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Detroit is a top 5 Amazon contender, Inc. magazine says By Frank Witsil

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A national business magazine now has Detroit in the running — in the top five — for Amazon.com’s second headquarters.

"We are hot," Renee Monforton, the marketing director for VisitDetroit.com, said Monday. "We are the comeback city."

The analysis in Inc. magazine by Marty Pupil, president of U.S. Brokerage at Colliers International, a commercial real estate services firm, concluded Detroit would be “a triumph for Amazon from a public relations standpoint.

Pupil's take on Detroit: "There aren't many cities that could offer Amazon a truly urban environment with an incredibly business-friendly local government and affordable housing."

"In one fell swoop," he added, "Amazon could be the catalyst for the rebuilding of one of America's great cities. One challenge for Detroit may be its public transportation system, which is not well developed and ranks very low nationally."

But, landing on lists like this one may be a triumph for Detroit.

So far, most of the speculative rankings have Detroit pretty far down the list.

"Just being among those considered is great P.R.," Monforton said. "It shows there's a belief that we're a vibrant and viable city. Amazon is a big name. It only enhances the positive buzz about Detroit that's out there."

Then again, she added, an Amazon HQ in Detroit "only makes sense."

Businessman Dan Gilbert, who has been leading Detroit's pitch, has said all along that Amazon should pick Detroit, calling it "a legit contender," and declaring that there's "no better place," for the retail company to move to.

 

The city that wins the Amazon headquarters, what Seattle-based company is calling HQ2, would be getting as 50,000 more jobs and at least $5 billion in investment.

Amazon is expected to announce its pick next year.

Pupil puts Detroit in a small group of candidates: Austin, Texas; Raleigh, N.C., Denver, Colo., and Washington, D.C.

Pupil gave a run-down of reasons for other cities:

Austin already has a tech identity and skilled workers. Raleigh, another tech area, would give Amazon an East Coast location. Denver offers top-notch infrastructure and public transit, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos already has a home in D.C.

Other reports — including those in the New York Times and Economist magazine — have said Detroit would benefit from Amazon investment, but most of them have downplayed the city's chances.

In many ways, officials have said, whether Detroit wins the Amazon bid — or not — the city is earning respect by showing up on lists that suggest it has a chance. 

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