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DFW Makes Amazons Top 20 - Developers Are Waiting for the Call

February 2, 2018 | By Bill Webb
Dallas-area developers are sitting by the phone waiting for Amazon to call.
More than two dozen development sites in the area were part of the proposals local economic development officials sent to the Seattle-based digital retail giant hoping to hook the big one.
The prospective Dallas-area sites for Amazon's $5 billion HQ2  projects range from downtown urban blocks to acres of land in the far 'burbs.
While Amazon recently pared its list of prospects from more than 200 spots to a "short list" of 20 cities, so far none of the Big D-area property owners pitching deals who I have talked with have had any face time with Big A.
Rather than a snub, they think it's just too darn early for Amazon to be touring development sites and making phone calls for more project info.
"We would not expect to hear anything directly at this early stage," said Phil Wise with Cienda Partners, which is proposing a home for Amazon HQ2 at its Oak Farms property and surrounding land in North Oak Cliff. "We would be very surprised if anyone has had direct contact either."
Randy Cooper, the vice chairman in the Dallas office of commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, believes Amazon will have to reduce the number of cities on its dance card before it starts looking at real estate.
"Now that the initial short list is done, I assume they are in dialogue to understand, clarify and quantify incentives," Cooper said. "Then they will make a short list of five to eight cities with multiple sites available to them within those cities."
That's when Amazon will drill down into local real estate, he said.
Back in 2001 when Boeing pitted Dallas, Denver and Chicago against each other for its new corporate headquarters location, the aerospace giant scouted local properties in a helicopter and met with developers.
After scoping out potential locations in downtown Dallas and in Las Colinas, Boeing offices decided a move to Chicago was more to their liking. A $60 million sweetener from the State of Illinois - almost $120,000 for every Boeing job making the move - helped land the deal.
That's chump change compared to the billions of dollars in economic development bucks being talked about to lure Amazon HQ2 with its promise of 50,000 jobs.
We'll be waiting by the phone for the call.
By Steve Brown - Dallas Morning News