Is the Research Triangle a legitimate contended for the massive $5 billion, 50,000 job Amazon HQ2 project? Various studies are all over the map with RTP ranked a contender to having no chance.

For example, The Brookings Institute’s study doesn’t even list the Triangle in the top 20.

However, high-profile Anderson Economic Group sees the Triangle as No. 12 on its list.

And a Silicon Valley economic development tool startup lists Raleigh-Cary (not including Durham-Chapel Hill and thus much of RTP itself) as its No. 6 choice.

Here’s a look at these three reports, which are among the most recent in a host of studies done since the Amazon HQ announcement last month. Bids to win the project are due to Amazon by Oct. 19.

The Proven list

Let’s start with the data compiled from Proven, the San Francisco firm that likes Raleigh’s chances.

“Our platform ranks cities based on the number of great companies that are already there, Proven’s Miguel Avila tells WRAL TechWire.

“Choosing a city is not just about taxes and incentives. Amazon needs good people, and needs to know that other companies have already chosen to locate in that region.”

Raleigh-Cary receives a score 53.74 from Proven. The capital city MSA ranks behind Phoenix, Jackson Ms., Boston, Washington D.C. and Miami.

And Raleigh gets a boost from the existence of tech companies such as Red Hat as well as Cary-based SAS.

“We determine the community scores by the number of high quality companies that are in a region. The more companies that are in the region, the higher the score. We look at things like number of employees, the profitability of those companies and the investment they are making in the region,” Avila explains.

Why not include Durham and Chapel Hill?

“We just picked the Raleigh-Cary MSA but we could also look at the greater region too,” he says. “We just happened to look at the region in this case as an example.”

The company relies on data – especially job creation – provided by economic developers to help generate the score.

“The most important thing we look at is the relative strength of the company that has decided to invest in the region,” Avila says. “The more jobs they create, the higher the score. We ask each Economic Development Organization to help us compile the data, which then informs the scores. The local economic development organizations are best positioned to know exactly which companies have settled in the region.”

Avila also says a region’s record for attracting companies is important.

“We believe that great regions attract great companies,” he says. “The more companies that a region attracts, the more important it is. This is a better way to judge the quality of a region, we believe, than other metrics.”

The AEG list

Raleigh ranks 12th among 35 metro areas ranked by AEG with three key factors leading to an overall index score.

Its score of 3.65 os based on the following ranks among the 35 cities:

  • No. 6 – Cost of doing business
  • No. 7 – Ease of transportation
  • No. 33 – Labor and business services

The top 11 cities are:

  • New York City
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Boston
  • Atlanta
  • Washington D.C.
  • Philadelphia
  • Dallas
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Diego
  • Cleveland

Read more about the report at:

The Brookings Institute’s top 20

What follows is the Brookings list in alphabetic order:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Seattle
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Washington, D.C.