Amazon HQ2 Search Signals Transformative Shift in Site Selection Process

CCIM Institute white paper examines how the Amazon HQ2 search is a reset button.

Chicago, Feb. 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

CCIM Institute Chief Economist K.C. Conway, in partnership with the Alabama Center for Real Estate, released a special report entitled “Amazon HQ2: A Reset Button for Site Selection,” which examines the process used to narrow its large field of contenders and its implications for other corporate relocations.


The special report analyzes Amazon’s easterly growth due to the remaking of North America’s supply chain, retail disruption, the growth of e-commerce, and focus on workforce availability. This focus on markets in the East and Central U.S. is consistent with a key finding in CCIM Institute's report: East is the new West for growth.


“Companies may follow the Amazon process for corporate relocations and expansions,” says Conway. “For midsize companies, this could also become a method of economic development.”


Of the 20 finalists chosen by Amazon, only four of the metros are in the Western U.S. (Los Angeles, Denver, Austin, and Dallas). The other 16 are in the Central or Eastern U.S. — and three of those 16 markets are essentially the Washington, D.C., MSA. Therefore, Amazon's selection list is down to four markets in the West, four in the Central U.S./Canada (Toronto, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Chicago), and nine in the East (Atlanta; Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia/Montgomery County; Miami; Raleigh, N.C.; New York; Boston; New Jersey; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh).


For Amazon, this trend can also be viewed as “the common-sense business reason” — a company follows its customer growth. In 2017, most of Amazon's business customers resided outside of the Western U.S. (860,000 business customers in the West led by California, Washington, and Texas; and 1.39 million in the Eastern and Central U.S. led by New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia).


An analysis of the most recent CY 2016 and Q3 2017 MSA and state-level GDP and job growth data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals that the top MSAs in GDP and job growth are all on Amazon's list of 20 finalist metros.


The white paper covers:


  • How traditional industries that communities relied on for the past three decades for job and revenue growth, such as retail and financial services, are being replaced
  • How Amazon has altered how corporate relocations and expansions will occur in the next decade
  • Why workforce availability is the most important factor driving corporate relocation and expansion decisions today
  • Why Amazon and other expanding companies are moving east
  • Why commercial real estate professionals will play a key role in the new era of site selection


“A thinker and a futurist, Conway brings a valuable perspective that sets him apart from other industry economists,” says 2018 CCIM Institute President David P. Wilson, CCIM.


The full report can be downloaded for free here.






About CCIM Institute

CCIM Institute created the language of global real estate investment. Our courses and worldwide community deploy commercial real estate investment methodologies and tools that speed the pathway between opportunity, a go/no-go decision, and success for an asset, taught by instructors who are themselves industry leaders. Today, the organization, through its 50 chapters, continues to innovate best practices and elevate the commercial real estate professional through its core designation program to earn the CCIM pin — real estate’s most coveted credential — and its topical education courses offered through the Ward Center for Real Estate Studies. In addition, membership in CCIM includes the industry’s best technology and operational platform, allowing entrepreneurial and mid-sized businesses to compete with the largest multinational providers. Today, almost 70 percent of designees hold the title of owner, partner, principal, or president, representing an exclusive worldwide referral network of 13,000 members in 30 countries. Ultimately, CCIM represents a larger vision of the commercial real estate provider, leveraging investment analysis, opinions of value, and underwriting to become a leader in sourcing capital, building a cash-flow vehicle, and ultimately creating value. Information at


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