San Antonio trying to lure Amazon to build second headquarters in area

Nirenberg: ‘We have the workforce, infrastructure and quality of life'

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SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio could be one of several cities across North America trying to lure Amazon to build its $5 billion second headquarters in their city.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the Alamo City is a 21st century leader.

“We have the workforce, infrastructure and quality of life that all major corporations look for in a location,” he said.

Jose Tamez, a managing partner for Austin-Michael, a retained executive search firm, said San Antonio falls short in several key areas that companies such as Amazon look for.

Tamez’s firm has worked with Amazon in the past. He thinks the city should be applauded for making the effort to attract Amazon, but he points to the city’s weak areas.

“The difficulty for San Antonio really is the fact that we don’t have a regional airport, per se,” he said. “We can't go direct to Seattle or direct key points across the country, so that affects the city.”

San Antonio in recent years has worked to address such claims, with the San Antonio International Airport frequently adding new destinations like daily non-stop direct flights to Seattle via Alaska Airlines.

Another weak area Tamez pointed to is the quality of life that people who would work for Amazon would be interested in.

“Quality of life for the workforce they're tapping into is actually a group of young people, a lot of millennials,” he said.

San Antonio does not have a high pull of high-tech talent, but Tamez said other Texas cities, such as Houston, Dallas and Austin, could fit the mold.

He said Austin especially since Amazon recently purchased the city-based Whole Foods Co.  He thinks if Austin lands the deal, it could be a positive thing for companies in the region.

“Amazon is known for acquiring talent, but has a difficult time retaining that talent,” Tamez said. “With that talent in the marketplace, it gives others a chance to tap into it, other companies in town, Valero, HEB, USAA. So there would be that benefit.”  It may even help raise wages, he said.

In the long run, Tamez thinks opportunities like this could help the Alamo City learn a lot about its strength and weaknesses.

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