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Cleveland's Bid For Amazon's Second HQ Will Have Pros And Cons, Just Like Any Other City's

photo of RTA train

Cleveland is among the scores of cities likely to bid for the new headquarters Amazon wants to build. The company has a long list of things it’s looking for.

Amazon has specified everything from airport access to population in its specifications for second home city. Cleveland is citing its success with the Republican National Convention – and a growing downtown – as reasons the company should come here.

Kent State University Economist Lockwood Reynolds says Cleveland should definitely bid, but there are some factors beyond its control.

“A 45-minute drive to an international airport -- which technically we do have -- but there are certainly lots of other cities that have international airports that are more international and cover more places.”

Reynolds points out that no one knows how much weight Amazon will assign to certain metrics, and that could make the difference. For example, a city like Chicago may have a larger talent pool, but it also has a much higher cost-of-living.

“We do have a technology sector in Cleveland, particularly around high-tech stuff having to do with healthcare. But so do places like Austin, Texas, which people are pointing at. Another thing Amazon has said is they want a robust public transport system. We have a nice one, but we can’t compete with places like [Washington], D.C., for example. And Austin has almost no public transportation.”

Cleveland’s bid comes on the heels of the news that Amazon is building a warehouse in North Randall.

Bids for the new headquarters are due to Amazon by next month, and a decision is expected from the company by next year.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.