Pick Dallas! Why Amazon's HQ2 Would Fit Perfectly in Dallas

Full disclosure: the opinions stated in this article are entirely those of the author. But they’re the right opinions, so listen up, Amazon.

If you’ve seen any news lately, you’ll know that Amazon has requested bids from cities for its second headquarters, currently dubbed HQ2. HQ2 will bring $5 billion in construction, 50,000 jobs, and potentially $38 billion in additional investments in the city it chooses. Amazon has stated that the new headquarter will play an equal role to the already existing Seattle campus, which has been a catalyst for downtown Seattle development.

 

Graphic courtesy of The Brookings Institute 

 

From the opinion of someone who has lived in Dallas her whole life, has family involved in city planning and has followed the city’s development for as long as she can remember, Dallas fits the bill. And here’s why: In its request for proposals (view the RFP pdf here), Amazon stated that its desired city be a metropolitan area with more than one million people – check;  have a healthy business environment – check; be in an area that is primed to attract strong talent - check; and appreciate creative locations and real estate options – have you seen AT&T’s headquarters downtown? Additionally, Amazon is looking for a site within 45 minutes of a major airport – we’ve got two; be close to highways and mass transit – it’s called the mix master; have access to large hotels – I think the Omni counts; and many other requirements – which we also fit perfectly. The headquarters is expected to be roughly 8.5 million square feet, likely within an urban center, not in the suburbs like Toyota in Plano and the Star in Frisco.

What does Amazon want that Dallas doesn’t have? In fact, Hoque Global in partnership with development firm KDC has recently announced a massive undertaking in downtown Dallas, creating a 20-acre business park near City Hall and the Farmers Market. Coincidentally, this “smart park” will be roughly 8 million square feet, is located a few blocks from major highways, with added retail, living space, hotels, and a grocery store. Not to mention the company is also working on a mixed-use development just across the highway in Deep Ellum. Attention all Amazonians: we’ve got you covered!

 

Photo courtesy of Dallas Morning News

 

So now we know that Dallas has the space for Amazon, has a strong desire to attract the company, and fulfills every requirement Amazon has made. So why wouldn’t the company come to our great city? There are only a few aspects of this great city that might deter Amazon. Let examine them:

  1. Lack of adequate public transportation: For those who grew up in Dallas, you probably know that Dart is not exactly the New York City subway. In fact, it doesn’t even compare. In my attempt to get to Fair Park from SMU’s campus a few months ago, I had to drive to the station, take one train, two buses, and then another train before finally arriving at the park. Overall, it took two hours, longer than I spent at the Fair Park Earth Day event. But here’s why Amazon shouldn’t make that a defining reason not to choose our great city: Dallas has been smart in acknowledging Dart’s need for improvement and has taken measures to start its fix. It recently hired UNT’s School of Urban Planning to conduct a major study to understand Dart’s weaknesses and is looking to improve them. If Amazon chooses Dallas, which it should, I’m sure its arrival will only quicken the system’s improvement.
  2. State politics: In its request, Amazon stated that it a key decision driver is a “cultural community fit.” I don’t think I need to point out the obvious, but Texas is known to be a conservative state, while Amazon is known to be a very progressive empire. I wish that wasn’t such a strong decision driver for the company, but it is, and we need to acknowledge that our state does not compare to some others pining for HQ2. That being said, Dallas is far more progressive than its state, with 61% of Dallasites voting for Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election, and 57% for Obama in 2012. Surprisingly, Texas took in more refugees in the most recent refugee crisis than any other state, and Dallas took in more than half of those who came to Texas, all without protest from the citizens. Dallas has been voted one of the most LGBT+ friendly cities in America, is working diligently to diversify its school system and has taken swift action to remove its Confederate statues and symbols citywide. We may have a negative reputation because of our host state, but Amazon, come to Dallas, and we’ll show you why that status is wrong.

Not that we need any more reasons for HQ2 to come to Dallas, but here they are anyway: Uber Elevate has announced that Dallas will be a test city for its flying taxi service; Amazon already has a one-million square foot distribution center in the metroplex; Dallas boasts many universities such as SMU (Pony Up!), University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Dallas, and UT Southwestern Medical Center. Not to mention that Dallas is already home to a lot of corporate headquarters like AT&T, Chase, American Airlines, Kimberly Clark, Texas Instruments, Frito Lay, Dr. Pepper-Snapple and JC Penney, to name a few.

Sound like a perfect fit? I think so too. So Amazon, I know you’re reading Her Campus SMU, so take a listen and come to Dallas. I promise we’ll give you a big Texas welcome.

 

Photo courtesy of KCClutch