Rejected by Amazon, Kansas City leaders look for future opportunities

Bill Grady
January 19, 2018 - 7:05 am
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There are a lot of opinions as to why Kansas City was rejected by Amazon, which released a narrowed list Thursday of potential sites for a second headquarters.

Amazon whittled its choice of cities down to 20 from 238. 

Some analysts believe the problem with Kansas City is its often-stalled effort to upgrade the airport. Others put the blame on dysfunctional local government. 

Kansas City Mayor Sly James noted that three of the sites are in the Washington D.C. area, suggesting that an enormous corporation like Amazon would benefit from a headquarters close to federal regulators and government decision makers.

One weak link for the area could be technical education, said Troy Schulte, Kansas City, Missouri manager.

"You look at the cities that were on that list: Austin, Boston, Nashville, with Vanderbilt, Raleigh -- major urban universities, significant investments in tech job generation," Schulte said.

Schulte said the city will continue to beat the drum for more tech-related courses at UMKC, while encouraging the state of Missouri to step up its game.

The business community around Kansas City represents an entry in the plus column, Schulte said, because of its pro-growth stance. 

"We keep bumping at that ceiling -- we're always the bridesmaid, never the bride," Schulte said. "Amazon's over but Apple threw their hat in the ring, and if they take proposals, we'll engage on that one, too."

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