Can Columbus compete for Amazon's new headquarters?

Amazon is opening a second North American headquarters and cities across the United States and Canada are expected to try to get the 50,000 jobs the headquarters would bring. (WSYX/WTTE)

Amazon announced Thursday it will look to build a second North American headquarters.

The new center would be home to 50,000 workers. The company said it would focus on metropolitan areas with more than a million people which would include Columbus.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for whichever city accepts it," said Otterbein Professor of Marketing Michael Levin. "Columbus actually would rank well. It's a great market, a growing market."

Levin said Columbus has a well-educated workforce, good school and a low cost of living.

"Parks, bike trails, hiking trails, cultural items like the theater, symphony, those are also going to be really important," he said.

Professor Mike Betz at The Ohio State University said there are 50 cities with a million or more people. He said most of them will likely be competing for the new headquarters.

"You're likely going to end up with someone who is willing to overpay for that," Betz said.

He said Columbus won't be able to compete with the natural amenities of cities like San Francisco or Denver but the low cost of living will be attractive. He said Columbus will need to know when to back away from the negotiating table if the tax incentives get too high to land Amazon.

"Sometimes those can be good for a community but a lot of times the costs can outweigh the benefits of those," he said. "They're using so many resources and giving up so much to get that company there that in the end it doesn't pay off."

A spokesperson for Mayor Andy Ginther said, "we are intrigued by the prospect but we do not talk about business prospects."

Cincinnati, Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, Hartford and Toronto all announced Thursday they would compete for the new headquarters.

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