RALEIGH – Adrienne Cole flashed a smile, her face brimming with confidence, as she responded to the question: “Has anyone told you that you are wasting your time in pursuing HQ2?”

Adrienne Cole (C) Capitol Broadcasting

“Absolutely not,” she replies almost instantaneously.

“We are in as good a shape as anyone.”

Although Cole says she is not a “betting person,” she said with confidence that no one should wager against the Triangle.

HQ2 is shorthand for Amazon’s second headquarters project – worth as much as $5 billion worth of investment and the creation of 50,000 jobs.

And should Amazon select the capital city area, it could handle the company’s massive needs for office space to accommodate those new jobs, according to Michael Haley, executive director of Wake County Economic Development.

“As a region, I can saw we can handle Amazon’s needs,” Haley explained in an interview. But he noted: ”It’s going to take a region, regardless of any community Amazon picks.”

Haley would not comment about how many sites in the Triangle were discussed with Amazon.

Waiting to hear

However, he did note that the selections represented a “variety” of options.

He also said that “we have not heard any specifics from Amazon” and that the company is continuing its due diligence “to find what they believe is the right place.”

Reports in the media have said as many as seven sites have been discussed in the region’s response to Amazon. The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina are conducting the very secretive negotiations with Amazon.

The Triangle is one of the final 20, and while Cole said she couldn’t answer questions about specifics related to that project – or any other – she declared:

“Raleigh and the Triangle are well positioned.” The region offers what Amazon has said it needs in its original requests for proposal citing HQ2 requirements, from low cost of living to quality of life, workforce availability and talent, education, and technology innovation.

The Triangle can “piece it all together,” she said in an interview before the Chamber opened its economic development summit with Chamber officials from Indianapolis and Nashville. All three cities are on the list of finalists.

Haley echoed Cole’s comments about whether the Triangle is still in the hunt. Amazon has said a winning metropolitan area would be selected this year.

Haley declined to answer questions about whether Amazon officials have made or will make a second visit to the Triangle. Officials at state and local level, bound by a non-disclosure agreement with Amazon, have not confirmed on the record that Amazon’s search team has in fact visited the region. Media reports have said that is the case, citing unnamed sources.

Neither Cole nor Haley would discuss anything about the possibility of the Triangle being considered for Apple’s declared plan to build a new campus and hire as many as 20,000 people. The secrecy surrounding that project has been even tighter than that clouding HQ2’s process.​

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