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Should Amazon choose Detroit for its new headquarters?

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Let’s make a case for it

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Update: This article was originally posted on September 7 and has been updated with the most recent information.

Amazon’s big announcement to invest upwards of $5 billion into a second headquarters (HQ2) has cities buzzing around North America. They released an RFP earlier to see who might be interested in such an investment. According to the RFP, they’re looking for:

  • “Metropolitan areas with more than one million people
  • A stable and business-friendly environment
  • Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
  • Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options”

The investment would bring 50,000 high-paying jobs to the chosen metro area.

In the RFP, Amazon states that its new HQ2 should be:

  • “An urban or downtown campus
  • A similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus
  • A development-prepped site
  • We want to encourage states/provinces and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline”

The Free Press reports that the City of Detroit is evaluating the RFP.

TechCrunch is reporting that Dan Gilbert “has formed internal and external teams to fully explore the possibility of Amazon locating its second HQ in Detroit,” and that Detroit will make a strong pitch to be the city for that HQ2.

Obviously, it will be a game changer for any city who lands this. Can you imagine what this would mean for a city like Detroit?

Let’s consider its strengths:

  • There’s plenty of land to build. Seriously, there are big sections of the city where a large campus could be built.
  • It’s still comparatively cheap here for businesses.
  • The metro area is home to a lot of engineers and a growing tech population.
  • Nearby, we have the University of Michigan, DTW, and Canada.

We could keep going.

Of course, Amazon is looking for the right tax incentives in order to settle down somewhere. Detroit would also need to expand its mass transit services to accommodate it...perhaps this could be a big incentive in that battle.

Let’s hear it, Curbed readers. Should Detroit go all out in its efforts to land this deal? What are its strengths? How should it pitch itself to a company like this? As always, let us know in the comments.

Want to vote on a good location? We’ve created a poll.