Austinites weigh in on being a finalist for Amazon headquarters

Austin is on Amazon's final list of 20 cities they're considering for their second North American Headquarters.

Thursday, Amazon announced the final 20 cities they’re considering for their second North American Headquarters -- and Austin made the cut.

"I think it's exciting,” said Sydney Layfield.

Amazon reviewed 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

"That would be huge, that would mean jobs for here,” said Josh White. "It’s a huge employer, they do good stuff. I like Amazon."

Loading ...


Amazon names 20 finalists in second headquarters race

Dallas is the only other city in Texas to make the list.

"Austin is huge, and why wouldn’t you want to be here? I mean, every major company is here right now,” said Katharine Acurso.

Amazon said it would be a $5 billion investment and bring 50,000 new jobs, with an average salary of more than $100,000.

"There are so many great things that could come from this type of partnership" said Charisse Bodich, the senior vice president of economic development with the Greater Austin Chamber.

She said it could bring big things to the area.

"It goes beyond just jobs, it's about the impact in the community,” said Bodich. "You look at what they do in the areas they're in and how they give back into the community, that's what we're about in this region, and so it's such a perfect fit."

A perfect fit into Austin’s technology base.

"Amazon is that company thinking to the future," said Bodich. "We're building new technologies, we're changing lives for people across the world."

So what sets Austin apart from the other 19 finalist cities?

Bodich said it's the workforce talent.

"When you're talking a headquarters, it's all types of jobs, all types of skill sets, and we've got that here in in this region,” said Bodich. "It's the energy, the creativity, the collaboration, and all of that is going to come into play on a project like this."

Now, while other city finalists are pulling out all the stops, Mayor Steve Adler said he has not heard of the city offering Amazon any incentives.

And he knows the office could bring some challenges.

"The city council has taken action to focus all of our economic development conversation around the city's greatest challenges and needs, and for us that's mobility and affordability,” said Adler.

Loading ...

But the new headquarters wouldn't necessarily go in downtown Austin, the proposal is for anywhere in the greater Austin area.

Governor Greg Abbott weighed in Thursday, saying he's thrilled two Texas cities are on the list.

“Texas is the land of opportunity, and I am thrilled to see that Amazon has included both Austin and Dallas as finalists for its forthcoming HQ2," he said. "Texas is a hotbed for the tech industry, and both Austin and Dallas have proven themselves to be among the most sought after locations for companies looking to grow and thrive"

People in Austin have mixed feelings. Some are excited about new jobs and the money it could bring to improve things in the city, while others worry about traffic and housing problems.

"Austin is just getting bigger and bigger, so this is a great opportunity for the city. This would bring tons of jobs, so that's always like a great thing,” said Layfield.

"I think it would be really great for the city. It would bring a lot of jobs to town, I'm a little bit worried about the new condos and employees moving to town and making the traffic a little bit worse, but otherwise I think it would be great,” said Kristen Meade.

"I think you get two sides to the coin: one of those is probably going to be an increase in traffic, but hopefully MoPac is done by then," said White.

"Traffic's already bad enough, so worse traffic probably won't be too big of a deal," said Tim Willingham.

"I gave up on a car, so I ride my bike and do the bus, so I don't care about traffic," said Daniel Hamilton.

"I think its super exciting considering Amazon bought Whole Foods, and Whole Foods is from Austin, so I think that's super cool keeping it in the family, keeping it in the city," said Acurso.

"I think it could be pretty good and offer a lot of jobs, but especially downtown and central Austin housing prices are going to go up higher, and it's going to be harder for younger folks to be able to purchase," said Willingham.

Amazon said it will dive deeper into these proposals.

Loading ...

"We’re going to find out what their needs are, where they want to head with that, and we'll work to find those solutions," said Bodich.

Amazon plans to make a decision by the end of the year.