Business Monday

Will Amazon open HQ2 in Miami? Maybe, maybe not, but city’s profile rises, CEOs say

An Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle.
An Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. AP file| Oct. 11, 2017

This week’s question to South Florida CEOs who are on the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: How do you feel about Miami’s chances for landing Amazon’s second headquarters? Even if Miami doesn’t land the bid, what do you think being part of the list has done for the city’s profile as a professional hub?


Like most folks living in Miami, I’m biased. I could not imagine a better community in which to headquarter your business. With that being said, I believe the key drivers for Amazon coming to Miami should be our economy, educational system and environment — not tax incentives. Being on the short list has forced us as a community to truly think about our strengths and weaknesses.

Vance Aloupis, CEO, The Children’s Movement of Florida


I think it is extremely exciting that Miami was selected as a potential Amazon headquarter. Regardless, if Miami is offered the Amazon bid or not, I believe it is an honor and a positive reflection on our metropolis’s ability to serve as a professional hub.

Margaret “Peggy” Bass, executive director, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center


Amazon now knows what many of us have known for years: South Florida offers unparalleled opportunities for global business leaders committed to employees having the best chance of thriving in a vibrant community. Bringing the Amazons of the world to Miami is not just the Holy Grail of economic development, it also creates opportunities in the areas of housing, job creation, and support for nonprofits. Being included in the Amazon search also helps other business giants take a closer look at the unique value Miami offers.

Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president, CEO, Carrfour Supportive Housing


Even if we don’t win the bid, I think this is great for the city. We are becoming a powerful business hub not only for Latin America but also for the continental U.S. Miami has a lot to offer and is great to see companies like Amazon notice how strong we are.

Jose R. Costa, CEO, For Eyes


We have always called ourselves an international gateway, but Amazon considering Miami for HQ2 reinforces what our business leaders have been building over the past decade: Miami’s evolution as an international business hub. This has been very exciting, and I anticipate this could be a watershed moment with more companies considering a similar move.

Jeff Gouveia, president, general manager, SE region, Suffolk


I hear increasing confidence that we might succeed in our bid. I think it is an uphill climb. I am not sure how effectively we are approaching this as a “South Florida region,” but it seems we are partnering better for economic growth opportunities, which is critical for long term growth. The collaborative efforts among local leaders and municipalities will bear fruit going forward and the recruitment campaign should uncover and positively position us for additional runs at other companies/industries.

Jerome Hutchinson Jr., managing partner, JHJ Marketing Group


I believe Miami’s chances for landing Amazon’s second headquarters are excellent. First, the team assembled by Mike Finnie and the collaboration of institutions and stake holders across South Florida demonstrate that Miami as a community has matured, and we are prepared to undertake this potentially transformative opportunity for our region. Whether Miami is chosen or not, being named a finalist will spur other businesses to look at South Florida for their headquarters or as a venue worthy of significant investment. It also has created a blueprint for what we must do to attract major businesses. Hopefully, we will implement many of the measures advanced in our Amazon proposal regardless of the outcome, such as greater workforce development, improved transportation, increased co-working space, much more affordable housing, and enhanced opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

Willie Logan, founder, CEO and president, Opa-locka Community Development Corp.


Miami is a very attractive place to live and play, but I think the big question is, “Do we have the workforce that Amazon would require for HQ2?” If Miami can show that we have the human capital and education system to support Amazon, I think we have a great chance of being selected because of the new tax laws, our weather, and our strong connection to Central and South America.

Raymond Mobayed, owner, 4IT Inc.


Being on the Amazon second headquarter list is extraordinary recognition of Miami as an important U.S. business location. The threat of hurricanes could be an impediment to selection, although Miami should score highly on all other attributes given the business-friendly environment, talent base, quality of life, and other strengths of our community.

Julie Neitzel, partner, WE Family Offices


We are thrilled with the idea that Amazon is looking to have headquarters here. It’s a smart move and great market for them and for us. Miami today is the ideal international business hub and is still the gateway to Latin America. Miami offers its advantages because the population is so diverse, and has one of the largest mixes of cultures. It is a true multinational population and provides the kind of access that is beneficial to Amazon.

Gene Prescott, president and CEO, Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables


Large corporations consider our city a key business player and a center for economic development. Miami is a city on the rise. As a major media market and innovation powerhouse with a young, diverse population and talent pipeline, we will continue to see many national and international companies come for the advantages that Miami offers.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president, Univision Deportes


The direct access to Central and Latin America, the Panama Canal, a business-friendly tax system and growing base of well-educated and capable employees represent strong draws for a company like Amazon, however, it’ll all depend on their particular priorities. Nevertheless, being included in Amazon’s shortlist has given additional credibility to what Miami’s business community has known all along: Miami is maturing and growing into a top destination not only for tourism, but also for business and innovation. Regardless of what happens, Miami has incredible momentum behind it and there are no signs of it slowing.

Carlos Rosso, president, The Related Group’s Condominium division


I personally cannot be more proud to have our city be on a top 20 list of consideration for an Amazon headquarters. I admire our skyline every day. Miami has become very diverse, creative and many companies are moving here for ease of access to Latin America. It also says a lot about our city’s education system, which produced Jeff Bezos. Let’s hope he can bring it “home.” Nevertheless, it is a pleasure today to walk in the Brickell district and see the professionalism; it feels like New York or Chicago on a cooler, more modern scale. Miami is a professional hub for many companies and being on this list has just catapulted our reputation, and hopefully, it will attract more companies to consider moving to Miami.

Stan Rudman, CMO and owner, Sportailor Inc.


Miami was the Cinderella in the Amazon competition. We were seen by many as the unlikely choice for consideration, but Amazon’s decision to short-list our city confirms what many of us on the ground have already known to be true — that Miami is a world-class city and belongs in the same set as other major markets luring top corporations and global brands. Regardless of whether or not we are ultimately chosen, this has given our market the appropriate cache to cement its status as a major player for corporate expansion and relocation.

Kim Stone, general manager and EVP, AmericanAirlines Arena


We are very proud that Miami has progressed from being viewed solely as a tourist destination to being a potential corporate headquarters location. We are also pleased that our Superintendent of Schools, Alberto M. Carvalho, is recognized as a leader in education, which supports our profile as a professional hub. Whether it’s Amazon or another large corporation, we know that Miami has more to offer than great beaches and weather — although those assets provide an excellent strategic advantage because they cannot be duplicated. We are proud of Miami’s great financial, educational, trade and logistics, technology and health services industries and communities. We’re also proud of the diversity of our community, which can provide a multicultural ecosystem for any multinational corporation.

Teri Williams, president, CEO and a director, OneUnited Bank


If Amazon’s intent is to leverage this move to facilitate a larger move into South/Central America, then Miami’s chances are quite good. Being on the list is a positive for our city because it validates the perception of Miami as a “player” in the business environment.

Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO of Zyscovich Architects



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