What are Birmingham's chances at Amazon HQ2? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

What are Birmingham's chances at Amazon HQ2?

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

It didn’t take long after Amazon announced it would build a massive second headquarters until Birmingham Mayor William Bell announced the city would file a proposal.

The Magic City is not alone. Around 100 cities and states have indicated they will be in the running for a project that could eventually mean 50,000 jobs.

“Nobody is offering to create 50,000 jobs. Not even an existing corporate headquarters employs that many,” Greg LeRoy with the Washington, D.C. based non-profit Good Jobs First said.

In fact, he refers to Amazon HQ2 as the “trophy deal of the decade.”

So, does Birmingham really have a shot?

The mayor has pointed to infrastructure and strategic positioning in the southeast as positives. Alabama has proven very successful for landing automobile and aerospace manufacturing starting with the 1990’s “trophy deal,” Mercedes Benz USI.

Still, LeRoy calls Birmingham a long shot. “They don’t make anyone’s short list or medium list,” he said.

The challenge? Not just the basics of proximity to an international airport, mass transit including rail and subway or metro size when compared to many of the larger competitors, but an executive talent pool to fill the demands of tens of thousands of jobs may be the greatest challenge.

“There’s just not that many places in Canada or the U.S. that have that talent pool,” LeRoy said.

Cities have an October 19 deadline to submit proposals. Amazon has indicated the company will make a decision on HQ2 in 2018.

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