Gov. John Hickenlooper: ‘we don’t fall that short’ on infrastructure needed for Amazon HQ2

Colorado scores an “F” for Amazon HQ2 location in a CNBC report.

Governor John Hickenlooper holds a press conference about positioning Colorado to adhere to Paris Climate Agreement standards with or without the federal government. July 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Governor John Hickenlooper holds a press conference about positioning Colorado to adhere to Paris Climate Agreement standards with or without the federal government. July 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; energy; red rocks; governor john hickenlooper; kevinjbeaty; denverite;
Governor John Hickenlooper holds a press conference about positioning Colorado to adhere to Paris Climate Agreement standards with or without the federal government. July 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Gov. John Hickenlooper continued his dance Wednesday of saying Colorado was both ready and unprepared to host Amazon’s second North American headquarters.

The Democrat touted during a CNBC interview Wednesday our higher education institutions, talent pool, “can-do Western attitude” and ability to collaborate as reasons we could get Amazon’s HQ2. Hickenlooper also told the national news outlet Colorado’s infrastructure needs do not put us that far behind other contenders for Amazon’s HQ2.

“We don’t fall that short when you compare us to Austin or Nashville, Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte,” Hickenlooper said. “We have a light rail system. It’s now just rolled out. We have one of the best, most modern airports — fifth busiest in the country.”

The statement seemed come from a different vein than Hickenlooper saying the infrastructure needs were one reason Colorado is a “long shot” in getting the Seattle-based e-commerce giant. Scott Cohn asked Hickenlooper about reports of his “lowering expectations or at least managing expectations about this bid.”

“There are a lot great cities in America. It’s a healthy competition in that sense,” Hickenlooper said. “In the end, our chances — what do you think? One in 10?”

“What we try to demonstrate is this is one of the most desired locations for young professionals in America. And over the long term, that’s going to be much more powerful (than) whether they get a puny billion dollars here or billion dollars there,” he said.

Overall, CNBC gave Denver a “C+” score on meeting what Amazon is looking for, putting the Mile High City behind North Carolina, Tennessee and Atlanta. Colorado scored particularly low, with an “F,” for its location.

Amazon announced its search for a home for its second North American headquarters in September. The facility would employ as many as 50,000 people and bring more than $5 billion in construction and operations investments. Denver and other cities in the metro area worked with the state and Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. to send Amazon one proposal from Colorado in October.

Metro Denver EDC expects “a shortlist of cities is possible by early next year.” Amazon is anticipated to make a decision in 2018.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.