By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) John Gallagher of the “Detroit Free Press” compares Denver to Detroit as a potential home for Amazon’s second headquarters — a windfall that will bring some $5 billion in new investment and up to 50,000 new jobs over 20 years.
Detroit Free Press
The New York Times recently tested Amazon’s site-selection criteria for its second headquarters against 60 U.S. cities.
It eliminated 59 of them for failing in one or more ways, declaring Denver as the only place to fully meet Amazon’s needs and desires.
By coincidence, I visited Colorado last week and spent a few days in Denver. I saw a lot of what could make Denver appealing to Amazon and a few things that might work against it in Amazon’s decision making.
So today I’ll compare Denver to Detroit as a potential home for Amazon’s second headquarters — a windfall that will bring some $5 billion in new investment and up to 50,000 new jobs over 20 years.
If nothing else, a Denver-Detroit match-up may help clarify where Detroit lags in the contest for America’s richest corporate relocation.
Perhaps the clearest way in which Denver outranks Detroit is public transit.
Amazon says it wants its chosen city to offer a full range of transit options, from light rail and streetcars to a high-speed link to the airport. Denver offers that, Detroit doesn’t.
Denver’s regional transit system operates nine light-rail lines to 53 stations with more on the way. Free shuttle buses run along downtown’s 16th Street Mall. Denver plans even more investment in transit.
And Denver’s classic Union Station is the hub not just for transit but for transit-oriented development, with multiple new high-rise residential towers under construction steps away.
Compare that to metro Detroit’s anemic transit offerings — separate city and suburban bus lines, no regional light rail, no regional bus rapid transit, and voters who turned down the most recent ballot initiative to pay for a more robust transit system. When it comes to the transit that Amazon said it wants, Denver beats Detroit by a mile.