KSM: 'Long-Shot' Central Indiana Amazon Pitch Worth It
INDIANAPOLIS - The chief executive officer and president of Indianapolis-based KSM Location Advisors say central Indiana could put together a compelling bid for the second headquarters of Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), but it faces big challenges. Tim Cook and Katie Culp agree Boston, Denver and Austin appear to be frontrunners, but Culp says the Indy/Fishers pitch will be among the "off-the-radar cities" that could be in the mix. During the debut of the (i) on Economic Development segment on Inside INdiana Business Television, Cook and Culp ran down the challenges and opportunities facing the region and other "HQ2" contenders.
"Think it's going to come down to three things," said Cook. "Do they have the work force to fill 50,000+ high-paying jobs over the next 10-15 years? Can we come up with a really cool, attractive real estate option that's going to fit Amazon's requirements? And then lastly, quality-of-life is going to a be big issue. We're talking about Amazon, a company that's headquartered in Seattle that's got one of the greatest qualities-of-life in the country. That's going to be a really high bar." If central Indiana leaders can prove they can hang in these three areas, Cook believes the effort will go far.
Culp calls it a long-shot, but says many other peer cities and regions will face the same odds. Challenges she anticipates include the sheer size of the Amazon work force, which she says cities of similar size will also struggle with. She adds whether or not the pitch succeeds, the region will be left with valuable information and materials that can be used again in other economic pursuits and the lessons learned can be instructive. "If we didn't put our proposal forward, what would that say?" she asked. "It would say we're not even playing on that field and we are."