Amazon officials hit Dallas-Fort Worth on tour of HQ2 finalist sites
Amazon.com Inc. executives have visited North Texas in the search for a place to plant the company's $5 billion second headquarters and the 50,000 jobs it will bring.
The DFW mission was part of visits Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) plans or has conducted in the 20 metro areas the e-commerce titan listed in January as finalists for the megaproject.
Sources told the Dallas Business Journal privately that they have seen or met with Amazon representatives in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. An Amazon spokesman on Wednesday denied claims from local sources that founder and CEO Jeff Bezos was part of the tour. Show Full Story
Officials at the Dallas Regional Chamber, the group heading up the North Texas bid, weren't talking about whether, where or when Amazon visited. Chamber spokesman Darren Grubb declined to comment on Amazon other than to reiterate what the company has stated publicly.
“They intend to dive deeper into the data and visit each of the finalist markets,” Grubb said in an email Tuesday.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings on Tuesday declined to specifically address whether he has met with Amazon officials in North Texas, but he emailed the following statement:
“We’ve had great dialogue with Amazon throughout the process," Rawlings' statement said. "The company's statements to media recently are consistent with our experience with and knowledge of the ongoing HQ2 search process.”
Seattle-based Amazon released a statement saying, “We’re excited to visit each location and talk about how HQ2 could benefit our employees and the local community.”
The DFW-area proposal includes pitches from about a dozen cities and lays out more than 30 potential sites for HQ2. The official regional proposal has not been disclosed, but many city officials, developers, property owners and architects have spoken to the Dallas Business Journal about their proposals.
Sites in downtown Dallas seemed to be the frontrunners when Amazon visited in February, sources familiar with the search said.
In addition to Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Allen, Plano, Irving, Richardson, Denton, Carrollton and Westlake are among the North Texas cities believed to be represented in the DFW packet sent to Amazon.
If it goes to downtown Dallas, Amazon’s HQ2 could anchor the proposed bullet train station, go into one or more of the city's existing skyscrapers, be part of Victory Park, or anchor a redevelopment planned for the area surrounding Fair Park, among other Big D choices.
Elsewhere, officials from Amazon toured sites in Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Northern Virginia last week, according to multiple reports.
A 10-person team from Amazon visited the metro Denver area in late January and early February, an official in Colorado confirmed to reporters Tuesday.
“We chose not to disclose this information until we submitted our second round of HQ2, which was submitted (Monday),” said Sam Bailey, vice president of economic development for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.
In addition to staying mum on whether Amazon officials have toured DFW, Grubb on Tuesday declined to say whether the chamber has submitted additional information to Amazon, as requested when North Texas was named a finalist.
Amazon officials spent three days in Denver meeting with business leaders and politicians, viewing real estate offerings, riding public transportation and sampling the dining and entertainment options, the Denver Post reports.
Amazon executives spent last week touring sites in and around Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reports. The newspaper, which is owned by Bezos, called the sitings "the latest sign that the tech giant is seriously considering" building HQ2 in the D.C. area.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told The Post that he had breakfast with Amazon officials last week in Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser reportedly had dinner with Amazon representatives.
Amazon has said it will announce the site of its second headquarters in 2018. The company last year received pitches for HQ2 from more than 200 metro areas, and it’s likely that there will be another elimination round before the final decision is announced.