National media is lending credence to Kansas City’s prospects of attracting Amazon’s second headquarters.
Inc. Magazine on Wednesday published a list of “5 Dark Horse Cities” to land Amazon HQ2, a prospective project that promises to create upward of 50,000 new jobs in whatever locale that nabs the online retailer’s massive new hub.
While speculative, the Inc. piece cites analysts’ thoughts on cities that are “diamonds in the rough” for Amazon HQ2, including the City of Fountains, Sacramento, Newark, Los Angeles and Toronto.
On the local area’s appeal, Inc. writer Zoë Henry first highlighted Kansas City Mayor Sly James’ creative effort to entice the gaze of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In October, James purchased 1,000 items on Amazon, dishing each a five-star rating and a comment promoting Kansas City selling points — especially affordable cost-of-living.
“Each write-up included a not-so-subtle reference to the Missouri city, including why Amazon should select it as the location for its second headquarters,” Henry wrote. “Take, for instance, this review of a set of $14 wind-chimes, which hearkens to the relative affordability of KC. ‘When it comes to my house and my housewares, there’s nothing I value more than bang for my buck. … I live in beautiful Kansas City, where the average home price is just $122,000, so I know luxe living doesn’t have to cost a ton.’”
Inc. also noted the area’s high prospects of attracting another transformative technology firm: Virgin Hyperloop One. Missouri is reportedly a top 5 contender to win the first track for Hyperloop One, which created a transportation system that would propel people or freight from St. Louis to Kansas City in less than 30 minutes.
“City officials have teased access to an ultra-high speed transportation system, such as Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, to accelerate the company’s growth,” the article reads. “According to recent press reports, the St. Louis-Kansas City corridor is a top contender for a Hyperloop route.”
Analysts and authors Joel Kotkin and Richard Florida also provided fodder to buttress Kansas City’s Amazon pitch. Kotkin worked with the Kansas City Area Development Council on its RFP to Amazon, which highlighted the area’s amenities, culture and perspective headquarter sites among other details.
“Kansas City is a jewel in the Heartland — with a great cultural heritage, affordable housing of all kinds and, most of all, a strong spirit of cooperation across the whole region,” said Kotkin, a professor of urban studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. “The next wave of American innovation seems poised to take place in the Midwest, and KC will be at the heart of it all.”