Otis Sanford: Memphis falls short on Amazon’s wish list


SANTA MONICA, CA – SEPTEMBER 6: The Amazon logo is projected onto a screen at a press conference on September 6, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. Amazon unveiled the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Fire HD in 7 and 8.9-inch sizes. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If we are honest, Memphis is a long shot when it comes to landing a planned second headquarters for the internet retail giant Amazon.

The lucky city that can attract Amazon would see a $5 billion development and a workforce of up to 50,000. With economic numbers like that, why wouldn`t Memphis or any viable city pursue this opportunity?

The Bluff City certainly intends to make a pitch.

We have the necessary transportation thanks to FedEx and the necessary space to accommodate such a large campus. Plus, you can be sure that Memphis, Shelby County and the state of Tennessee would offer enough incentives to make Amazon take notice.

But Memphis fails to deliver the good mass transit system, plenty of recreation and cultural activities, and a homegrown labor force that`s skilled in technology that Amazon is looking for. That would seem to put Memphis at a disadvantage. In fact, while the New York Times listed Memphis among the first round of possible contenders, we quickly drop off the list as other cities emerge as more viable. The Times named its three finalists as Washington, D.C., Boston and Denver, with Denver getting the nod.

But of course that`s all speculation and officials in Memphis are right to at least make the effort. Who knows? Amazon may not go for the obvious, and if we are selected, it would be an economic-game changer.

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