Last Fall when Amazon initiated its food fight among NorthAmerican metros for its “second headquarters,” I predicted in thisspace that the Washington DC area would be the winner. Jeff Bezosand company would pick a 24-hour city in the eastern half of thecountry that would culturally appeal to a millennial work forcewanting the opportunities and amenities of a bright-lights, bigcity environment. The location would need to fit a more progressiveconsciousness in keeping with the current Seattle home base, a deepblue mecca. It would be a gateway city at a transportation nexuswith internationally connected airports in proximity to interstatesand train lines linked into key regions reaching down to the southand into the Midwest. And it would be a place close to a cloudcomputing networking intersection. The area around the nation'scapital fit the bill. It didn't hurt that Bezos owns theWashington Post and would want to make a statement in thenation's political power center.

So the DC area has won the prize or at least half of it. NewYork is the other winner. The Apple fits my parameters on allcounts too—gateway city, the nation's number one draw for youngon-the-make talent, and a progressive bastion. I put New Yorkbehind Washington primarily because even a big company like Amazonmoving into the area wouldn't make the same impact that it wouldelsewhere. It would be just another big company in a city full ofthem.

And so what's the take away? The trend has been clear for thepast generation. Our major U.S. gateways—the 24-hour cities whichdraw the smartest people because of their convenience (masstransit, walkable core residential neighborhoods), and cultural andentertainment amenities—are the places where our nation's businessenterprises want to be. Outside of Chicago, these mega urbancenters are on the coasts and they are where finance,entertainment, tech and biotech have been concentrating for decadesanyway.

Continue Reading for Free

Register and gain access to:

  • Breaking commercial real estate news and analysis, on-site and via our newsletters and custom alerts
  • Educational webcasts, white papers, and ebooks from industry thought leaders
  • Critical coverage of the property casualty insurance and financial advisory markets on our other ALM sites, PropertyCasualty360 and ThinkAdvisor

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Jonathan D. Miller

A marketing communication strategist who turned to real estate analysis, Jonathan D. Miller is a foremost interpreter of 21st citistate futures – cities and suburbs alike – seen through the lens of lifestyles and market realities. For more than 20 years (1992-2013), Miller authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the leading commercial real estate industry outlook report, published annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has lectures frequently on trends in real estate, including the future of America's major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs. He also has been author of ULI’s annual forecasts on infrastructure and its What’s Next? series of forecasts. On a weekly basis, he writes the Trendczar blog for, the real estate news website. Outside his published forecasting work, Miller is a prominent communications/institutional investor-marketing strategist and partner in Miller Ryan LLC, helping corporate clients develop and execute branding and communications programs. He led the re-branding of GMAC Commercial Mortgage to Capmark Financial Group Inc. and he was part of the management team that helped build Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc. (subsequently Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, Inc.) into the leading real estate advisor to pension funds and other real institutional investors. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. in 1981, moving to Equitable Real Estate in 1984 as head of Corporate/Marketing Communications. In the 1980's he managed relations for several of the country's most prominent real estate developments including New York's Trump Tower and the Equitable Center. Earlier in his career, Miller was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers. He is a member of the Citistates Group and a board member of NYC Outward Bound Schools and the Center for Employment Opportunities.