The double-edged sword of Amazon’s HQ2
Friday, October 20, 2017
"Amazon is performing a competitive site selection process and is considering metro regions in North America for its second corporate headquarters," Amazon wrote in its request for proposal, seeking a home for HQ2.
If the thought of having a retail and technology giant call your city home wasn’t exciting enough, the tech giant is also promising to bring 50,000 new jobs, $5 billion in up-front construction investment and an inevitable boost to the local economy.
Cities that still needed convincing after that just need to take a look at Seattle, home of the first Amazon headquarters. In the seven years Amazon has called Seattle home, the local economy has seen $38 billion in additional investments just from Amazon alone.
A total of 24 Fortune 500 companies that have ties to engineering and technology have made the move to Seattle in those years. It’s also the fastest growing city in the United States.
There’s no question that winning this bid would mean big things for any city, both directly and indirectly. Although to do this, there are a couple of contingencies. Amazon is looking for it all.
It wants a city that has a metropolitan area of 1 million people or more, immediate access to public transportation for their employees, as well as proximity to an international airport.
After taking these factors into consideration, you would think many North American cities would be crossed off the list. But even smaller cities like Frisco, Texas, are jumping in the race. The Dallas suburb has offered to dedicate the rest of its growth to building around Amazon. Frisco aren’t the only ones looking to offer incentives to the mega-company.
To stay relevant, many places are offering tax breaks and incentives to lure them in. Already developed sites, new airline hubs and connections, and construction of fiber-optic lines have already been mentioned.
Some cities have resorted to gifts and other techniques to make it on the list. Tucson, Arizona, donated a 21-foot cactus, Birmingham, Alabama, placed giant Amazon boxes all over the city and Kansas City, Missouri, ordered 1,000 products off of the site, leaving a review (positive of course) for each one.
Amazon is looking for a deal, and when you’re as big as that company, it’s hard for people to say no. But is Amazon moving to your city too good to be true?
A lot of infrastructure isn’t ready to handle the hysteria that a company of such massive size would bring. Amazon moving in would mean an increase in the cost of living, a strain on public roadways and transportation systems, as well as talent being stolen from already established companies.
All factors considered, it is likely that Amazon will select a major city that already has several other headquarters to call their new home. According to data collected from Moody’s, the top five potential cities include: Austin, Texas; Atlanta; Philadelphia; Rochester, New York; and Pittsburgh, with Miami and Boston trailing behind in the top 10.
Final proposals were due to Amazon Oct. 19, with the final site selection and announcement not scheduled until mid-2018. With the already outrageous proposals and offers we’ve seen so far, we can expect to see even more once Amazon announces their narrowed down list.
With this ordeal consuming the news and creating competition between cities across North America, Amazon is getting exactly what it wants: worldwide publicity and people fighting at the chance to call Amazon their own.
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