Handicapping the Site of Amazon's Second Headquarters

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Amazon's Las Vegas fulfillment center
Late last week, 20 cities, Dallas and Austin among them, learned that they're finalists for what's sure to be one of the biggest corporate developments of the decade, Amazon's second headquarters. The city or region selected by the retail giant is in line for $5 billion in economic development and as many as 50,000 jobs, according to the company.

Because anything worth speculating about is worth betting on, the lovely people at Bovada, one of the world's biggest online sports books, posted odds on the location of Amazon's second site Friday. Here are the top 10 cities on the list, starting with Bovada's favorite, Nashville, Tennessee, along with the Observer's highly scientific analysis of each city's chances. (Bovada's odds are based on a $100 base unit. A bet on a city listed at +1,000, for example, would pay $1,000 on a $100 bet.)


Odds —

Pros —
hot chicken, hockey player P.K. Subban, whole-hog barbecue at Martin's, Bully, Ryman Auditorium and a surprising amount of green space

Cons — indigestion, constantly hearing that you live in the "new Austin," the Titans, bro country, megachurches

Bet or Pass — pass, if only because 8-1 is a short price for any town on a 20-city list
Washington D.C.

Odds —

Pros — Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the pandas at the National Zoo, comprehensive public transportation, Ben's Chili Bowl, two major airports, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos already owns the Washington Post

Cons — presidential motorcades, taxation without representation, nonautonomous local government, lawyers, lecherous congressmen

Bet or Pass — pass, because Amazon doesn't want to give President Donald Trump anything about which to crow


Odds —

Pros — Outkast, cheap housing, the Varsity, Piedmont Park, Stone Mountain

Cons — horrible public transportation, traffic, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport already has too much traffic, the Braves just moved to the suburbs, the Chick-fil-A in the Falcons' new dome is still closed on Sundays

Bet or Pass — pass; Atlanta's got too many corporate headquarters already, and it's just too hard to get around
Dallas-Fort Worth

Odds — +1,400

Pros — plenty of space for the 8 million square feet of development planned by Amazon, Tex-Mex, Erykah Badu, freely available bikes, Dirk Nowitzki, White Rock Lake, St. Vincent, the Katy Trail, DFW, magnet schools, Pecan Lodge, Adrian Beltre

Cons — freely available bikes, Jerry Jones, the Cowboys and Rangers' being on transit-inaccessible islands, DART's lousy bus routes, concentrated poverty, valet parking, Robert Jeffress, sprawl

Bet or Pass — bet; as Pete Rose taught us, it's always good to bet on yourself

Odds — +1,400

Pros — breakfast tacos, music festivals, already overrun with tech bros, college sports, surprisingly good public transit, Kirby queso, filmmaker Richard Linklater, Spoon, direct access to the Capitol for lobbying, Barton Springs

Cons — segregation, lack of affordable housing, Sixth Street, insufferable college kids, everything is just a little less cool than it was 15 years ago, everyone telling you that things are a little less cool than they were 15 years ago

Bet or Pass — pass

Odds — +1,400

Pros — cheesesteaks, walkability, public transportation, Fairmount Park, BYOB restaurants, history, 76ers player Joel Embiid, the city center, central location to other major cities

Cons — Eagles fans, Phillies fans, Flyers fans, arcane liquor laws, city wage tax knocks almost 4 percent off salaries, parking so bad there's a reality show about it

Bet or Pass — bet; Philadelphia's location, appealing city center and relatively low odds make it a good play

Odds —

Pros — PNC Park, french fries on sandwiches, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, bridges

Cons — Yinzer accents, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, same bizarre liquor laws as Philadelphia

Bet or Pass — pass; if Amazon wants to go to one of the new Austins, it's going to Nashville

Odds —

Pros — In the middle of the country, Colts owner Jim Irsay knows were to find good drugs, Pacers player Reggie Miller, Milktooth, no open-container law

Cons — car-dependent thanks to low walkability and poor public transportation, Colts QB Andrew Luck's health, no chilled beer in gas stations or grocery stores

Bet or Pass — pass; it's just hard to imagine Amazon settling somewhere as bland as Indianapolis
Los Angeles

Odds —

Pros — the weather, Korean food, proximity to the ocean, proximity to Amazon's Seattle headquarters, proximity to Las Vegas, vibrant culture of all kinds, Dodgers Stadium, people-watching, the resurgent Rams

Cons — Sprawl, mediocre public transportation, housing prices, tourists, proximity to Orange County

Bet or Pass — pass; Los Angeles is the only West Coast city on Amazon's shortlist, and it seems clear the company wants to explore new frontiers.

Montgomery County, MD

Odds —

Pros — Washington suburb, one of the nation's most-educated counties, one of the U.S.' wealthiest counties, home to numerous federal agencies

Cons — the county isn't home to any major cities, just bedroom communities for D.C. such as Silver Spring and Bethesda

Bet or Pass — bet; Montgomery County is the only county to make Amazon's shortlist on its own, so for whatever reason, the county's bid stood out to the company