WRAL TechWire: Developer John Kane – Raleigh can win Amazon HQ2, offers ‘Prime’ corridor plan for real estateDate Published:
From WRAL TechWire by Rick Smith — January 18, 2018
RALEIGH – John Kane, the driving force behind the development of Raleigh’s North Hills as well as a strong backer of more development in Raleigh’s Warehouse District, believes Raleigh could win the massive Amazon HQ2 project. And he’s put together a real estate corridor labeled “Prime” that he says would meet Amazon’s requirements for space.
“Prime” also is the name for Amazon shopping service.
However, Kane says he doesn’t know if the Prime proposal is the one Amazon is considering.
“There were lots of submittals from the area,” he said. “We have no way of knowing what they are considering.”
Kane does believe that the region can Answer Amazon’s requirements.
“I believe we can meet the needs of Amazon,” Kane, who heads Kane Realty, told WRAL TechWire on Thursday after Amazon announced that Raleigh is on the finalist list of 20 metro areas vying for the HQ2 project. NC State economist Dr. Mike Walden also likes the Triangle’s chances.
Amazon stressed again in the announcement of workforce availability as a critical factor in determining which metro lands the project that Amazon says will create 50,000 jobs.
Even with unemployment under 5 percent in the Triangle, Kane said Amazon would find people to recruit workers.
“UNC, N.C. State and Duke along with the other area colleges is an incredible resource of employees,” Kane said. “Also the number of qualified people that have been and continue to flood into our market is another tremendous resource.
“Combine that with Wake Tech and the qualified students that [they] are producing and I think we are well positioned to handle [Amazon’s] needs.”
Kane also pointed out that other tech firms already in the area “like Red Hat and Citrix and others that have qualified employees that are coming here and may move between companies.”
REAL ESTATE PACKAGE
Amazon also has said the project will be massive. Its current Seattle headquarters covers 33 buildings and more than 8 million square feet of space while employing 40,000 people.
Kane said his firm in conjunction with Wake County Economic Development submitted a proposal for real estate in Raleigh that he believes would satisfy Amazon’s needs.
He also noted that the package could be boosted with “transit” connectivity. Amazon has cited availability of mass transit as being important to its consideration.
“We submitted a proposal to Amazon through Wake County Economic Development that illustrates the ability to provide ample square footage on a Prime corridor extending from several sites downtown that we control combined with other sites that other partners control,” Kane explained.
“The Prime Corridor extends from the edge of Dix Park through the Warehouse district and downtown through West and Peace, Capital and Atlantic Blvds and to Midtown North Hills.
“Further,” he added, “this corridor could be further enhanced with Transit connectivity.”