The chief executive officer of the state’s technology growth initiative is comparing efforts to land Indianapolis a planned, $5 billion Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) headquarters to the city’s 2012 Super Bowl bid. TechPoint’s Mike Langellier says Indy’s inclusion on a list of 20 finalists makes a "powerful statement" to other companies looking for prime locations. Langellier said the city meshes with what Amazon is seeking in areas including availability of a highly-skilled work force, a solid university pipeline and an attractive live, work and play environment.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Langellier added that Indianapolis offers characteristics others can’t. "There are few cities in the country that have attractive real estate options that are close to downtown in an urban setting, which is what Amazon likes — Indy is one of them," he said. "Even though Indy is not the big city that like a New York City is, or a Chicago is, or an L.A. or Atlanta is, we’re on a rapid-growth trajectory and have the ability to pipeline in some talent from some terrific universities and from around the country."
Langellier also says the city has "greenfield opportunities to build what needs to be built," when it comes to public transportation, even though many other competitors currently offer more public transportation options than Indianapolis. "We’re already at a place where there’s public support for it. There’s money behind funding it, and there’s a strategy for moving it ahead, but yet, we don’t have a lot of sunk cost/expense/infrastructure to have to work around."
Within the Midwest, Indy’s competitors are Chicago and Columbus, Ohio. The other finalists are: Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Dallas; Denver; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville, Tennessee; New York City; Newark; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh; Toronto and Washington D.C.
Amazon has not yet detailed the timeline for the next steps, however, it says "the coming months" will be used to drill down further into the feasibility of each community’s proposal. A final decision is expected to come by year’s end. Indianapolis is partnering with the city of Fishers on the bid for "HQ2," which Amazon says will be equal to its Seattle campus and could create up to 50,000 jobs over time.
Langellier says Indianapolis has some advantages over the other finalists.