Back in September we learned that Amazon wasat a select city in the US. The company also stated that it would be investing $5 billion to build the facilities, while also being capable of employing at least 50,000 people.
So then, many began speculating on which cities would be the best fit for Amazon’s new headquarters, while Amazon also explained some of its “requirements” before considering a city. Let’s take a look at those really quick:
- Metropolitan areas with more than one million people
- A stable and business-friendly environment
- Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
- Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options
With these requirements, there are many different cities that are eligible to be considered, but today, we’re going to take a look at why Baltimore (my home) is the best candidate for Amazon’s newest headquarters.
1. 2.8 million
While the city itself is home to more than 600,000 people, the surrounding areas and suburbs are home to about 2.8 million people, according to. This falls well within the reaches of Amazon’s requirements, and with Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, looking to build up the Port Covington area, an Amazon HQ would do well in the employment department.
That’s not including the fact that Baltimore provides for easy access to major Eastern US cities including Washington D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston. I know for a fact that there are plenty that travel via train to other jobs, and this would likely be an option for those looking to get some work with the biggest online retailer.
2. Low unemployment
Amazon also stated that the company wanted “a stable and business-friendly environment” and Baltimore has been the downtrend when it comes to unemployment. Between 2013 and today, the unemployment rate has decreased by almost 4%, while the Maryland unemployment rate as a whole has decreased more than 2%. This brings Maryland’s unemployment rate slightly below the national average at 3.9%.
Again, Kevin Plank’s plans for Port Covington are still in the works, but a partnership with Amazon would help lower that rate even further with the sheer amount of jobs that would be made available in the area. Additionally, the city of Baltimore has been working with various businesses on the tax rates, such as the Marriott Waterfront Hotel, which sees an annual property tax of just $1.
3. Education on the rise
Gilman Hall, Johns Hopkins University
Residents of the Baltimore metropolitan area pride themselves on being highly educated, and the city itself is home to one of the most prestigious schools around the world – Johns Hopkins University. According to the US Census Bureau, about one-third of city residents have at least a college degree, and that number rises to more than 40% if you look at Baltimore County.
If that wasn’t enough for you, almost 83% of Baltimore adults starting at age 25 have at least a high school degree, and that number rises to almost 90% for Maryland as whole. Considering the fact that Amazon wants its workers to be “highly educated”, these numbers are strong indicators of a city that definitely knows its stuff!
4. Time to “WOW”
M&T Bank Stadium, Home of the Baltimore Ravens
Another sticking point for Amazon in its search for a city is that the community must “think big and creatively”. Baltimore is no stranger to this type of demand, as the city helped to create Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is widely regarded as the most beautiful MLB ballpark in America. Additionally, the city has been extremely hands on with the development of Port Covington, as the approval for public financing has already been agreed upon.
Amazon moving into the city would provide not only an economic boost to the area, but would also gain the support of city officials and help to create a more unique experience in a city that is deeply entrenched in history and beauty. It’s likely that we’ll see Baltimore City officials team together to absolutely WOW Amazon with is proposal to bring HQ2 to the city.
5. BWI is just minutes away
Dulles International Airport
As you would expect, Amazon is looking for the HQ2 city to be nearby to an International airport as the company continues to work overseas and provide products around the world. Thankfully, Baltimore is just minutes away from Baltimore-Washington International, and is about an hour from the likes of Dulles International, as well as Reagan National Airport.
6. I-95 is just around the corner
While Kevin Plank works on creating an awesome experience at Port Covington, it’s important to note that I-95 is right around the corner (literally) and will help drive much traffic to that area. If Amazon were to join the ranks in the area, it would have all the access it would need, and that’s not taking into consideration the work that is being put into improving the area around Port Covington.
The State is currently in the midst of applying for a federal grant which would create a new I-95 interchange project, and Plank has recently invested funds into upgrading the popular water taxis to help folks get around the Inner Harbor and the city. These would serve to help with Amazon’s workforce, and provide plenty of means of transportation to and from the facilities.
7. Port Covington is home
We’ve mentioned Port Covington quite a few times in this piece, and it’s for good reason. Kevin Plank plans to spear head the initiative to improve Baltimore City as a whole, and this land expansion is just the first step. While the area will be home to apartments, shopping, hotels, and more, Plank also foresees an opportunity for Amazon to land squarely here and have everything it needs right off the bat.
This is huge when looking at other cities, as there are issues with making sure that Amazon has enough space that wouldn’t be too crowded to house its employees or the headquarters itself. Amazon has already stated its looking for a site “that is already prepped for development”, and it seems that City officials have confirmed that there aren’t many more steps left “to start moving dirt” at Port Covington.
8. Quality of Life is Excellent
If you’re not from the area, the first thing that likely pops into your head when you hear Baltimore has something to do with the crime rate, but that does not define the city. According to Atlas Obscura, Baltimore has been named America’s “Most Eccentric City”, while Baltimore is ranked as No. 2 in the list of best food cities by Zagat.
Those rankings are impacted by what the city has to offer in the form of history, along with the recent development that has transformed the city from not a friendly place, to one of the most exciting places to be. With the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens around the corner from the Harbor, and Fells Point just a hop, skip, and a jump away, the city itself provides an excellent experience, and one that I have enjoyed even more so in my adulthood.
Other cities may offer the funds or the population density, but none of those are like Baltimore. The City is rich with history, and everything you could possibly want to do is within walking distance of the Inner Harbor.
It’s also worth noting that Baltimore is already home to one of the larger Amazon distribution centers, and having its new headquarters nearby, would not only help the company, but the surrounding areas.
If Amazon were to select Baltimore as its destination for HQ2, it would already have the room to build and expand, while being capable of housing its employees. Additionally, Amazon could be part of something great as the city of Baltimore is poised to grow an exponential rate with the help of Kevin Plank, and that’s definitely something to be proud of.