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Metro Atlanta Chamber Chair Jeff Sprecher says we have ‘a really good chance’ to win Amazon

Sprecher Lockhart Amazon Jeff Sprecher of ICE answers a question from retired Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart at World Affairs Council lunch (Photo by Maria Saporta)

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta’s chances of getting Amazon’s second headquarters is looking pretty good, according to Jeffrey Sprecher, CEO of InterContinental Exchange (ICE)who is this year’s chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

Sprecher shared his views Thursday during a conversation with Dennis Lockhart, the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, at a lunch program organized by the World Affairs Council of Atlanta held at the Commerce Club.

“We have a really good chance,” Sprecher said in response to a question about Amazon. “We have an amazing infrastructure here that allowed our company to grow, not the least of which is Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.”

Sprecher said Atlanta also have become a city that is more appealing to millennials.

Sprecher Lockhart Amazon

Jeff Sprecher of ICE answers a question from retired Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart at World Affairs Council lunch (Photo by Maria Saporta)

“I remember being asked to put money into a bike path – millions of dollars,” Sprecher said about the fundraising effort to develop the Atlanta BeltLine. “Thank God that bike path is there. It has fundamentally changed the way we think about our city.”

Amazon received proposals from 238 communities interested in luring the headquarters.

Sprecher referenced several studies and odds-makers that have put Atlanta either at the top or near the top of cities favored to win the Amazon HQ2 bid. He said he agreed with that analysis.

Asked whether efforts to pass a religious liberty bill in the state legislature could hurt Atlanta’s chances, Sprecher spoke of the bipartisan nature of leadership in the state – having a Democratic capital city and a Republican state legislature.

They “have come together for issues that matter, and it’s been a phenomenal partnership,” said Sprecher, adding that leaders in Atlanta and Georgia have worked through those issues before. “I think it will work out.”

Most of Sprecher’s conversation with Lockhard at the World Affairs Council centered on how Atlanta-based ICE has grown over the years, and the notoriety it has received for acquiring the New York Stock Exchange.

Sprecher actually bought the company for $1, and he was able to seize opportunities to grow the financial services and market exchange so that it now has a market cap of $38.6 billion.

“We have 12 exchanges,” Sprecher said. “The New York Stock Exchange is only 6 percent of my business. The other exchanges are more ingrained in the international market. We set the price of oil, and we set the price of cotton. But it’s cool to say we own the New York Stock Exchange.”

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Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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4 Comments

  1. Burroughston Broch October 27, 2017 1:52 pm

    If Metro Atlanta “wins” this Amazon project then the taxpayers lose. This is one of the worst forms of corporate welfare.Report

    Reply
    1. Charles Kelley October 27, 2017 8:26 pm

      Sir, would you care to elaborate?Report

      Reply
      1. Burroughston Broch October 28, 2017 6:59 am

        Gladly. Look at the inducements promised to Amazon and determine who would pay to provide them. It is the same task as determining the Atlanta City taxpayer’s investment in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, only on a much larger scale.Report

        Reply

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