Amazon “delivered” disappointing news Thursday.
Houston didn’t make its short list of potential cities for a second headquarters. But two other Texas cities did.
Austin and Dallas are the on the list of 20 cities now vying for what’s known as Amazon’s HQ2. It’s a $2 billion investment promising up to 50,000 jobs.
“Houston lost out, unfortunately,” said Giselle Rodriguez-Greenwood, Houston Business Journal Editor-in-Chief.
She’s been following the city’s sales pitch from the beginning.
“It’s a pretty big testament to Texas’s business strength in attracting big corporations in the fact that we had two cities make the cut,” Rodriguez-Greenwood said.
The Greater Houston Partnership was among several groups who submitted proposals on behalf the city.
“I believe this is a wake-up call for Houston,” CEO Bob Harvey said in a statement. “While there has been growing momentum in the innovation space over the last couple of years, this is a clear indication that we have much more work to do as a region to grow our digital economy.”
“We’re in a challenging environment and, in some sense, it’s a red flag that we’ve got to look out for our own place,” said University of Houston Economics professor Steven Craig.
Craig says we need to diversify beyond oil, gas and energy and focus on the high-tech workforce companies like Amazon may be after.
“The decline of the petroleum industry is a big challenge for us,” Craig said. “The hurricane is a big challenge for us. How we collectively deal with these big challenges is really important.”
Amazon did not cite specific reasons behind its decision.
Many analysts ranked Houston low on the list before the announcement and pointed out mass transit challenges and even the crime rate.
Read Amazon’s full announcement here.