DENVER — After months of speculation about where Amazon’s new HQ2 would go, we know it will not be in Colorado.
Amazon announced Tuesday their new HQ2 will be split between Northern Virginia near Washington DC and New York City.
So why did Colorado get snubbed?
We know it wasn’t because of expensive real estate — New York City has some of the highest prices in the country.
We also know it wasn’t because of traffic — Northern Virginia makes I-70 through the mountains look like an enjoyable commute.
“We always looked at ourselves as the underdog,” Sam Bailey with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation said.
Bailey, like many, points to geography as a possible reason Denver was not chosen.
Amazon’s current headquarters is in Seattle in the Pacific time zone. Both New York and Northern Virginia are on the east coast — in the Eastern time zone.
“It could have been our proximity to Amazon’s current HQ in Seattle, our time zone and more that made our bid less attractive,” Bailey said.
Another issue could be the incentives.
New York offered over a billion dollars in incentives. Virginia offered more than $500 million. Colorado’s official bid was never released however we know it was north of $100 million.
Bailey noted that Colorado leaders are limited by what they can offer by state law.
“The governor, the executive director of the office of economic development don’t have the ability to write a blank check,” Bailey added.
It wasn’t all a complete loss however.
Bailey says the media attention received from the bidding process made it well worth it.
“We had over 2,900 articles written about the metro Denver region and Amazon HQ2,” Bailey said.
“You can’t pay for that,” Bailey added.
As for if Colorado leaders will ever release the official bid? That is unlikely.
The Denver Metro Economic Development Corporation isn’t subject to traditional disclosure laws and it is unlikely the bid will be released because of potential impacts on current businesses and future bids.