Does Omaha meet Amazon's criteria for HQ2?

Posted at 5:31 PM, Oct 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-19 21:40:00-04

Dozens of U.S. cities are battling to become the location of Amazon's second headquarters, including Omaha.

The Seattle company is promising $5 billion of investment and 50,000 jobs over the next decade and a half. But the winning city would have to provide Amazon with generous tax breaks and other incentives that can erode a city's tax base. Many economists say Amazon is a rare case in which a package of at least modest enticements could repay a city over time.

The Greater Omaha Chamber submitted the city's proposal to Amazon ahead of Thursday night's deadline.

Does Omaha stand a chance?

It plans to stay in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the new space will be "a full equal" of its current home, said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

It didn't hint about where it might land, but its requirements could rule out some places: It wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and wants to be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade.

According to the 2015 census, Omaha has a population of around 915,000. The population was projected to reach more than a million in the next decade.

Eppley Airfield is considered an international airport. While there are currently no international passenger flights going to and from the airport, officials say it does have the ability to service corporate jets traveling internationally.

However, Omaha may fall short on mass transit. While the city has added the Bus Rapid Transit down Dodge, talks about adding a streetcar have stalled. The results of a feasibility study are expected in December.

The deadline for cities to apply is Thursday night. Amazon is expected to announce its decision next year.

 The Associated Press contributed to this report.