North Carolina tops CNBC list for Amazon HQ2 destinations


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Location, quality of life and cost of doing business lead the long list of reasons business leaders in the Piedmont Triad believe North Carolina is primed to land a transformative project like Amazon’s HQ2.

Amazon received 238 proposals from cities across the country and Canada, but only one will get the nod to be the tech giant’s new home.

CNBC grades North Carolina as the top state to land HQ2 based on population, stability, workforce and location.

"It was great validation to see CNBC agrees with our thoughts here locally,” High Point Economic Development Corporation President Loren Hill said.

The report mentions Charlotte, Raleigh and the join bid between Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem. Even being mentioned on the list is a game changer in the minds of economic leaders in the Triad.

"It adds a lot of value because it gives you credibility in the world market place,” Winston-Salem Business Inc. President Bob Leak said. "That begins to send a message out to companies that may not have considered us before."

CNBC does critique North Carolina’s lack of mass transportation in it’s grading, but stakeholders here believe the highway system is one of the best in the country.

"We don't need a MARTA system like Atlanta has because the Triad is so easy to get around in,” Leak said.

Another critique is the tech workforce and talent available in North Carolina, but Hill and Leak both believe the Triad’s potential for growth will attract that population if Amazon comes to the area. On top of that, they both believe the state can offer competitive incentives and one of the best business climates in the country.

"We reward a company for their investment and their job creation,” Leak said. "If they make their numbers, they get a nice incentive, if they don't make their numbers, they don't get it."

The Triad’s joint bid includes six sites between Guilford and Forsyth counties. The Greensboro-Randolph Megasite is not included as it is in Randolph County.

"We've chosen now not to make those public, but we can tell you they're both downtown locations and suburban campus locations,” Hill said.

Amazon says it will spend $5 billion on it’s new headquarters, creating 50,000 jobs. Behind North Carolina on CNBC’s rankings were Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and the three major bids in Texas between Dallas, Houston and Austin.

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