Site selector: Memphis has uphill battle to land Amazon headquarters

Site selector: Memphis has uphill battle to land Amazon headquarters
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis business consultant and site selector who's worked with one of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's companies is weighing in on the Bluff City's chances for landing Amazon's second headquarters.

Cities nationwide started clamoring to land the development when word of it surfaced last week; Amazon's second headquarters would reportedly be a $5 billion investment that would eventually employ up to 50,000 people.
"Memphis will have to be exceptionally competitive," said Mike Mullis, with J.M. Mullis, Inc.

Mullis is familiar with Jeff Bezos and his site selections. His Memphis-based global firm J.M. Mullis, Inc. helped Bezos's space venture Blue Origin find two expansion sites.

Mullis also works with Amazon's competitor Walmart to place distribution centers around the country.

"Just look at the tie of Amazon and FedEx. That alone is enough to make it quite interesting," Mullis said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland tweeted last week that Memphis would make a bid for Amazon's second headquarters.

But Mullis said Tuesday there are some significant hurdles Memphis will have to clear to land the headquarters.

The first is the size and scope of the needed workforce.

"Memphis will have to document and convince Amazon they have not only the existing workforce to grow that operation as it grows, but also to be able to recruit many thousand other people," he said.

Mullis said Memphis's size could work against it, with Amazon likely looking to larger population centers and bigger talent bases like Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, or Atlanta. He went on to state that Memphis International Airport poses a challenge in the post-Delta hub days because of its lack of international connectivity.

Still, Mullis said Tennessee's strong business climate is a major selling point, along with Memphis being the home of FedEx. Mullis believes Memphis has an uphill battle, but he urges local officials to push for Amazon anyway.

"I think it will have a significant challenge, but if I were the local government no one would ever tell me I didn't try," he said.

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