As tech behemoth Amazon.com has publicly searched for a home for its second headquarters, cities across the United States—both large and small—have competed for the project that will create thousands of jobs and likely drastically alter their region’s economy. In January, the company announced a shortlist of 20 finalists for what is being called “HQ2,” and one recent analysis has predicted the facility will be awarded to one of the biggest cities on the list: Washington, D.C.
In February, U.S. consulting firm Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) released an analysis of the finalist sites and concluded that Washington, D.C., scored highest. The analysis was formed by taking the requirements and preferences outlined by Amazon for HQ2 and scoring each location based on 11 metrics in four categories (transportation; education; business, lifestyle and culture; and connectivity).
Despite being named an HQ2 finalist, Toronto was excluded from the HPS analysis because of a lack of uniform data between the United States and Canada.
Washington, D.C., was ranked “above average” in 10 of the 11 metrics, only coming in below average in business and career rankings. The city scored highly everywhere else, thanks to nearby international airports, a high mass transit score, and its educated and diverse population.
The Washington, D.C., region is well-represented on the list even outside the district, as the neighboring regions of Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Md., also are among the 20 finalists. In fact, Northern Virginia wound up with the third-highest score in the HPS analysis. Boston came in at No. 2, while the cities of Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis tied for the lowest score.
Since the finalists were announced, neither Amazon nor CEO Jeff Bezos have provided any more hints as to the final location of HQ2. As such, while firms like HPS are using real numbers to come to these conclusions, nobody really has a clue what the ultimate decision will be. Other, similarly painstaking analyses have pointed to Toronto and Boston as the most likely destinations.
Despite all the conversation, Bezos is likely the only person who knows how this will end. In the meantime, the 20 finalist cities will continue to plead their case and look to offer the company the best possible deal.