Category: Investment (2)


It’s being called the Olympics of corporate relocations, and those in the know think Atlanta has a good shot at winning.

E-commerce behemoth Amazon is courting offers from cities across North America before picking a site for its second headquarters. Dubbed HQ2, the project could eventually house up to 50,000 jobs—with average salaries today of $100,000—making it an equal to Amazon’s $4-billion urban campus in Seattle, per an announcement earlier this month.

Observers far and wide are saying the ATL could suit Amazon’s needs as well as any city, all things considered. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and others report the State of Georgia could dangle a $1-billion carrot of incentives before Jeff Bezos’ nose, despite warnings from Seattle observers that actually landing HQ2 would detonate a “prosperity bomb” of rising rents and other ill effects.

Then again, hooking the whopper that is Amazon could reshape intown Atlanta.

CNN Money likes Atlanta’s chances, shortlisting the city among eight good fits for Amazon and noting: “Atlanta has the advantage of being a major air travel hub that’s within a two-hour flight from 80 percent of the U.S. population.”

An analysis by Brookings is also optimistic—although realistic. “Atlanta is intriguing: its sprawling physical development may be disqualifying,” writes Brookings’ Joseph Parilla, “but the city provides a combination of a deep white-collar labor pool, supply chain technology capabilities, Georgia Tech, and a relatively low cost of living.”

Bloomberg slotted the Big Peach among this shortlist of six: Toronto, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Dallas, and Denver.

And more recently, Bisnow picked the brain of John Boyd, principal of The Boyd Company—an international leader in corporate site selection, based in New Jersey—who said Atlanta will likely be “among Amazon’s top five considerations.”

Sure, Atlanta is burdened with the sticking point that is traffic congestion, but Boyd pointed out a positive not many others have mentioned yet. Writes Bisnow:

“A big lure for corporations to Atlanta and Georgia are both government’s solid credit ratings and its balance of liabilities with pension programs. Boyd said companies are looking more critically at factors like a city’s credit rating and property taxes when evaluating potential headquarter or major corporate presence locations. Georgia has a AAA credit rating among the three big ratings agencies and Atlanta’s credit rating had been upgraded last year to one of the highest.”

Cities have until Oct. 19 to submit proposals to Amazon, which will reportedly pick the winner next year.

Georgia is now the No. 1 filming location in the world, according to FilmL.A., and the industry has a giant impact on the state’s economy.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced film and television productions generated $9.5 billion in economic impact in fiscal 2017. This includes $2.7 billion in direct spending.

In the past year, 320 film and television productions shot in the state, including several Marvel movies, Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

“Georgia’s growth in the film industry — from $67.7 million in direct spending in FY 2007 to $2.7 billion in FY 2017 — is unprecedented, not only in production spend, but also in the amount of investment that has been made in infrastructure,” said Lee Thomas, deputy commissioner for the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, in a statement. “The unwavering commitment to this industry by Gov. Deal and the Georgia legislature has ensured Georgia’s place as a top destination for film and television.”

Sound stage complexes like Pinewood Atlanta Studios, EUE/Screen Gems Studios, Atlanta Metro Studios, Tyler Perry Studios and Blackhall Studios make it possible for so many productions to film here at once. Several other complexes were proposed within the last year, including Three Ring Studios in Covington, CineDome Studios in Chattahoochee Hills and Cinema South Studios in Fayetteville, Ga.

“Georgia is the new leader in TV and film production on the East Coast,” said EUE/Screen Gems Studios Executive Vice President Kris Bagwell. “There are jobs in the production business in almost every occupation, from cook to security guard to driver to construction. This job creates tens of thousands of well paying Georgia jobs. And it’s here to stay thanks to the pro-jobs agenda of Gov. Deal.”

“Not only do we have incredible amounts of infrastructure, but we’re starting to have discussion about home grown production companies, which I think is a missing piece of the ecosystem,” said Ryan Millsap, executive chairman of the board at Blackhall Studios.