What's the Most Likely Location for Amazon's HQ2?


The most highly anticipated business announcement this fall is probably the location for Amazon's second headquarters (dubbed HQ2). Amazon plans to spend $5 billion on their HQ2, and employ about 50,000 people in high-tech jobs. They received 238 proposals before their October 19 deadline, but haven't announced a winner yet. Let's analyze some data, and see if we can determine which cities might be the most likely to win.

CNBC recently performed an interesting analysis that might provide some useful insight. They took data from their 2017 America's Top States for Business study, and combined it with some US Census data, and came up with measures for how well various areas met Amazon's main requirements. They summarized their results in tabular form, and below is a partial screen-capture:

Their table is OK, but I had a few complaints. I wasn't really fond of how they abbreviated some of the city names, and the table comes up in no particular order (requiring you to click the column headers to sort the table in a meaningful order). Also, their table has no title.

After a bit of studying, it seems that the numeric GPA is the most important (and granular) measure to sort by. I created a SAS version sorted by GPA, and now you can quickly see which cities had the highest score. Here's a partial screen capture of my SAS table (note that I removed the cities with GPA=0, and also removed Seattle since it is already the home of Amazon's current headquarters).

I was happy to see that my area (Raleigh, NC) came out with CNBC's top score! And the other top cities also appeared to be in nearby states. But it was difficult to quickly determine if there were geographic trends. The Graph Guy in me said "This data seemed ripe to plot on a map!" I did a bit of web searching, and found one such map -- it used slightly different data, but was on the same topic.

The Marketwatch map seemed pretty weak, in my opinion. So, of course, I decided to create my own SAS map, to see if I could do a little better. The main improvement in my map was that I color-coded the markers based on the CNBC rating scores (using the same colors that I used in the table). Also, instead of trying to fit the city names on the map, I show them in HTML mouse-over text (click through this link to see the interactive version). In addition to the city names, I also show the grades in all the CNBC rating categories in the mouse-over text. Oh, and you can click the city markers to launch a Google search!

How did your city score in the CNBC analysis? Do you agree, or disagree, with the scores? What suggestions do you have for an even better analysis? :-)

[This post originally appeared on SAS Learning Post. See the original here.]

Robert Allison, The Graph Guy!, SAS

Robert Allison has worked at SAS for more than 20 years and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in computer science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from North Carolina State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book calledSAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics.

What's the Most Likely Location for Amazon's HQ2?

Where should Amazon locate its second headquarters? CNBC put together a report card rating several locations. Here's an improved data visualization of that scoring.

Does Your Dashboard Measure Up?

What does the ideal dashboard look like? Here's a deep dive into what works and what doesn't in dashboards.


Re: It's about the data
  • 12/6/2017 8:51:51 AM
NO RATINGS

SaneIT cautions ...

... be careful what you wish for.  The last time I was in Seattle I heard a whole lot of complaints about the tech companies that moved in and the changes that came with them.  Very few were fond of the changes and it sounds like few cities are ready to handle the influx of people that come with this deal.  

Excellent point. Here in Central Texas, as Robert's blog article points out, Austin is one of the top urban contenders for the Golden HQ2 Award. But nobody has really asked the population who actually live here.

Austin has pretensions of being a Livable City, a Smart City, or a Party City – basically, contradictory and somewhat incompatible aspirations. But for years it's been faced with two mammoth and growing crises: mobility and affordable housing. Not only do I not see these issues incorporated in the metrics and criteria that are the data source of Roberts graphic analysis, I don't see them being included in the issue of Amazon's new HQ2 itself. 

In fact, if by the odd chance Austin were selected for HQ2, it would probably set the city even further back with respect to these two very salient problems.

..

Re: It's about the data
  • 12/4/2017 11:59:22 AM
NO RATINGS

But I do wonder if a high growth area would be ideal because off the higher cost of land and building in such a location. I would think a location that is central to a large population but still with low costs of builiding and employing thousands of new people might take preference.

Re: It's about the data
  • 11/30/2017 2:37:11 PM
NO RATINGS

Mind sharing which metro area you live in, SaneIT? Guessing it's Seattle, but maybe not. The conditions you described could apply to a handful of cities (SF, Boston, DC/Northern Virginia).

Re: It's about the data
  • 11/30/2017 2:33:57 PM
NO RATINGS

I'm totally in your camp, louisw900. I've thought Atlanta has held the edge pretty much from the time they threw their hat in the ring. Affordable, business friendly, a major transportation hub for consumers and businesses... it's going to be tough to beat.

Re: It's about the data
  • 11/30/2017 2:31:16 PM
NO RATINGS

All that without a new giant company moving in? Your area has quite a task ahead... I live in a high growth area as well, but we haven't run into those problems yet. We may be growing at a much slower rate. Road construction seems constant so at least something is being done to adapt. It seems like it'll never end, however.

Re: It's about the data
  • 11/30/2017 11:27:43 AM
NO RATINGS

" I'm not particulary anti hipster or Starbucks or any business popping up to support growth......"

  

Neither am I SaneIT,  I was just trying to add a little humor to the discussion but it is interesting to note what your area is experiencing as a result of growth.

What is clear though is that every small or medium city will loose some coziness when a big company comes to town.

I like how you put it at the begining of this thread, "Be careful what you wish for...."

Re: It's about the data
  • 11/30/2017 11:20:40 AM
NO RATINGS

I doubt it Michelle.  Most cities probably won't have any clue about the future impact or care, just focusing on the near term and bringing in a big name like Amazon.

Re: It's about the data
  • 11/30/2017 11:17:49 AM
NO RATINGS

Broadway, I was thinking the same thing in regards to larger companies and that's why I think the City of Atlanta has the edge when it comes to tax breaks and all the rest.  

 

Hollywood is already moving there in droves and the main reason outside of having beautiful spots to film are the advantageous taxes.

Re: It's about the data
  • 11/30/2017 8:33:18 AM
NO RATINGS

I'm not particulary anti hipster or Starbucks or any business popping up to support growth around a larger company coming in but yes higher rent, congested roads, insufficent power, water, garbage collection, etc. to support the influx of people and the quick building of residential areas that will follow.  I live in an area where growth has been high for a long period of time.  Our schools are over crowded, roads are congested and any attempts to correct this seem to be focused on the current population and not 10 years down the road.   I'm convinced this is because they started planning for the expansions 5 years ago and they're still working of that data rather than adjust knowing that what they finish in 2020 will be too little too late.

Re: It's about the data
  • 11/29/2017 11:47:34 PM
NO RATINGS

I didn't know about the limits being imposed. This is the right move, from what I've read about Google's impact on the area. I wonder if the new Amazon HQ will see similar restrictions from whatever city it lands in...

Page 1 / 4   >   >>
INFORMATION RESOURCES
ANALYTICS IN ACTION
CARTERTOONS
VIEW ALL +
QUICK POLL
VIEW ALL +