January 25, 2018

"Is Indianapolis Cool Enough for Amazon? It Just Might Be."

Asks the NYT about one of the 20 cities in the running for Amazon's second headquarters.
One area where Indianapolis stands out also happens to be one of Amazon’s top priorities, according to its proposal: “A stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure.”...

[Bob Stutz, chief executive of Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud, which is based in Indianapolis] lived in Austin, Tex. (another Amazon finalist), before moving to Seattle, and watched its evolution from sleepy state capital to technology hub and hip cultural magnet. “Austin was never a cool place,” he said. “Now it’s a hotbed of cool. Indianapolis isn’t quite there yet, but I see a lot of similarities.”

Last year Bon App├ętit magazine devoted a feature to the “Brooklynization of Indy” that focused on the city’s explosion of craft breweries, artisanal bakeries and farm-to-table restaurants.... Of the 20 finalist cities, Indianapolis has the least traffic congestion and the lowest average home prices....
I hope Indianapolis wins! It's the crossroads of America! It has room to grow, and you, Amazon, can be part of making that happen. You can really contribute, instead of adding to the traffic/housing insanity of places like Austin and Boston.

83 comments:

mccullough said...

Indy needs a Major League Baseball team. The Rays should move their from Tampa

David said...

Give me land lotsa land . . .

JohnAnnArbor said...

They have a reasonably cool flag.

BDNYC said...

"Austin was never a cool place"

Ugh. I know this type of person exactly.

BDNYC said...

In my life, Austin has ALWAYS been a cool place. The difference is today it has a more coastal feel to it. More assholes from California and the east coast who imagine they're making it cooler.

rehajm said...

Fun how we project what we believe will be important to Amazon. I suspect it will be who ponies up the biggest goodie bag of tax breaks and free stuff. The next best explanation is they choose DC to be cozier to the people from which they seek rents.

The Godfather said...

So long as they don't move to my town (village, actually), I don't care where they go.

Sydney said...

Personally, I'm rooting for Columbus.

Rana said...

Indianapolis is tops on my list of cities I hate to drive through (followed closely by Little Rock). A 50 MPH speed limit, rough roads, and absolutely awful roadside "art." Ugh.

wwww said...


I hear good things about Indianapolis.

My bet is on
Toronto
Chicago
Boston
Austin or
North Carolina research triangle.

Big Mike said...

It will be in the Washington, DC, metro area. Bezos wants to be able to keep a close eye on the politicians he's bought.

Jason said...

Iowahawk has created a bookie's odds table on all the leading contenders.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

"Austin was never a cool place" - I see I'm not the first commenter triggered by that line. I first was there in the early '70's and it was one of the coolest places I'd ever seen (and Texas in general was a revelation). Probably still is, but friends living there now talk about traffic more than coolness. Onward through the fog!

Tim in Vermont said...

It makes sense to be not too far from FedEx in Memphis.

My cynical side says DC, but my “Keep hope alive” side says “Flyover country.”

madAsHell said...

Give me land lotsa land . . .
...and the starry sky above
Don't Fence Me In.

AJ Lynch said...

My gut tells me either Nashville or Pittsburgh.

madAsHell said...

What are we going to eat when all the farmland has been converted to Amazon warehouses?

Tim in Vermont said...

If he places it carefully enough, he can probably turn a purple state blue.

wild chicken said...

Art is anal.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
surfed said...

Thank God Jacksonville didn't make the cut off. The NFL has already ruined a great small livable city on the ocean. Amazon HQ2 would have been the coup de grace.

hawkeyedjb said...

Whoever "wins" will end up shoveling large amounts of money to Amazon, probably more than they will ever realize in economic benefit. It's similar to bidding on a sports stadium, in which the losers get to keep their tax base and the winners find themselves in debt to fund something that doesn't earn them enough to pay off that debt. Good luck Indy, hope you "lose." Let Chicago or Washington have them, those cities are accustomed to the world of high graft already.

JohnAnnArbor said...

The NFL has already ruined a great small livable city on the ocean.

Fun fact: Jacksonville is largest city by area in lower 48.

Achilles said...

Where ever they choose I am going to buy houses.

TWW said...

I think they like it because it's named after Native Americans.

Seeing Red said...

If you want air and truck infrastructure, then Dallas is It.

Chicago has all the infrastructure..

But high taxes.

Peotone just might rise as the commercial hub.

MadisonMan said...

The biggest problem with Indianapolis is I-65 between Valpo and Indy. I know they're working on it now -- long overdue -- but it's still shuts down way too easily at the hint of bad weather or an accident.

rhhardin said...

Ohio is getting a lot of farmland replaced by warehouses and computer buildings, which take a thousand people to build and 50 people to run.

stever said...

I don't agree with the statement

“Austin was never a cool place,” he said.

If anything, its less cool now that it used to be.

Unknown said...

Has Amazon listed, honestly, its criteria, in priority order, for choosing a location? I apologize for asking if it has been published already, but I haven't seen it.

General Electric was convinced to move their HQ from CT to Boston, MA by some substantial cost and tax concessions from the city and state. All for about 200 permanent jobs, few of which were new rather than simply the relocation of existing employees.

If that's the sort of thing Amazon is trying to get then this Masshole wishes them all the best... in Indianapolis.

-sw

eddie willers said...

Jacksonville: A great place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit there.

Carter Wood said...

Why would you want to make Indianapolis cooler? An influx of young, cool people with disposable income would soon do away with the "stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure" that make it attractive today.

JohnJMac862 said...

Nope. It will be where Bezos wants to spend a few months/year. D.C. or New York.

gadfly said...

Iowahawk has the odds about right for Indy and he is correct that a 130 mile jaunt up I-69 from the Circle City would put the Amazon Headquarters2 location in exactly the right place. We have Komets hockey and the Class A TinCaps- and the Johnny Appleseed Festival, of course.

https://twitter.com/iowahawkblog/status/954049098969178112

Francisco D said...

I spent a lot of time in Indy back in the 90's. It seemed to be a lovely town.

Best steakhouse in America = St. Elmo's in Indy.

Try the shrimp cocktail.

readering said...

Spent time there in early '00s. Sounds like it's changed a lot. But unless global warming hits, I can't see Amazon setting up someplace with such cold winters.

Second the St. Elmo's plug (if you haven't been to Peter Luger), but I suspect there's a lot more to choose from today.

gilbar said...

don't they have a car race or something in Indianapolis?
I think was at the same time as the Firecracker 400, so I was always too busy to pay attention

Mister Brickhouse said...

It'll be Austin. Indianapolis has icky repubs in it, and non-diversity of point of view is everything. Austin has lots of the right kind of people.

Francisco D said...

@readering,

Peter Luger's is on my bucket list.

Humperdink said...

Please, please, Amazon stay out of Pittsburgh. The car ride to watch my Penguins is a walk in the park. Don't mess with it. Go to a city that claims to be cool.

Will said...

Austin by a mile-no income tax state makes it an easy call.

Jupiter said...

Achilles said...
"Where ever they choose I am going to buy houses."

Not if it's DC.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

But is Amazon cool enough for Indianapolis?

Steven said...

Amazon's official Request for Proposals lays out what they claim they want.

I will note that it says Amazon wants:
"a cost structure with a stable business climate for growth and innovation" (p.1)
"A stable and business-friendly environment" (p.1)
"A stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure" (p.5)
"A stable and consistent business climate is important to Amazon." (p.5)

There is nothing else in the 7 pages that manages to get reiterated that many times. Sure, they want a good university system, and reasonable roads, and an airport, and a lot of other things . . . but the thing they pounded on was the business climate.

Marcus said...

As I recall, Jacksonville _was_ a small city that became great in area due to incorporating the county into the city. A little sleight of hand for a city that I drive through or around on my way north or south on 95

victoria said...

The only reservation i have is that any state that would vote Mike Pence as their governor can's be all good. What's the catch? Maybe Columbus,Indiana


Vicki from Pasadena

anti-de Sitter space said...

"The only reservation i have is that any state that would vote Mike Pence as their governor can's be all good."


https://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/poll-shows-pence-vulnerable-on-education-gay-rights-issues

gadfly said...

Blogger victoria said...
The only reservation i have is that any state that would vote Mike Pence as their governor can's be all good. What's the catch? Maybe Columbus,Indiana

Yes, but we had the "one and only" Mitch Daniels ahead of Pence. Now, if we could only get him to run against Trump ... but I have never been to Columbus, IN.

Temujin said...

Indy's a great town. I hope they get it. But, Atlanta's got to be the pick. Beautiful city. Great resources. Good cost of living. An airport that will take you anywhere. Great town to raise a family, except....the traffic.

I hope Indy gets it.

Robert Cook said...

"'Austin was never a cool place' - I see I'm not the first commenter triggered by that line. I first was there in the early '70's and it was one of the coolest places I'd ever seen (and Texas in general was a revelation). Probably still is, but friends living there now talk about traffic more than coolness. Onward through the fog!"

Yes, but you see...assholes have a different concept of "cool" than cool people do. This guy would probably think the Austin, TX of the film SLACKER or of the Armadillo World Headquarters/hippie era would be a wretched place.

Robert Cook said...

"Thank God Jacksonville didn't make the cut off. The NFL has already ruined a great small livable city on the ocean. Amazon HQ2 would have been the coup de grace."

When I lived in Jax, I always felt it to be a suffocating backwater. When I visit it now, I still see areas of it that look like it always did, and I feel that same sense of suffocation, but I am vexed by the crowded roadways and I miss the sleepy beaches of the 1960s when the Copper Kettle and the Rite Place were the places to eat in town and the Neptune and Royal Palm theaters were where one saw movies. I worked at Mr. Swiss for three years in my last year at Fletcher and first two years of college (at FJC). (Mr. Swiss had the best hamburgers of any burger chain ever)!

MountainMan said...

I think if you just look at it logically it would go to Atlanta. It has lots of advantages: business friendly; low cost; reasonable taxes; strong technology base; a key logistics hub in the US for rail, truck, and air; young people love it; more people moving there than just about any city in the US; and there is a very large piece of prime real estate right in the heart of the city - the old Southern Railway yards - that is ripe for a big development, with nearby access to the MARTA rail line right to the airport. One other advantage: Georgia Tech would be just a few blocks away. Its industrial engineering school is the world's leading center of research and education in logistics and supply chain management, which is what Amazon is all about. Biggest negatives are crime and traffic.

And then there is Washington, DC, for the reasons someone has already noted above.

I think it is one of these two.

Robert Cook said...

And...who thinks Amazon is cool?!

Phil 3:14 said...

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,

readering said...

Francisco D, remember to bring cash!

dreams said...

Amazon has played the cities. Watch this video, this makes a lot of sense.

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/01/25/amazon-is-creating-hunger-games-environment-for-hq2-finalists-nyus-scott-galloway.html?play=1

surfed said...

@JohnAnnArbor - Area wise true. The area population was small until the NFL and TPC landed. Those two cost us Eden. I miss Palm Valley...

traditionalguy said...

IMO it will be on the east coast for convenience of the refugee Europeans,and Naptown is midwest.

That leaves 5 choices. Atlanta/Charlotte/Northern Virginia/ Boston/Toronto.

Achilles said...

Jupiter said...
Achilles said...
"Where ever they choose I am going to buy houses."

Not if it's DC.

Agree.

If the democrats were in power I would expect them to choose DC because when the democrats are in power the way to succeed is to buy influence in DC.

The democrats wont be in power for a long time and the GOPe is being routed out too. Regulations on people who don't pay politician protection money are being rolled back and the economy is growing again.

They probably wont pick DC.

Alex said...

Craft breweries? That's how you attract all the tech bros?

Achilles said...

Alex said...
Craft breweries? That's how you attract all the tech bros?

Or women that don't mind a little social awkwardness...

anti-de Sitter space said...

"Or women that don't mind a little social awkwardness..."

Nice euphemism for prostitutes.

Yancey Ward said...

Another commenter pointed it out, but Winter weather is a likely consideration, and Indianapolis doesn't really compute to me. I would bet on Nashville or Austin/Dallas if I were betting at all on this.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Some middle-sized town in Ohio would be better.
Indiana is very flat, and it is mostly mega farms. Ohio has hills, and rivers, and a long history of producing US presidents.
I like Ohio.

wwww said...


My gut says Toronto or North Carolina Research Triangle.

But I hear rumors about Boston.

Chris N said...

Lots of people with degrees in Statistics, Math, Bio sciences and the kind of insights wanted for AI modeling which is hot right now...gives any city a strong advantage, I’m guessing. There’s one particularly brilliant kid out there, if given the proper tools and drive and opportunity, might easily give a particular company a +15 year market advantage. A bunch of other very sharp people percolating can make all the difference and any company wants to build that rep.

Bezos actually worked on Wall Street briefly, I remember hearing around Seattle.

Supply chain logistics, transport infrastructure and low taxes all have got to be key, too.

Haven’t looked at the list or any predictions.

Kevin said...

I don't know why people think logistics is a concern. It's HQ2, not the central warehouse.

How much do they ship from Seattle?

They want room to grow and access to smart kids and faculty who can power the company through their ideas. They'd also like lower housing costs and easy commutes to entice people to live there.

The reason Boston is in the mix is it has an insane number of universities, where most of the other contenders can claim one or two. It has a vibrant culture for young people, and you don't have to convince them to move if they're already living there.

Plus, you can test drive them on internships to see if there's a fit before you hire them.

Kids today want to live somewhere they have multiple, awesome employment opportunities. They don't want to move somewhere, find out they don't like it or get a better offer, and have to move again.

Does any of that sound like Indianapolis?

FleetUSA said...

I think it is between Indy and Pittsburgh. Also, realize it won't be "downtown". It'll be some place in nearby 'burbs. Just too much hassle unless they want a "tall" building which I don't think is their style.

Kevin said...

"Is Indianapolis Cool Enough for Amazon? It Just Might Be."

Someone at the NYT got the weekly "write something nice about flyover country" assignment.

Kevin said...

Someone at the NYT got the weekly "write something nice about flyover country" assignment.

And of course it included a dig at the supposed coolest flyover city as being less cool than you may have heard...

Humperdink said...

"I don't know why people think logistics is a concern. It's HQ2, not the central warehouse."

To me, this is a curious move. A second HQ? It's hard to argue with their success, but I don't understand the need for 2nd HQ. Is it a subordinate HQ? A twin? Planning to vacate the Fatherland?

Rick Turley said...

Wouldn’t mind it here in Nashville which was the “it” city a couple of years ago. But I’ll agree with Temujin and put my money on Atlanta. That’s a lot of jobs to absorb and I think it takes a large city.

Kevin said...

To me, this is a curious move. A second HQ? It's hard to argue with their success, but I don't understand the need for 2nd HQ. Is it a subordinate HQ? A twin? Planning to vacate the Fatherland?

Amazon is a tech company that is swallowing industries whole. The team that's working on Alexa doesn't need to co-locate with the team designing algorithms to sell more clothing.

PS - there is already an Alexa team working out of Boston.

dreams said...

James Stewart was on CNBC a few days ago extolling the virtues of Indianapolis.

Lauderdale Vet said...

In much the same way that NYC is the export/banking gateway to Europe, Miami is the gateway to South America.

They also already have a lot of infrastructure down here.

Cath said...

Dallas. All the pros of Texas, but cheaper housing and a better airport than Austin.

sysadmn said...

Tough call between Columbus and Indy. They're pretty closely matched on most of the attributes - housing and traffic better in Indy, Columbus has a higher population of tech workers, and one large and several smaller universities; Indiana's large state universities are over an hour from Indy.

Michael Ryan said...

Austin from Boston - where are you?

Unknown said...

As long as it's not Denver, I don't care. The proposal for the new building (yes, still very "artist's concept") is horrid. There's no way we'd get that many more people into and out-of downtown. It would do wonders for the value of my house, though.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"Of the 20 finalist cities, Indianapolis has the least traffic congestion and the lowest average home prices...."

Amazon can fix that.

ALP said...

I, for one, would love to see the impact Amazon could have on a run-down, high-unemployment area of the US.

Richard Pallechio said...

" ... before moving to Seattle, and watched its evolution from sleepy state capital to technology hub and hip cultural magnet."

Seattle isn't a state capital. The capital of Washington State is Olympia, about 60 miles south of Seattle.

JAORE said...

Indianapolis is tops on my list of cities I hate to drive through (followed closely by Little Rock). A 50 MPH speed limit, rough roads, and absolutely awful roadside "art." Ugh.

Rode through there on a motorcycle a few years ago, 3 am, rain, multiple construction zones that seemed to touch each other. Horrible road surfaces, horrible signing. The striping would have been horrible except much of it was missing. Awful, just awful.