The retailer giant Amazon released a statement in early September announcing the proposal of a new major project, enticing many cities around the United States and Canada– Raleigh included.
Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com is the largest Internet retailer in the world based on total sales as well as market capitalization. “An analysis by Slice Intelligence released…found that 43% of all online retail sales in the US went through Amazon in 2016,” said BI Intelligence.
The Seattle-based company has rapidly gained popularity, allowing for further expansion of their services and the purchase of major companies like Whole Foods. Amazon has also unveiled multiple new prototypes of services like Amazon Go and Amazon Locker, as well as created technology under the company name.
While the expeditious growth is beneficial for Amazon, their current headquarters space in Washington is no longer large enough to meet the needs of the company.
To address this issue, Amazon has proposed what the company has dubbed “HQ2”, short for headquarters 2. The initiative was released in September 2017, requesting proposals from cities around North America. The company plans to include an investment of $5 billion for initial construction, as well as 50,000 hires for workers at the new location.
To be considered by Amazon, the city must be a large metropolitan area, a 45-minute maximum distance from the nearest airport, and nearby a university system.
Raleigh has entered the competitive contest to receive the bid to become the HQ2 city, among many other large cities like Boston and Atlanta. The growing capital reaches all of Amazon’s requirements, such as having a business-friendly environment, and many analysts have placed Raleigh among the top prospects of cities for the new campus.
Not only would the HQ2 bid draw major attraction to the city of Raleigh, it could also expand to and impact the Leesville community. For example, upperclassmen who leave campus for lunch might have the option to purchase lunch from an Amazon Go store, a new kind of grocery store that has no checkout line.
Amazon’s Go prototype, currently being tested at a location in Washington, uses a new type of technology via a smartphone app that is able to identify and charge the buyer through their Amazon account. This new innovation is not only efficient but very appealing to customers, like students, that have a limited amount of time away from campus.
As well as accessibility to fresh food, the construction of the new headquarters would also attract a large number of tech professionals to the area. In the future, this could open many internships and job opportunities to current high schoolers. This is great news for students planning to work in a field that the headquarters will offer jobs in, such as software engineering or operational managing.
A site selection consultant from New Jersey by the name of John Boyd firmly believes that the Raleigh-Durham area is a very reasonable place for HQ2.
“I expect Raleigh…to be looked at very closely by Amazon because of the state’s positive business climate (i.e. low taxes and new incentives), its premier labor market and access to world-renown colleges and universities and growing IT sector, and because Amazon is already a sizable employer in the Tar Heel State and has a solid working relationship with the state’s economic development leaders,” said Boyd.
With all of the qualifications as well as a large and developing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) environment, Raleigh is certainly a top contender for the spot. Experts estimate that the final decision will be made in 2018, so as the new year approaches, keep an eye out for the concluding decision of the location of HQ2.