Back in September, TeleRead’s Chris Meadows invited Amazon to bring its second headquarters complex to Indianapolis.
Lo and behind, Indianapolis is among 20 finalists announced today, along with–get this–Northern Virginia, D.C. and nearby suburban Maryland (news accounts here; more details from Amazon here).
I myself live in Alexandria, Virginia, just across the Potomac from D.C.
Ah, the power of the TeleRead blog! Maybe we can not only get Jeff Bozos to locate near one of us but also do ePub and text to speech as regular Kindle features.
The 20 possible locations for HQ2 are Toronto, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, Boston, New York City, Newark, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, Northern Virginia, Atlanta, and Miami.
Besides the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos owns a D.C. mansion, so a headquarters in or near my neck of the woods would offer him an easy commute.
Speaking of commutes, the D.C. area is already pretty congested, but the tech talent pool here is vast, and many in the industry might enjoy the cultural and educational attractions.
Tellingly, most of the possibilities are in blue states. Hint, hint, hint to Donald Trump and the GOP. Maybe well-supported local and state governments actually are better for industry, regardless of your war against them. One of the locations, Toronto, in evil progressive Canada, is even outside the U.S.
238 communities competed. From the related news release:
Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon Public Policy. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”
Amazon evaluated each of the proposals based on the criteria outlined in the RFP to create the list of 20 HQ2 candidates that will continue in the selection process. In the coming months, Amazon will work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community. Amazon expects to make a decision in 2018.
Amazon HQ2 will be a complete headquarters for Amazon, not a satellite office. The company plans to invest over $5 billion and grow this second headquarters to accommodate as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.
With more than 540,000 employees worldwide, Amazon ranks #1 on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, #2 in Fortune’s World Most Admired Companies, #1 on The Harris Poll’s Corporate Reputation survey, and #2 on LinkedIn’s U.S. most desirable companies list. Amazon was also recently included in the Military Times’ Best for Vets list of companies committed to providing opportunities for military veterans. Over the past five years, Amazon has invested more than $100 billion in the U.S., including corporate offices, development and research centers, fulfillment infrastructure, and compensation to its teams.
Related: In-depth GeekWire story. Also see a Washington Post story, including a table showing the size of the incentives that various bidders offered. Odds for the D.C. area are looking good.
I pity those who live in the city Amazon selects. I know, because I watched what Amazon did to Seattle. It’s a major reason why I left.
1. Home prices began to rise faster than the incomes of most in the late 198os, but Amazon growth after 2000 made matters far worse. Buying a home is now beyond the reach of most people. My own suspicion is that Amazon wants another city because it realizes that attracting skilled people to a city with such high home prices is expensive.
And keep in mind that there is no easy fix for the housing crisis. Seattle is wedged between Puget Sound and Lake Washington. The only land available for new homes is far to the north and south. But the city also has one of the worst rush-hour traffic jams in the country. Build where there are still lots, and you’ll spend an hour or more in traffic each way.
The city has also wasted so much money on a poorly designed light rail system that bus tickets almost doubled in price during my last five years there and just after I left in 2012, over 170 bus routes were to be curtailed or eliminated. You can’t beat the traffic by taking a bus.
By the way, Microsoft has shown more sense. It’s located east of Lake Washington, where there’s still land for new developments. Building Amazon’s headquarters just north of downtown Seattle was a really dumb move.
2. There are business ties between two billionaires Jeff Bezos and Paul Allen that’s not good for the average citizen. Both are responsible for the huge growth on South Lake Union that’s driving these housing woes. Both should be paying huge property taxes to compensate for the problems they create. Instead, the city’s politicians, every beholden to the rich, are pushing the problems out onto communities, including the one where I lived, Phinney/Greenwood.
Parking there has always been a problem because the homes were built long ago and most depend on street parking. You’d think the city would be forcing new developments to have sufficient parking. Not so. The city is waving its own occupancy/parking requirements for new construction. That harms the neighborhood, but means cheaper apartments for Amazon employees, hence less pressure on what Amazon pays.
Like I said, unless you’re planning to retire soon, sell your home, and move far away, you don’t want Amazon to pick your city.
And why do city politicians want Amazon? It’s commercial real estate and those rapidly rising property values on homes means lots and lots of tax money for them to bestow on their friends. The average citizen gets screwed, but they make out like bandits.
And notice I didn’t even mention the costs the average citizen and business will have to pick up to cover the incentives being offered Amazon. What Amazon does not pay, they have to pay.