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The Pros and Cons of Public Site Selection Searches

Last year, Amazon single-handedly turned the site selection profession into a household name. As just about every living soul in the U.S. and Canada by now knows, in late summer 2017, Seattle-based Amazon publicly announced its plans to establish a second headquarters in North America. News spread far and wide, precipitating a race among local communities to cobble together the most successful bid they could possibly dream up, and dream they did. The creative measures that were undertaken — one Georgia city offered to change its name to Amazon if chosen — fueled the media frenzy. For much of the year that followed, hardly a day went by without hearing something about Amazon HQ2.

Interestingly enough, the online retail giant’s recent decision to split HQ2 between New York City and Washington, D.C. created far less hype than the search itself did. Interesting because the decision was arguably far more unusual than the search itself. Despite Amazon’s public search process being widely criticized, the fact remains that public site searches are not new and have their advantages.

To shed light on both sides of the debate, Area Development magazine asked GLS Principal and Vice President of Operations Monty Turner to discuss the pros and cons of public and private searches. Read his article to see if the facts he provides might help you make up your own mind.