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In new analysis, Atlanta scores a B+ as possible Amazon HQ2 location

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Ranked behind two Texas cities, Atlanta still lands high among shortlisted finalists, as CNBC sees it

Curbed Atlanta

In a recent analysis by CNBC examining the top remaining Amazon HQ2 finalist locations, Atlanta remains a strong contender, earning a B+.

CNBC used data from its 12th annual America’s Top States for Business study to grade the locations based on Amazon’s search criteria. These include:

  • Metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people
  • A stable and business-friendly environment
  • A readily available pool of talent
  • A place where people want to live

According to the CNBC evaluation, Atlanta remains “an economic powerhouse,” but shows “some weakness” regarding quality of life due to health issues.

Ahead of Atlanta, both Austin and Dallas each earned an A-, thanks to Austin’s strong tech scene and Dallas’s combination of highly rated infrastructure, economy, and workforce, plus abundant air travel options.

Atlanta’s grade of B+ isn’t a far cry from the A- given CNBC’s leaders, but five other finalists are given the same grade.

In comparison, it’s quite a drop from the No. 2 ranking Atlanta received in a GeekWire poll that named Atlanta as the second most appealing choice for HQ2, with Austin following in third place. Surprisingly, in that poll, Raleigh, N.C. took top honors.

At the onset of Amazon’s search for HQ2, the company stated it would name a winner in 2018, but it doesn’t seem all that close to announcing an HQ2 location yet with less than five months remaining in the year. (Repeated Curbed Atlanta inquiries to company reps have been ignored). Widespread speculation is that another, shorter list of finalists will come first.

But with the promise of 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in construction on the line, it’s a good bet these cities are willing to wait as long as Amazon wants to make that final choice.