Why Amazon Should Locate HQ2 in Hanover NH

A modest proposal to Amazon.

October 16, 2017

The idea of locating Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2) in a small New England college town may strike many of you as a bold and inspired choice. That is how it should be.

The fact is that small college towns have been too long overlooked for our quality of life, our productivity, and our contributions to the economy and culture of our nation.

Yes, I’ll admit that Hanover NH may not seem like the obvious choice for HQ2.

Amazon is seeking to build its second headquarters in a location that will attract 50,000 highly-education and sought after employees. Hanover has a population of just over 11,000.  

Then there is the challenge of space. Amazon’s Seattle headquarters has 8.1 million square feet spread over 33 buildings. So we’d have to be creative with space.

Finally, I don’t think Hanover - with a town budget of $26 million - will be able to offer the sort of direct incentives as other cities in the HQ2 competition. 

Dallas is offering a $15 billion bullet train. Phoenix a defunct shopping mall. New Jersey $5 billion in tax incentives. 

The NYTimes seems to give the edge to Denver for landing HQ2, due to Denver's combination of strong job growth amongst tech professionals and flexible transportation options wrapped up with high quality of life.

What Denver and Boston and Dallas and Austin and Miami and Atlanta and Charlotte and DC and all the rest don’t have - and what Hanover does have - is access to small college town life.

There might be lots of colleges and universities in these other cities, but where else but a small college town does almost everybody in town actually attend or work for the college?

In Hanover, we can’t supply 50,000 knowledge workers - but we can supply lots of student workers.  Student workers are just as smart as graduates, and come at a fraction of the cost.

All these other cities may attract lots of educated workers, but what other geographic areas are actually in the business of educating tomorrow’s most sought-after workers?

Living and working in a small college town means paying much less money to attend cultural and sporting events, as almost all of these events feature student-performers and student-athletes.

You might wonder if having Amazon build HQ2 in Hanover would destroy the quality of life that we enjoy living and working in a small New England college town?  That is why we’d want Amazon to create a new type of corporate headquarters - a distributed HQ2.

Rather than moving to Hanover, Amazon employees can live throughout the world.  We have wonderful bandwidth in Hanover - more than enough to support a distributed workforce with high-end video conferencing.

Amazon employees can be low-residency employees, in low-residence in Hanover. When they visit, they can stay at the gorgeous Hanover Inn.  

When not enjoying the academic and cultural life at our local college, Amazon employees who are in-town for a short working visit can ski at our mountain,  golf at our golf course, and hike on the Appalachian Trail.  

Hanover NH may not be the conventional choice, but if happy and productive employees are the goal, then Hanover NH should be the only location that Amazon chooses to locate HQ2.

Just not too many Amazon employees if that is okay with everyone.

Can you make a case for HQ2 to come to your small college town?


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