A Long Shot To Land Amazon's Second HQ, Is Indy's Bid Being Underrated?
INDIANAPOLIS -- It appears to be a long shot, but there is plenty of hope for Indianapolis' bid to land the second Amazon headquarters, but a local economist says the Circle City isn't getting enough credit.
In recent numbers released by Sperling's Best Places, Indianapolis is 34th most likely out of 238 bids to get the HQ, which is expected to bring 50,000 new jobs to the metro area that Amazon chooses.
Ball State University economist Michael Hicks says Indy should be ranked higher.
"I think Indy should be in the Top 10 or even the Top 5," Hicks says of the rankings. "I think the population size, the available expansion space, and the low level of congestion all work in its favor."
The Sperling's list compiled rankings from several entities such as CNN/Money, Anderson Economic Group, CNBC, and InvestorPlace along with others. Sperling's took the average rankings of all these surveys to form the list.
Atlanta is the most likely to land the headquarters, followed by Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Hicks says Atlanta would actually be a bad idea for Amazon for a number of reasons.
"Atlanta is one of the most congested cities in the United States," Hicks continues. "Washington, D.C is another unlikely choice because of the congestion there."
"Indianapolis is a threshold city. With 1.2 million folks in the metro area and dozens of places it could fit into. The big advantage (in Indianapolis) is its ability to grow its workforce."
Among the surveys collected by Sperling, Indianapolis is ranked highest in a New York Times/Upshot poll. The Indy metro bid was fourth on that list saying the Circle City is among the top metro areas in the country with the most job growth.
Economic Columnist Lymon Stone with Medium.com has Indianapolis 6th on his rankings. He has Indy as one of the the few cities among the bidders that meet Amazon's "low cost of living" standards.
So what's Indy's disadvantage?
"Indianapolis doesn't quite have the transportation system that other major cities have yet," Hicks adds. "But that's due in part because the city doesn't have the congestion to facilitate that yet."
Bids from Gary and Jeffersonville/Louisville did not make the Sperling list of 64 cities. Hicks says Gary has promise, but lacks the workforce to facilitate a facility as big as Amazon is pushing for. Transportation issues plague the Jeffersonville/Louisville bid.
"There's some real congestion problems that have been there traditionally," Hicks says. "You have to remember, adding 50,000 people is like adding a Fishers to an entire town. That is the major concern of this facility in that area."
Amazon says to "stay tuned" for when it makes it's decision.
Sperling's Best Places Rankings For Amazon HQ:
Listen: Dr. Michael Hicks tells you why Indianapolis is being overlooked for the Amazon HQ
(PHOTO: David Ryder/Getty Images)