Knoxville vying for Amazon’s 2nd headquarters

Local News

Knoxville is throwing its hat in the ring to be the location of Amazon’s second headquarters.

The Knoxville Chamber officially submitted its proposal to Amazon and is asking for residents’ help to show why Knoxville is the perfect place. They’re launching a social media campaign, with the hashtag #ChooseKnox, with facts and information about what makes Knoxville a great place to do business.

Posts should tag @amazon, include #ChooseKnox, include positive attributes, facts or information about Knoxville, and be creative.

In its proposal to Amazon, Knoxville touted the fact that it’s no. 2 on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Affordable Cities, one of the top 100 places to live according to Livability, was the no. 25 ranked city for millennials by Growella, was rated no. 1 by TomTom Traffic Index for cities with the least congested drive time, and the cost of living in Knoxville is 16.3 percent lower than the national average.

“They wanted to be within 45 minutes of about a million people. Here in the Knoxville MSA we have about 850,000 people. We built the proposal around that we’re growing to a million people and we’re almost there,” said Lindsay Hammill, the Director of Economic Development for the Knoxville Chamber.

Hammill says Knoxville’s proposal addresses the strengths of the city, like a connection to technology through the Oak Ridge National Lab to a high quality of living.

“We’ve highlighted the best parts of Knoxville,” said Hammill.

The proposal is in two parts, a magazine booklet and a password-protected website. Hammill says just knowing Amazon’s Economic Development team will review Knoxville’s proposal is a win for the city and could set the tone for other companies to setup headquarters in the area.

Amazon announced last month they would invest $5 billion, creating 50,000 jobs somewhere likely in the eastern part of the United States by creating a second headquarters. A decision is expected sometime next year.

“Having these large corporations bring… it’s probably going to attract other firms. Of course, brings other jobs and brings other tax revenue. That can go into infrastructure, schools, parks, and other things that can attract other business. It’s a cycle,” said Ryan Mickey, Assistant Professor of Economics at Maryville College.

Mickey says a company, like Amazon, coming to town has positive and negative benefits. He says although the number of jobs and revenue might be high, cities should consider how tax breaks and incentives affect long-term financial goals.

“We have submitted our proposal in partnership with the state of Tennessee Economic Development. Governor Haslam’s Administration has been very supportive. We have proposals from them that we’ve included,” said Hammill.

Several other Tennessee cities are also seeking to be the site of Amazon’s second headquarters, including Nashville and Memphis.

Hammill says Knoxville wasn’t alone when preparing the proposal, in fact, there was collaboration between other Tennessee cities.

Amazon will review the submitted proposals as the next step in the process. The Amazon website states all applications are due by October 19. Hammill says after that, cities will be chosen for an official Amazon visit. Those cities will be notified at the beginning of 2018.

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