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Culture / Newsy

Sorry Dallas — Northern Virginia Emerges as Favorite for Amazon’s Much Coveted New Headquarters

New Analysis Predicts that Texas Will Lose Out to Data Center Alley

BY // 09.05.18

It’s been almost a year since Amazon essentially started shopping around a second headquarters, and all the perks that came along with it, to hopeful cities. After the frenzy of the last 51 weeks, the 20 remaining suitor cities are left at the poker table with sweaty palms, tugging at their collars and hoping they’ve got the winning hand.

The e-commerce and tech titan brings a strong poker face. But Amazon whittled the list of players from 238 down to 20 in December. Houston and El Paso just couldn’t stick in the game.

Now, Amazon has had the class — finally — to announce that it will reveal its final decision by December 31st. The revelation of just who will get 50,000 shiny new jobs and $5 billion in investment is only a few months away.

Dallas and Austin are both prime contenders, but the smart money is now on Washington D.C./Northern Virginia, according to a new Business Insider analysis. Three possible locations in the region have been identified as Amazon HQ favorites.

“In recent months, the betting odds have quite literally zeroed in on Virginia,” Business Insider writes. The state is in fact in the ‘bull’s-eye of America’s Internet’ adding to its chances.”

Yes, there are actual betting odds on which city will win. Dallas has the 15th worst odds to win, coming at a whopping plus-5000, for what that’s worth. North Virginia is the overwhelming favorite at plus-240.

More importantly, Amazon founder, chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos is slated to speak at The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. later this month. There is speculation that he might just share some good news with the district then.

This now likely seeming losing out on the headquarters spells tears for Dallas, and maybe a half-hearted sigh from Austin. You see, Dallas vied hard and made a compelling case for Amazon. It was even named one of the most high-tech cities in the world, finishing ahead of Beijing, Tokyo and yes, Washington D.C.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has been upfront that he’s all in on the Amazon chase, commenting on FOX Business Network’s Varney & Co. that Dallas “is really kind of soul sisters to Amazon.”

Rawlings also said to CNBC “Bring it on. I mean one of the reasons they should come is we know growth. As you know, we’re growing faster than any metro area in the United States.”

The mayor cites low costs — cost of building, cost of doing business, cost of living — and the ease of flying to both coasts from Dallas as selling points.

While Dallas was busy holding nothing back, Austin is playing its cards much closer to vest, possibly out of plain old ambivalence. Austin’s initial bid didn’t contain financial incentives, for starters.

In the initial pitch, Austin Mayor Steve Adler asked the digital behemoth to view Austin’s “greatest challenges as an opportunity.” Challenges like affordability and traffic.

But later, when asked about the campaigning for Amazon’s new headquarters, Adler told The Texas Tribune “I don’t know what we want to be.”

The Center of the Internet

Washington, D.C. wants to be all in on Amazon, and it’s a solid frontrunner, according to Business InsiderNorth Virginia’s proposed sites may well hit Amazon’s bull’s-eye because one literally is the bull’s-eye. Or “the bull’s-eye of the American Internet,” the center where the majority of Internet traffic flows globally each and every day.

That’s according to “Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet,” by Andrew Blum. The center of the physical network of house servers, data centers, IT equipment and more lies in Northern Virginia, very close to the center of a proposed Amazon second headquarters site.

It’s called Data Center Alley because more than 70 percent of Internet traffic worldwide flows through it. A sizeable amount goes through Amazon’s very own data centers. Google, Oracle and Microsoft own others, to name a few. It would be efficient, plain and simple, to have that in close proximity to Amazon’s new headquarters.

And there’s more evidence still. Amazon already has an HQ in Northern Virginia — of sorts. Amazon recently set up a new headquarters for Amazon Web Services, its cloud service, just about three miles from one of the proposed second headquarters sites.

That’s not all. Amazon’s been growing its presence steadily in the area. The digital mega-merch store has a 600,000-square-foot data-center campus in the works a mere 10 minute drive away.

News site ARLnow.com also noted its received an unusual traffic spike from Amazon going to its article headlined: “County Wins Top Environmental Award from US Green Building Council,” which notes that Virginia’s Arlington County is the first county in America to earn the coveted environmental award.

That would play into Amazon’s expressed desire to choose a green-friendly place where “its employees will enjoy living, recreational opportunities, educational opportunities, and an overall high quality of life.”

Everyone will see which city’s truly holds the winning hand before New Year’s Eve.

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