Much has been written regarding Amazon’s HQ2 decision and what factors ultimately led to the choice of Arlington, VA. In September 2017, Amazon requested proposals for their new headquarters in North America. Ultimately 238 cities across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada submitted bids. Amazon’s RFP stated that 8 million square feet would be required for the campus and approximately $5 billion would be invested in capital expenditures. Additionally, on-site mass transit, a skilled employee base and strong university system (to fill an estimated 50,000 jobs), and easy access to an international airport were ideal site features. However, tax incentives were the ultimate prize for the tech giant.
In order to maximize their potential offers, localities needed to understand their threshold to offer incentives. Economic impact analyses were a critical tool used by bidders for calculating the potential economic benefit that Amazon could bring to their locale, and, in turn, how significant any incentives offered could be. The analyses were a crucial step taken prior to the proposals, however they also informed actions taken after site selection.