Atlanta predicted as the top place Amazon could build headquarters

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On Thursday, Oct. 19 Georgia's Brittany Holtzclaw, a top state recruiter, hand-delivered hardbound copies to Amazon headquarters in Seattle of what insiders call a “formidable” package for “HQ2,” a 50,000-job, $5 billion bonanza with the potential to alter the economic landscape of the winning bidder.

The bidding war is in full-swing as hundreds of cities across the United States and beyond compete for Amazon’s second headquarters.

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In October, the e-commerce giant said the company received "238 proposals from cities and regions in 54 states, provinces, districts and territories across North America."

Among the Georgia bids are outlines for Atlanta and Stonecrest, which is willing to create a city of Amazon exclusively for the company's planned expansion.

But with all of the proposals, which place is most likely to land the deal? Sperling's BestPlaces, a site that specializes in livability issues, conducted a study to create a list of the top places where Amazon could build HQ2.

Researchers identified 64 metro locations as possible destinations based on a set key factors from Amazon. The metrics included a metro population greater than one million, a major airport nearby, a stable business climate, robust mass transit, a highly-educated labor pool, diverse population, low cost of living, and a high quality of life.

They then combined guesses from 18 reputable sources, including The New York Times, Moody's, CNN and CNBC, to calculate an average for each city. Every city not mentioned in a publication received a base score of 50 since the maximum number of cities in one study was 45.

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Atlanta came out on top. It was No. 1 with notable first place finishes from The New York Times Opinion and CNN Money. It had an average rank of 13.6.

"In our Amazon Hyper-Ranking, the metro area of Atlanta is the clear winner, with six 1st-place selections," the report read. "Atlanta was cited by many studies and articles as being large enough to absorb the expected 50,000 new Amazon workers, being a major air hub, and having a reasonable cost of living."

Boston placed second with notable first place finishes from CNN Money and an average rank of 17.2, while Chicago was third with notable first place finishes from Slate and CityLab and an average rank of 21.7. Washington D.C. and Austin rounded out the top five at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

"As several pundits have pointed out, finding a metropolitan area that meets all Amazon's criteria is not only difficult, but impossible,” Bert Sperling, operator of the site, said in the study. ”And the HQ2 project is such a massive scale, that it can transform an area, adding missing infrastructure to meet its needs. In this unique case, conventional thinking may be a disadvantage. I expect to be surprised."

Want to know how other areas fared? Take a look below.

Top 10 places where Amazon is likely to build its new headquarters

1. Atlanta, GA

2. Boston, MA

3. Chicago, IL

4. Washington, D.C.

5. Austin, TX

6. Dallas, TX

7. Philadelphia, PA

8. Denver, CO

9. New York City

10. Raleigh, NC

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