Could Raleigh Draw Amazon and Apple?

Amazon is still considering the Triangle for its huge HQ2 project, and downtown Raleigh is where the ecommerce giant is most likely to build what would be a massive complex if North Carolina’s capital is the winner, according to sources.

Several of the same sources also note that an announcement of Apple’s selection for a new campus is “imminent.”

North Carolina has been aggressively pursuing both economic development projects which promise billions of dollars in investments and as many as 60,000 jobs.

Winning the Apple project does not preclude the Triangle from being selected by Amazon, sources say.

The people familiar with the Apple and Amazon deal negotiations interviewed for this story insisted upon not being identified due to non-disclosure agreements or the fact they have not been authorized to discuss details of the projects.

Amazon has announced plans for a $5 billion investment that the Internet giant has said would create some 50,000 jobs over a decade-long process. The Triangle is one of the 20 finalists for that second headquarters announced by Amazon earlier this year. And numerous people say that there has been no indication that Amazon has dropped the Triangle from its shopping list.

In fact, a source said that a meeting between N.C. officials and Apple “went much better than anyone expected.” Amazon recently completed tours of each metro area listed as a finalist.

One Triangle developer pointed out that Amazon is expected to make a “cut” from 20 to a smaller list of finalists. Amazon has said its final choice will be announced this year. ...

After considering several sites in the Triangle, including at least two in Raleigh and three in Research Triangle Park, Amazon has made it known that downtown Raleigh is its preference, a source told WRAL TechWire Wednesday.

“They want to go urban,” a source said.

That statement is supported by Arlington, Texas, officials who said recently that the city was no longer under consideration because Amazon wanted an “urban” site.

However, the site being considered is not the “prime” corridor plan offered by Raleigh developer John Kane, who is the driving force behind projects in North Hills as well as downtown, a person familiar with the matter said. Kane’s “prime” plan included a number of properties already available stretching from near Dix Park to North Hills along Capital Boulevard. ...

Details of the preferred site remain unclear, but a source noted: “Buildings would have to be built … there are virtually no vacancies downtown.”

Amazon has said that its project would require some 8 million square feet of office space.

“They could build in Raleigh just like they have in Seattle,” a source said.

Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Wake County Economic Development officials have declined to comment on the Amazon talks although Chamber CEO Adrienne Cole told WRAL two weeks ago that Raleigh is still in the hunt and that if she were a betting woman she wouldn’t bet against the North Carolina capital. ...
— Rick Smith - WRAL
Brent Woodcox