Wall Street Journal | Patrick Thomas | May 19, 2018
As Silicon Valley gets saturated, three under-the- radar towns jockey to be the next tech hotspots.
THE RECENT HIGH-PUBLICITY effort by Amazon to place its second headquarters anywhere but the Bay Area underscores a bigger trend: Major corporations, especially techy ones, are moving away from the coasts and planting flags in smaller but fast- growing U.S. metro areas in order to cash in on lower operating expenses and cost of living, not to mention less traffic.
“You’re getting this relatively sophisticated workforce that’s being encouraged to move,” says Sean Worker, CEO of BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, a company that assists with business travel. “In turn, the towns start to get the financing and infrastructure.” With more than 160,000 accommodations in 81 countries, BridgeStreet studies where development dollars are headed, including these surprising boom towns.
Worker believes the skillset of the people, access to clean energy and strong partnership opportunities are what led to a major investment in the city of 150,000 people on the Kentucky border. “Google broke ground in February on a $600 million data center on 1,300 acres,” he says. “And LG is spending $250 million to build an 829,000-square-foot home appliance factory slated to employ 600 workers.” There’s plenty to do, from strolling the riverfront and hiking the Clarksville Greenway to wandering the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center (above)—but Worker’s pick is D&D Black Light Mini Golf for a round of golf.