When it comes to the ongoing saga of HQ2, the door is still open in Dallas. That’s the word from Mike Rosa, senior vice president at the Dallas Regional Chamber. “We never hung up the phone with Amazon,” he said, during a breakfast panel discussion this morning hosted at HKS Inc. by the Urban Land Institute North Texas.
Also participating in the discussion were Linda McMahon, president and CEO of The Real Estate Council, and Todd Watson, senior vice president at Hunt Realty. The three discussed their roles in the race for Amazon’s HQ2 and future prospects for the region.
Last November, the e-commerce giant announced it would split its massive second headquarters between Long Island and Crystal City, Virginia. Dallas was a close runner-up. But, as reported by D CEO, Amazon is getting a less-than-hearty welcome in New York. (Feb. 14 update: Amazon has officially pulled out of Long Island. See a statement from the company here; see story by D’s Peter Simek here.)
“Communication with [Amazon] is ongoing,” Rosa said. “And if they were to readjust their decision based on things that didn’t go as they planned in New York, they certainly know who to call.”
Talent, Rosa reiterated, was the main factor that led Amazon to select the East Coast. According to the panelists, during the HQ2 process, the company drastically compressed its timeline for filling the 50,000 jobs from between 15 and 18 years to a span of five to seven years.
“We learned in August that they chopped [the timeline] by more than half … that was a little bit of an alarm bell,” Rosa said. “When they compressed that timeframe, that was the first time I thought: ‘They may have to pick a couple of spots.’”
The downtown Dallas options offered up to Amazon are still in play. And, according to McMahon, there are 63 sites in the city of Dallas that can handle an employee base of 50,000. “That’s just mind blowing,” she said. “Just think about what the opportunities could be. Not just for Amazon, but for any corporate relocation.”