With a new headline every week about another well-known business announcing their intentions of making Raleigh their home, do you ever wonder what it is exactly that has us getting so much attention? One factor, it appears, is our ample, well-priced office space. HQ Raleigh knows a thing or two about that.

The real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle performed a study on all 20 of the metro areas being investigated by Amazon for their “HQ2” and found us among the most affordable. Ranked in the top five cities, the Raleigh-Durham, or “Triangle,” metro area scored very favorably against the others.

When shown the numbers, Charles Hayes, the Research Triangle Regional Partnership’s longtime former CEO, said to WRAL TechWire, “That’s what you call a competitive differentiator. That’s big dollars — huge!”

So how do Triangle office space costs stack up?

Amazon would need an estimated 8 million square feet, and at around $25 per square foot per year, N.C. crushes places like the D.C. area ($60) or Chicago, Denver and L.A. (all in the low $40s). Over a year, the costs in D.C. would be around $480 million versus $200 million here —  “huge” indeed.

While a handful of other places do dip down into the lower $20s range, these mostly rust-belt locations, like Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana, do not compete nearly as well with us in areas like infrastructure, talent pipelines, diversity, weather and amenities.

Raleigh, and North Carolina in general, have consistently performed well in recent years as destinations for corporate expansions and relocations. For three years in a row, N.C. has won Site Selection Magazine’s “Prosperity Cup” as the best state in the country for businesses to relocate. Forbes Magazine also had us first in their similar annual “Best states for business” rankings last year.  

Collaborative work spaces contribute to Triangle’s affordable office space

Office space is not the only thing propelling us to the top of all these lists, but it is a very big thing businesses look at when crunching the numbers and weighing factors on where to go. HQ Raleigh believes strongly that the collaborative work space model is a great way to relieve some of the demand for office space locally. This keeps prices lower for everybody.

Of course, helping to keep office space affordable is only one great benefit shared work environments and job incubators have on an area like Raleigh. We also are able to provide a place for networking and innovation that makes amazing, world-changing companies pop out of seemingly nowhere. So, yes, the Amazons and Apples of the world are banging down the door to come here, but don’t be surprised if the next Amazon or Apple is born here too.

— Written by David Larson: David runs First Page Creative, a writing service specializing in marketing and journalism that operates out of HQ Raleigh. Visit him at firstpagecreative.com or call 703-408-6763 to learn more.