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By now you’ve probably heard that Amazon is looking for city to place a second Headquarters office and we can think of no better partner than the city of Birmingham. In fact, we are urging Amazon to take a hard look at the Magic City. Amazon made the announcement last week that the search is on for a second home base, which would bring approximately 50,000 high-paying executive jobs to its new location.
Let’s examine what Amazon’s criteria are for a city to be in the running. First and foremost, the city must have a 1 million people and a reasonable cost of living. Birmingham meets it. The city also would need to have a good technological infrastructure. Birmingham in recent year has been on a fast track of becoming the tech hub of the Southeast because of tech startup companies such as Shipt and the entrepreneurial tech incubator, Innovation Depot, which houses tech startups who are focused on research and development. Southern Research also located in Birmingham announced this week that it is placing more emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education with the hiring of a STEM Education Outreach Director.
“The fact that Birmingham is undergoing a renaissance of its downtown which will make it walkable and areas such as Homewood, which is another of the criteria Amazon is looking for, could be attractive to the search team,” said Cynthia Lohrke, Professor of Accounting and Information Systems at Samford University’s Brock School of Business. “We have focused our attention on the quality of life amenities such as parks and greenspace which also could be attractive to the tech giant. Amazon is looking a good selection of universities to recruit talent from, and again Birmingham offers a number of higher-ed options.”
A couple items Lohrke thought might be obstacles to Amazon considering Birmingham would be the lack of direct flights to other major cities, limited mass transit. “However, the fact that Birmingham is at the crossroads of several interstates and is not inundated with overgrowth like Atlanta and Charlotte could be big pluses when considering a site location.”
On the tourism front, people are taking notice of the fact that Birmingham has become a top food destination. Zagat named Birmingham one of the hottest food cities in America in 2016 and Food & Wine announced that the company is moving its magazine to Birmingham. In addition, Birmingham received national attention when it was announced that the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was receiving a National Monument designation, and just last month the United Soccer league announced Birmingham would have a professional team playing in the city soon. On the International front Birmingham won the bid to host the World Games in 2021.
Perhaps the best case scenarios for Amazon to strongly consider Birmingham home to its new headquarters are the fact that in June the company announced that it would build a sorting center in west Mobile and in July Jeff Bezos announced that he would build his aerospace manufacturing and spaceflight services, Blue Origin in Huntsville. One could draw a conclusion that Birmingham is centrally located to those two Amazon locations already being built and it would make sense for Amazon to choose Birmingham as its new home.
“I would love for Amazon officials to take a chance on Birmingham,” Lohrke added. “If they do, they will see what we see, that Birmingham is a nice place to live and work.”
We want to know, what do you think?