While Atlanta landed Norfolk-Southern's headquarters and an Acctenure "innovations lab," Austin brought home the week's biggest national development prize: Apple's $1 billion "campus."
For you scoring at home, that's 1,600 jobs for Atlanta, 5,000 for Austin, which already has a campus at the University of Texas.
Apple's announcement was part of a major national expansion that will benefit towns like San Diego, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and, yes, Amazon's Seattle.
While Norfolk Southern and Accenture are fine companies, Atlanta must be wondering why it keeps getting shunned by sexy new-age companies like Apple and Amazon, which rejected the Georgia capital's bid for a second headquarters, choosing instead Queens and northern Virginia.
Amazon also jilted Atlanta for a regional innovation site, deciding upon Nashville instead. With Austin and Nashville receiving such corporate favor, maybe Atlanta should move to country music from hip-hop. Or start wearing cowboy boots.
Norfolk's move South brought a sharply written "letter to Atlanta" from the Roanoke, Va., Times, which traced how Roanoke a few years ago lost its foundational rail company to the city of Norfolk through a series of mergers and corporate reorganizations. Now Norfolk Southern is abandoning its namesake city for Atlanta.
The feisty Roanoke newspaper suggested that Norfolk-Southern should repay the state of Virginia the millions in incentives the company received just a few years ago to keep jobs in Norfolk.
Longtime Austin residents who espouse the "Keep Austin weird" philosophy likely will bemoan the Apple arrival.
The burgeoning Texas capital is already beleaguered by overdevelopment, including an overburdened water supply. Austin was under a "boil water" advisory when I visited the city in October just because someone flushed the wrong thing down the toilet.
As the Roanoke Times pointed out, the nation's economy is increasingly divided between cities with a highly educated technical work force and old manufacturing communities and rural areas left behind. Cities like Pittsburgh have been able to switch to the new economy while those like Detroit and St. Louis founder.
While once vibrant areas in states like New York, Ohio and Virginia die, some smaller cities flourish. Friday's Wall Street Journal had an article on Greenville, S.C.'s resurgence as a mecca for arts professionals. Buoyed by movie production and medical technology, Birmingham, Ala., the old steel town condemned for Klan violence during the civil rights era, is now a sophisticated city of fine restaurants and hip businesses.
As the Amazon campaign to choose a second headquarters shockingly showed, cities and states are willing to pay millions in incentives for jobs, all too often chimerical. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Amazon will take years to reach the full complement of jobs promised to New York City.
Gainesville, Ga., will say that it also helps to have a native son as the state's governor. Outgoing Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal during his eight years in office steered several questionable projects to his hometown, the AJC reported. The Gainesville largesse includes an impractical inland port that will handle the alleged increase in traffic from Savannah's port when those big ships start arriving.
Thanks to Deal, Gainesville won't be known as the chicken capital for long.