Despite being considered a long shot, South Carolina cities are throwing their hats in the ring to land for Amazon’s second headquarters.
Lured by the possibility of 50,000 jobs and a high-profile, $5 billion investment, South Carolina has submitted at least two proposals for one of the most sought-after economic development projects ever.
For now, the proposals are in the mix next to early favorites like Atlanta, Denver and Washington, D.C. Amazon is expected to make a decision in early 2018.
Amazon has said that its second headquarters will match its current home in Seattle, the sort of promise that has made cities across North America salivate in anticipation of jobs and economic development. Amazon has said HQ2, as the project is referred to, will create 50,000 jobs paying, on average, more than $100,000. It plans to spend $5 billion on a new campus which will quickly be thrust the new hometown into the nation's tech and business elite.
Seattle, home of Amazon’s current headquarters, offers a cautionary tale.
Home prices have spiked faster than anywhere else in the country. Low-income residents have been priced out. Construction and an influx of workers has added to already-bad traffic.
These concerns are some of the reasons Charleston decided to sit out the process. It also took a pass because the region doesn't meet the company's minimum requirements for population, international flights and a transit system. And it doesn't have the capacity for an 8 million-square-foot campus.
Despite concerns, York County and the Greenville-Spartanburg area are forging ahead. Both submitted pitches to Amazon.
Amazon is expected to begin narrowing the field by December, when it will pivot from a widespread, public search process to a handful of private negotiations.