Texas has placed two finalists, Austin and Dallas, on Amazon’s list of finalists for its second national headquarters, dubbed “HQ2.” The company’s main headquarters is in Seattle.
Metro areas around the country have lined up to offer Amazon the moon in pursuit of a nod from the shipping giant. Landing the prize would mean becoming home to an 8-million-square-foot complex that would employ up to 50,000 people, including managers, software engineers, accountants, and legal and administrative staffers, according to the Washington Post.
Amazon’s 20 finalists now include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami and Denver, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement applauding the inclusion of two Texas cities and expressing confidence that one would prevail.
He said Texas “is a hotbed for the tech industry.”
“When industry leaders like Amazon consider investing in the Lone Star State, they know that our low-tax and limited-regulation environment will appeal to a company’s bottom line,” Abbott wrote. “Texas has also repeatedly been recognized as having one of the best, if not the best, workforces in America.”
There is no doubt the ripples of Amazon landing in Texas would make their way to the Waco area, just 90 miles from both contenders, said Bill Clifton, who serves on the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corp. board. The board makes recommendations on which prospects eyeing a move to Waco should receive incentives.
“I think this would impact communities up and down the Interstate 35 corridor,” Clifton said.
He said he doubts some of the cities under consideration could match Texas’ ability to handle the “spillover,” or the synergies of education, high-tech expertise and economic development that Austin, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and other communities statewide could bring to the table.
Local companies could find themselves selling supplies to the Amazon headquarters, and local residents might consider the jobs so attractive they would welcome the opportunity to commute, Clifton said.
Waco-based economist Ray Perryman agreed Waco would stand to benefit from Amazon moving nearby.
“Many suppliers and customers will seek to locate in relatively close proximity to the Amazon facility, and Waco offers an attractive mix in terms of cost of living, location, and the opportunity to make use of research and workforce opportunities afforded by Baylor University and Texas State Technical College,” Perryman wrote in an email response to questions.
Local vineyard award
Valley Mills Vineyards, a family owned and operated winery, recently won a Double Gold Medal during the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The award-winning wine was the 2014 Estate Tempranillo, with all grapes used to make the product grown in Valley Mills.
Each submitted wine is reviewed by a panel of judges representing sectors of the industry that include media; buyers for the restaurant, food and hospitality industry; retail wine buyers; educators devoted to making wine; and the wine making industry, according to a press release from Valley Mills Vineyards.
The Double Gold Medal is only awarded when every judge on the panel designates an entry as a gold medal winner.
FreshBooks.com has compiled what it calls the 2018 “Politeness Index,” in which small businesses in Texas were judged to be the ninth-most polite among the 50 states, according to a press release.
The index was based on an analysis of invoices, with an eye toward use of the words “please” and “thank you.”
Oklahoma topped the list as the friendliest in the nation, with 49 percent of invoices analyzed featuring those terms. Rounding out the top five were Alabama, Ohio, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Utah and Tennessee tied for last, each with a showing of 6 percent.
The Northeast, according to a news release, “is nearly half as polite as the rest of the U.S.,” while the South is friendliest.
Building permit roundup
- Alterations to Dollar Tree store, Bosque Boulevard and Wooded Acres Drive, $161,000 estimated cost
- Interior renovations to Providence Park Cafe, 300 W. Highway 6, $249,000 estimated cost
- Alterations to McDonald’s restaurant, 3733 N. 19th St., $600,000 estimated cost
- Falls Capital Inc., owner of Stoney’s Liquor, will open a 3,200-square-foot location in the Eastgate Shopping Center at 2500 Bellmead Drive. The new store will feature a walk-in beer cave, wine and spirits, according to a press release. Other Stoney’s locations operate in Cameron, Giddings, Hearne, Lampasas, Montgomery and Rockdale.