well as largest shipping port on the East Coast (Port of Savannah). However, Atlanta’s culture and diversity is what really defines it.
So Mr. Bezos, I have one simple phrase for you “Welcome Home”! #SiliconoftheSouth
P.S. Eureka Realty Atlanta will be in touch with you HR Department soon.
The author is the innovator of real estates 7D Theory. He has over 15 years experience as Florida/Georgia appraiser and Licensed Real Estate broker. To contact please call 321.662.0422 or KJ@EurekaAtlanta.com.