With $ 5 billion in Amazon's new headquarters in your hometown, you can gain tens of thousands of new jobs. But it could also be a huge headache.
SAN FRANCISCO – In the end, Amazon was pragmatic and not dramatic.
After realizing that finding a city capable of attracting 50,000 high-paid tech workers was not so easy, the Seattle-based company plans to add two new instead of one new headquarters to spread the wealth and give it access broadest spectrum of technical talents.
Two sources familiar with the process confirmed to USA TODAY that Amazon has decided to move the placement of a second Seattle-style headquarters from one city to two. The possibility was first reported on Monday fromWall Street Journal.
The two cities to be selected are neither known nor named, although the New York Times reported on Monday that they will be Northern Virginia and New York City. But the decision is very much in line with the two statements Amazon had been saying all the time. First, he was looking for a second headquarters because he has a wild desire for more talent than he can convince to move to Seattle. Second, Amazon makes decisions based on the facts and is not afraid of changes during the course if the data shows something new.
"My immediate reaction was that they looked at the numbers and decided that they could not get the required number of talents in one place. You add to the increased cost and congestion concerns of having so much investment in one place, and you are coupling this with what has been going on in Seattle over the past few years and wondering if their calculations are going to work out have changed, "said Joseph Parilla, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program.
This is a path that Amazon has taken for almost 10 years. More than a quarter of US technicians and executives work outside of Seattle. The company currently has 17 North American tech hubs with at least 17,500 employees.
Some of the hubs were recognized for their particular technical know-how that had grown in one area, others because they had bought a business and left the employees in place, and others simply bowed to the reality that Not everyone wants or wants to live in Seattle. Amazon's Atlanta offices, for example, focus on fulfillment technologies while machine translation studies are taking place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Seattle-based online retailer announced in September 2017 its search for a second home of great public interest, saying in its call for proposals. Each of them would earn an average of $ 100,000 a year.
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The tempting offer brought cities in the United States, Mexico and Canada into a frenzy. When the deadline arrived five weeks later, 238 proposals were submitted. Twenty finalists were announced in January, 19 in the United States and one in Toronto, Canada.
But while the visions of crowds of wealthy taxpayers suddenly appeared in their cities, other concerns expressed that an unprecedented flood of young, highly educated, well-paid workers from elsewhere could destroy the charm and culture of the cities that made them so enticing in the first place ,
The theme was played very openly in Seattle. What the Seattle Times called the "Amazon Prosperity Bomb" was one of the reasons for a bloody month-long battle in which Amazon and other companies imposed a new corporate tax levy on homeless services.
Seattle's technology-driven economy has led to rent increases that compound the local homelessness problem. This is just one example of the rapid and grave changes in the city's economic makeup that has brought the arrival of Amazon's 45,000 well-paid employees. In 2010, Amazon employed only 10,000 people.
In some circles, the fear of Amazon's arrival in finalist cities is high. Several companies have analyzed what Amazon's HQ2 would do for rents in the selected city, in some cases as much as 30 percent.
The view from Amazon's 1st headquarters in downtown Seattle. (Photo: Elizabeth Weise)
"Overall, a high influx of high-quality jobs is great news, but our research shows that this can hurt annoying tenants, so cities have to be right to worry," said Victor Couture, professor of real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. "Fifty thousand highly paid employees will need a place to live, and simple arguments for supply and demand suggest that housing prices will rise with a limited supply of homes."
A survey of Austin residents found that Only 30 percent said they perceive Amazon as "10" on a scale of 1 to 10 when they think of the company. In Denver, 16 percent of respondents felt that they did not set up Amazon to settle there.
In Atlanta, an anonymous group called Atlanta Against Amazon launched an online campaign against HQ2 and ended their first blog post with "Today is Day 1 of Resistance to HQ2." In Washington, DC, a group called the Fair Budget Coalition "Obviously Not DC," a campaign that reflected the pitch of the district on Amazon, Apparently DC.
There is a city that is not disturbed by the news at all. In Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan told local TV station KIRO that with a split HQ2 would be good. "I would call these branches, that would be good news," she said.
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