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Amazon HQ2 race: Denver ranks high on tech talent, livability

Author: Mark Harden - July 25, 2018 - Updated: July 26, 2018

Denver and 19 other North American locations remain in the running as potential sites for Inc.’s second headquarters campus. (Courtesy Amazon)

Here’s the latest of our periodic looks at how Denver ranks among 19 other locations in the sweepstakes to land Inc.’s $5 billion, 50,000-workers second headquarters.

• First up is a new ranking by commercial real estate firm CBRE of North America’s top “tech talent markets.”

Of the 20 cities and regions in contention for Amazon HQ2, Denver comes in at No. 8 on the list.

> RELATED: How bad does Denver want Amazon HQ2? Not so bad, survey says

CBRE says 6.2 percent of Denver’s total jobs are tech-talent occupations, that the local tech labor pool rose by 23.8 percent between 2012 and 2017, and that holders of tech degrees rose by 26.9 percent between 2011 and 2017.

Topping the CBRE rankings are two places not on Amazon’s HQ2 short list: The San Francisco Bay Area and Amazon’s current home, Seattle.

Of HQ2 finalist cities, the topped ranked are Washington, Toronto, New York, Austin, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta and Denver.

> RELATED: Denver mega-development advances; could it be a prime site for Amazon HQ2?

Pedestrians and cyclists gather near the Amazon Spheres at company headquarters in Seattle on May 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

• Meanwhile, tech news outlet GeekWire polled some 2,000 of its readers which Amazon HQ2 short-list city they’d like to live in.

In that comparison, Denver comes in at No. 4, behind Raleigh (!!), Altanta and Austin.

Says GeekWire:

About 29 percent of respondents said they work in business and marketing, while 28 percent are developers and engineers — a specialty of particular interest to Amazon and other tech companies that compete for talent. About 13 percent said they are technology executives of startup founders.

• Over at CNBC — which says that “Amazon’s HQ2 selection process uses some of the same data CNBC uses to pick America’s Top States for Business” — the cable channel notes that Denver is one of seven HQ2 finalist cities that are in states on the CNBC list, along with Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Dallas, Northern Virginia, and Raleigh.

Colorado comes in at No. 5 on the CNBC “top states for business” list, behind Texas, Washington, Utah and Virginia.

• Finally, real estate data purveyor ATTOM Data Solutions ranks HQ2 short-list cities as real estate markets, assessing “seven factors impacting housing market health and quality of life for prospective homebuyers and homeowners.”

Denver places No. 4 on that list, behind Raleigh; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Atlanta.

Amazon is expected to announce its choice for HQ2 sometime this year.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.