BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —
The world’s largest online retailer wants another home. Amazon is expanding its operations to a second headquarters. The announcement comes as big news for cities around the country who plan to bid for the opportunity.
ABC 33/40 looked at the requirements to see where Birmingham fits in the mix. How much of a game changer could this be? Hundreds of millions, maybe even billions of dollars could flow into the region. The question is, does the region fit the criteria? And if so, what might attract or deter Amazon?
UAB Marketing Expert Doctor Bob Robicheaux said it’s an enormous economic opportunity.
Dr. Robicheaux told ABC 33/40, “It would be a game changer for the city, the metro area and the state.”
Here’s why – jobs. Amazon’s “HQ2” will create 50,000 full-time employment positions. The Seattle-based giant lists certain location preferences, with population size possibly being the most important. Birmingham easily meets the requirement.
But is Birmingham the right fit?
“I’m not sure; that it is to be honest,”said Dr. Robicheaux, adding, “The city of Birmingham is not recognized on many lists as a community with the best school systems and we don’t have a unified government.”
Acccording to ideal site requirements, HQ2 must be within 30 miles of a population’s center. Birmingham can mark that off its checklist.
It also must have an international airport within 45 minutes of the site. But there’s a catch. The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport has no current non-stop international flights.
Dr. Bob Robicheaux stated, “I do see that as a negative. I do think that is going to be a major hurdle.”
While land and cost of living are cheaper here, Dr. Robicheaux reminds folks Birmingham isn’t the only place or region that’s vying for this opportunity.
“We’re going to face very stiff competition from other cities, counties and states,” said Dr. Robicheaux.
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