- Los Angeles was included on the shortlist for Amazon’s new headquarters contest.
- This comes as something of a surprise, as Los Angeles was not considered a top location by most experts.
- Experts are split on what this could mean for the eventual HQ2 winner.
Los Angeles – the city of angels, and future city of Amazon?
LA has inched closer to becoming the home of Amazon’s new headquarters after it appeared on the company’s shortlist of 20 locations. Somewhat of a surprise, LA was not really on the radar of most experts. It appeared on few, if any, lists ranking the cities with the best chances of eventually landing the new headquarters.
“LA is definitely the biggest surprise on the list,” entrepreneur Michael Parrish DuDell, current CSO of CouponFollow said in an emailed statement. “My best guess is that Amazon included Los Angeles as little more than a gesture.”
California offered $300 million in tax incentives for Amazon to move to the state, but geographically it’s an uphill battle. It’s the only city on the shortlist on the west coast. Three of the shortlisted locations are in the DC metro area, and at least seven of them are within an Amtrak ride of the nation’s capital.
Aside from geography, LA is missing several characteristics that Amazon said it preferred for its new home. Most notable is transportation, where LA famously lags behind other cities of a similar size. Though it has made strides in recent years, public transportation is still nowhere near many of the cities it is competing with, like DC and New York.
Combined with LA’s notorious traffic, this could also make local residents wary of wherever Amazon would try to place a 50,000 person headquarters.
LA also has a smaller pool of technical talent than other cities like Austin, Texas. There are a few big tech companies in LA’s “Silicon Beach” like Snapchat, and the neighborhood of Playa Vista has attracted big Silicon Valley names, but cities half of the size of LA still dwarf it in this respect.