Raleigh would be an ideal location for Amazon to site its second headquarters in North America. The area is vibrant with business and diverse in population but with many high-tech oriented young people; it boasts multiple universities, has good public schools, and has good locations for potential sites.
Now the Capital City has found out it is one of 20 finalists for the headquarters. Or, it may be part of a larger proposal from a partnership of economic development agencies that included the Triangle region.
Raleigh was considered a good candidate from the beginning, when the company began reviewing 238 proposals from around the United States. And its East Coast location would be a plus with the company’s home office in Seattle.
The headquarters could have 50,000 well-paying jobs created and more than $5 billion invested eventually, which would of course be a booming addition to the city and the region.
Said Mayor Nancy McFarlane: “Raleigh is a thriving community that would be attractive for any business, large or small. We are proud of the investments and partnerships we’ve made that enhance our many attributes, such as our world-class university system, well-trained workforce, diverse economy, strong infrastructure and emerging entrepreneurial spirit.”
Raleigh’s advocates have not been shy about touting what the area would bring to the Amazon table, and they shouldn’t be, though the competition isn’t over. Certainly it’s true that the state and the region will have to step up with the necessary incentives, but Amazon’s arrival would be a monumental plus with long-term benefits.
There are concerns, of course, that an influx of thousands of well-paid workers might boost rents and make home purchases more expensive — but the city can answer those concerns with imaginative approaches to growth and with upgrades in transportation, specifically a continued push for a light-rail system and high-tech bus service, to cite two examples.
It would be hoped that the Amazon presence might also step up salaries of other companies in the area relying on high-tech workers. Competition is good for qualified people with marketable skills.
There are, in short, a number of pluses and few minuses for this headquarters, and it must be hoped in the coming weeks that Amazon agrees.