Indianapolis is a finalist for Amazon’s HQ2

Here is a map of the 20 finalists trying to land Amazon's second headquarters. (WISH Image)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis is one of Amazon’s finalists for the company’s second headquarters.

The company put out a list of 20 cities on Thursday morning. Amazon announced it would be looking for a second location in September that would be “a full equal” to the current headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

Other cities on the list included Toronto; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; Denver; Nashville; Los Angeles; Dallas; Austin, Texas; Boston; New York City; Newark, New Jersey; Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Montgomery County, Maryland; Raleigh, North Carolina; Northern Virginia; Atlanta; and Miami.

In total, there initially were 238 bids for the operation.

The winning city could see as many as 50,000 new jobs, $5 billion dollars in headquarter construction, and billions more in community development projects, according to Amazon. The company says the average compensation for the new headquarters would be $100,000.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness teamed up to try to lure the company to Indiana eight months ago, and sent a proposal with several potential sites for Amazon. Mayor Hogsett wouldn’t reveal the exact locations, but said there is at least one in the heart of downtown with vertical growth, one in a surrounding county for horizontal growth, and others in the metro area that could expand in both directions.

“It’s the single largest economic development project in our history,” said Mayor Hogsett. “We’re not counting our chickens before they hatch but I think it shows Indianapolis has now taken on a new level of competitiveness.”

Mayor Fadness agreed, and when asked what Indy’s chances are of making it out of the top 20, responded simply “1 in 20.”

“It’s hard to say but we believe in this metro area and its potential and that’s why we submitted in the first place,” said Mayor Fadness. “I’m quietly confident about our assets and attributes and I think today reaffirms why we are so optimistic about our community.”

As for what sets Indianapolis apart from the competing cities, leaders around the Circle City had several reasons.

“Amazon can grow here in a way they cant grow in other places,” said Michael Huber, CEO of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. “We have amazing partnerships of state and local leaders, as well as philanthropic leaders. The same way that made us competitive for past Superbowl and all the other things we do as we punch above our weight in Indianapolis.”

“We have a very business-friendly climate,” said Larry Belcher, Dean of the School of Business at the University of Indianapolis. “We were ranked very highly on the Forbes list, we were number 10 for business friendly states.”

“I think we simply do public private partnerships better than any other community in the country,” added Mayor Hogsett.

“We’ve got some of the best universities in the world here in our own state and we produce a much higher proportion of college grads relative to our population,” continued Huber.

Colleges and universities are some of the places which would really feel Amazon’s impact, as the so-called brain drain of Indiana college-educated students leave after graduation to work in the bigger tech cities.

“The opportunity to work for a global tech company and be five miles away has got to be exciting for a lot of students,” said Belcher.

Mayor Hogsett said regardless of Amazon’s next decision, Hoosiers should see this announcement as a win.

“Every business in America probably knows the 20 names of the finalists,” he said.

Ball State University economist Michael Hicks contributed to the discussion saying Indianapolis should be in Amazon’s top 3, alongside Columbus and Raleigh, some of the smallest cities on the list.

“There are real location specific limitations on the other places;  labor costs and/or scarcity of good sites, or deep fiscal troubles,” wrote Hicks, adding that the strongest locations also won’t have the biggest incentive packages. “This is where people are moving, and this short list has developable space, minimal congestion problems and large availability of residential development to house 30,000 college educated workers and their families.”

Amazon already has five facilities in Indy, employing 9,000 Hoosiers. A final decision is expected this year.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb also responded, releasing this statement:

We are thrilled to see Indianapolis on the list of finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters. It speaks to Indiana’s growing reputation on the world stage as a great state to locate and grow a business. We look forward to working with the central Indiana region and Amazon as they continue to narrow their list of potential sites for HQ2.”

In addition to their on-camera interviews with 24 Hour News Eight, Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce also issued statements.

On Thursday morning, Hogsett released this statement:

Today’s short list from Amazon makes clear that no matter what the final decision may be, Indianapolis is already a big winner. Every day we are gaining more recognition as a growing tech hub, and I am proud that Central Indiana’s unique combination of connectivity, quality of life, and affordable living has once again put us on the global stage. I want to thank Mayor Scott Fadness and our regional partners for their tireless work, and I look forward to continuing our unprecedented collaboration to promote the limitless future of the Crossroads of America.”

The Indy Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement:

This morning, the Indy Chamber received word from global technology firm Amazon that Indianapolis was named as one of 20 finalist cities in their search for the location of their second headquarters.  The Indy Chamber convened regional and state leaders to submit a proposal for Amazon HQ2 in October 2017, and today’s announcement reinforces Central Indiana’s strategy of regional collaboration to creatively address the needs of Amazon.

‘Today’s short list from Amazon makes clear that no matter what the final decision may be, Indianapolis is already a big winner,’ said Mayor Joe Hogsett. ‘Every day we are gaining more recognition as a growing tech hub, and I am proud that Central Indiana’s unique combination of connectivity, quality of life, and affordable living has once again put us on the global stage. I want to thank Mayor Scott Fadness and our regional partners for their tireless work, and I look forward to continuing our unprecedented collaboration to promote the limitless future of the Crossroads of America.’

Supported by recent announcements from Salesforce, Infosys and more, the booming technology ecosystem in Indianapolis continues to grow. According to data from Develop Indy, Indianapolis saw the creation of more than 6,600 new jobs in 2017, more than half of which came from the tech sector.

‘Today’s announcement reaffirms that that opportunities for the Indianapolis Metro are endless when we work together as a region,’ says Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, chairman of the Central Indiana Council of Elected Officials (CICEO). ‘It’s an exciting day worth celebrating, and it’s my hope that we continue to have these types of opportunities to work regionally, put our best foot forward, and drive innovation and growth in our economy.’

While the Indy Chamber is excited for this morning’s announcement, they are now preparing to address any additional needs of Amazon in their decision making process.

‘This morning’s announcement of Indianapolis as a finalist recognizes our key assets and talent as world-class,’ notes Indy Chamber Chief Economic Development Officer Maureen Krauss. ‘We were prepared and will continue to abide by the wishes of Amazon, our customer, and their process.’

The Indy Chamber and regional partners will continue to work together as next steps become available from Amazon.