Amazon

Amazon Announces Shortlist for New HQ; Abandon Hope All Ye Who Live in These Cities

How the hell did Brogden, Pennsylvania, and Anderson, Virginia, not make the list?

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Amazon, the mega-site that controls more and more of our daily life by giving us stuff we want at low prices, has announced a shortlist of cities that it's considering as the location for its "HQ2," or second headquarters. The list includes the following cities, culled down to 20 from over 200:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • New York, New York
  • Northern Virginia
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Washington, D.C.

A decision on the $5 billion project is expected by the end of the year. Be happy if your hometown is not on the list, which promises to be the century's biggest crony-capitalism deal. Without any inside information, I'd say Toronto and D.C. are the top two, simply because they are in the eastern time zone and seats of growth and power. Toronto is the coolest city in North America, simultaneously foreign but familiar. Both the provincial government and Canada's federal government will do whatever it takes to land it and, unlike a lot of the Rust Belt cities vying for the prize, they've got deep pockets. The Washington area is a region that's among the very wealthiest in the United States because, as all readers of The Hunger Games understand, the Capital District always brings home the bacon. Being on the opposite side of the continent from Seattle and within walking distance of legislators who control all sorts of tax codes and labor laws has got to very attractive, and that's even before local goverments bend frontwards and backwards to accommodate Amazon. Texas is a strong bet too, given that state's economic and population growth and relatively low cost of living.

All the finalist cities have been going bananas in offering the online giant all sorts of subsidies, tax breaks, and bribes. Dallas is saying the HQ2 would have bullet-train station, for instance, while the city of Newark and the state of New Jersey are promising a combined $7 billion in tax breaks. Southern California is talking a billion dollars in subsidies and Philly, home to long-suffering sports fans, really nasty people (love them all), and great food, is talking about 28 million square feet spread over several linked sites.

Which brings me to quite possibly the best Reason TV video of all time (IMAO). From the feverish minds of Austin Bragg and Andrew Heaton, here's "Desperate Mayors Compete for Amazon HQ2." This is life-changing.

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145 responses to “Amazon Announces Shortlist for New HQ; Abandon Hope All Ye Who Live in These Cities

  1. If that’s the list it seems obvious to me that the “winner” will be Atlanta. The south is hot and that city can crony with the best of them.

    1. I hope they love traffic.

    2. Shouldn’t this thing be in a suburb, or a duly sprawling city, rather than a place like NYC?

      1. Or Boston, DC, etc. (Boston? Really?)

        1. Why don’t they just build their own city, and let them come?

        2. They’re proposing the Suffolk Downs racetrack area, so not Boston proper. No tax incentives offered, so it’ll never happen – way too many other places willing to pony up.

          1. In fact, Massachusetts has been offering Amazon the opposite of tax incentives.

      2. Maybe not. They don’t have to take delivery on most things, but they do have to be able to direct traffic [for moving goods]. Taxes will probably receive the most weight in the final decision, with warehousing needs being a factor for anything that demands inspection by customs officials.

      3. That’s why I thought Somers NY would be a good choice. Still close enough to NYC for the “nightlife” yet not in the middle of that cesspool. There’s the now-empty IBM Somers campus, a large multi-building on a hilltop overlooking i684, abandoned and available now that Dead-Company-Walking has moved everybody offshore. Situated between two stations on Subway-North (oh, excuse me, the Harlem Division of Metro North). Plenty of spare employees now that Dead-Company-Walking and others in the area have downsized.

        Major downside is it’s in the tax-happy “Vampire State” of New York. But it does have the SJW Liberal mindset the Amazonians would probably love.

    3. Atlanta has the transportation infrastructure but I really want Amazon to stay the fuck away.
      Toronto would be nice, or D.C./NoVa/MD. Anywhere outside REAL AMERICA is OK.

      1. Atlanta has the transportation infrastructure

        Yeah, but can you actually use it, or is it just a bunch of sitting in traffic? Every time I visit my sister and her family I’m struck by just how much driving there is to get anywhere. Drive to get out of the housing development, drive clogged roads to get to the arterial road, drive some more just to get to the grocery, then drive it all back home. God help you if you have to actually go long distances.

        1. And if they stick it in a suburb as opposed to a central location, good luck to half its employees ever getting to work on time.

          1. I live a little over two hours outside of Atlanta. I’ve traveled there many times and have several good friends who live there. Having been to most of the large cities numerous times I can say Atlanta, LA, and Houston are the three worst traffic cities in the US. I’d never live there and most of my friends work from home and say if they didn’t they wouldn’t live there either. It’s absoutely terrible.

            1. Atlanta is on par with Seattle: the both lock up during rush hour. I actually hated Seattle more – you get lucky in Atlanta sometimes. Outside of rush hour, its not so bad. LA on the other hand… might as well live in the country, because going anywhere to do anything is at least a 45 minute drive – and that’s staying inside the county.

        2. Atlanta airport sucks.

          1. Really? I fly through Atlanta a lot and find it easy and quick to navigate with acceptable food options.

          2. I don’t get this. I never have problems in the Atlanta airport. It’s one of the best-run airports in the country.

          3. Paloma: That’s because its controlled by Delta, in service to the mayoral slush fund. Or is it the mayor pulling their strings and telling them how to run their airline? No matter. The business of a ‘hub’ has been stretched too far, and a little anti-trust action from the DOJ would likely improve efficiency by re-introducing competition. Even Air France [an alleged alliance partner of theirs] receives the red headed stepchild treatment by being hamstrung with their business systems, which pretty much foul up them doing a lot of things when it comes to ticketing. Houston by comparison is a little more even handed, despite the massive United presence consuming its real estate.
            I hate Atlanta airport, as they can’t even find their own bags in their system too often, and if you change itinerary [with 4 hours before your original flight was to take off] they will NOT, under any circumstances attempt to re-route or retrieve your bag. Funny, but they will pull a bags off international flights when a passenger fails to board, and do so successfully in about 15 minutes. They can weld the doors shut on their “service counter” and tell the entire crew behind that counter to pack sand, as management has seen to it they remain useless.

        3. Atlanta’s original name was Terminus – it only existed because that’s where the railroads junctioned. Today its salient feature is that it’s where I-20 (the NAFTA pipeline), I-75 (Detroit to Tampa) and I- 85 (Main Street of the industrial South) junction. I-285, “The Perimeter”, the Atlanta bypass for truck traffic, is about 40 years out of date and they keep talking about a super-perimeter further out but there’s too many competing jurisdictions that all want a piece of the development pie for anything to ever get done. So yeah, traffic sucks ass if you’re sitting in your car on the top-end, but Atlanta’s roads weren’t made for cars, they were made for trucks. Atlanta’s design is a gigantic warehouse.

          1. ^This^

            Atlanta is a major city because it is such a geographically-suited place to get here from and go elsewhere to every direction.

          2. You know who else ended up in Terminus?

            1. Don’t know, Nyssa or Hari Seldon?

      2. Uh, it’s nice to think of transportation as your very own car, but what Amazon needs is lots of air and rail options, with a bit of road traffic on the side. Atlanta would make sense from a logistics standpoint, but this is about bribes and politics, not business.

        1. Amazon’s HQ2 office doesn’t need any rail options; they’re not building a warehouse/distribution center.

    4. Atlanta isn’t a tech hub and they have the worst airport in the US.

      1. Really? I fly through Atlanta a lot and find it easy and quick to navigate with acceptable food options.

      2. I thought the worst was O’Hare.

        1. Denver is pretty bad.

        2. Nope, the worst has got to be LAX.
          LAX: Now you can visit a third-world shithole without even leaving the United States!

      3. Obviously none of you have every flown through JFK. That is BY FAR the very worst airport in the country.

        Atlanta? Gimme a break. It’s a dream to fly through it compared to most other airports and especially JFK.

        1. JFK isn’t even the worst NYC-area airport. That would be Newark and it’s not close. Every time I think of JFK, I wonder how many millions of people from other countries flew to NYC for the first time expecting the glitz and glamor of Times Square, but were then met with the harsh reality of that completely horrid drive through the shithole known as Queens.

        2. Let’s not forget Laguardia

      4. Uh, isnt’ one of the advantages of tech is that it opens up business to working outside any “hub”? If Amazon builds there, the tech will follow. They don’t write software or need access to chips in development as a business at Amazon – they just need to use something that works. To that end… anything but winbloze, and build something on open source [as Google had the good sense to do]: the cost savings on licenses alone should pay their tax bill. Amazon uses tech [and very well it seems] but they are to the 21st century what Sears was to the 20th: a reseller and convenient source, but with the added benefit of being an open marketplace – if I decide to sell my old Motobecane 15 speed bicycle, I just might choose to sell it there. Try going into any Sears today and ask for a simple local listing [much less floorspace] to sell something under their banner. Blank stares and crickets await…

        1. You OBVIOUSLY don’t work in tech.

          1. “You OBVIOUSLY don’t work in tech.”
            …nor does Flinch appear have the slightest clue how Amazon works. From another comment apparently Flinch believes Amazon is building a big warehouse. There is an RFP on line that describes what this is. Hint: there is no warehouse in this project.
            BTW, there is an “Amazon pop up store” near here. Flinch should find one and drag his old bike there and ask for a simple local listing or some floorspace.

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  2. Haha, missed the Heaton video, haven’t seen it before. Wonderful. All future Heaton videos needz moar bearded dude.

    1. Austin Bragg is always there producing. He just doesn’t appear that often.

      1. He’s great in the Libertarian Edition videos.

  3. while Newark and New Jersey are promising $7 billion in tax breaks

    Umm…

      1. What about the sub 80 IQs which Newark features?

        1. How bright do you need to be to follow instructions from a computer?

          Take this package to dock 4.
          Go get whatever is sitting in location 48D-15 and bring it back here.
          Go take your lunch break.
          Take whatever is next on the conveyor and put it in a box.
          This ain’t rocket science.

          1. Hey, I’ll take ya packages, but putting shit in da boxes is a different union, see?

    1. New Jersey? Tax hell, and… run for your life. They have to offer 7B because their laws are that bad. Amazon better not touch that with a ten foot pole – one act of the legislature there and their business model finds a knife at its throat. The only way I would ever live there is if I used a REIT to purchase housing as an investment and could thereby get access to tax deductions not available to joe sixpack, gifting me a housing allowance which would serve as a paper chase to cover rent. It is the worst place in the union to be a private citizen, and commuting from Brooklyn would leave employees under some kind of double taxation scenario.

  4. “Montgomery County, Maryland”?

    That’s not a city. Rockville, maybe.

    1. “Northern Virginia” is also not a city. It’s a sprawling, undifferentiated suburban garbage-region.

      1. But it’s YOUR garbage region.

        1. WRONG. I live in Hampton Roads, which is a jumbled-up patchwork garbage-region.

          1. The Tidewater would be perfect. Sorry you fags didn’t make the cut

            1. Hey, this fag already lives in the place that’s scaring away Amazon in the first place. Have respect.

            2. Hampton and Virginia Beach were both in the running. Hampton offered to let Amazon move into this old-ass star fort that they can’t figure out what to do with. Virginia Beach’s reason why Amazon should move there was basically ?\_(?)_/?.

              1. If a 10 year old boy was making the decision Fort Monroe would’ve clinched the deal.

          2. Here is a map of Hampton Roads, if you want to educate yourself.

            1. Great water transportation, good air transportation, horrible roads (despite the name).

              1. The “Roads” part actually does refer to the water – Hampton Roads was the colonial-era name for the mouth of the James River. The land roads (both surface and interstate) are so fucked up that the Navy declared them a major threat to operational readiness a few years ago.

            2. Hampton Roads is also one of the few places in Virginia where you can hunt pigs.

              1. The war on cops has truly taken over.

              2. -1, Pork Lives Matter.

    2. It almost seems like a code.

      The decision is between “Montgomery County, Maryland” and “Northern Virginia” but pad the list with actual cities for dramatic effect.

    3. Does anyone know the difference though between Rockville, Bethesda and Silver Spring? It is just one big sprawl with speed cameras everywhere.

      1. Rockville is basically Chinatown. Bethesda is NIH plus places for NIH people to eat. Silver Spring is also know as Thank God We’re Not Tacoma Park.

  5. If they insist on coming to Illinois, I can’t for the life of me understand why they’d go to a dying shithole like Chicago instead of an up and coming area like Naperville. Any business that would touch Cook County with a ten foot pole must be out of their minds.

    1. I like to imagine they’re taunting them to hurt then later

      1. Or to see how high the offer will go.

    2. “But Chicago will change its name to Amazon!”

      1. GO BEARS!

        *Amazon* Bears.

          1. Not without his Buddy….

        1. You know who else loves bears?

    3. I guess it depends on whether it’s a corporate office or some sort of warehousing facility. A central location is still attractive if you want to attract corporate types from around the region. Dumping it in some surburb off to the side, not so much.

    4. Chicago-area resident here, thinking this may just be a joke that Bezos and company are playing on Chicago and Crook County. String along the mayor, county commission, and anyone else willing to stick their neck out; make them pour a ton of money into proposals, then shoot them down and say “just kidding, joke’s on you.” The potential real-estate developments being considered are huge and stunning, but there’s just no way in hell anyone should even consider a place like Illinois for serious business development. Kind of like how the Olympics committee was happy getting stroked by all the Chicago politicians during the selection process, but took about 30 seconds to eliminate Chicago on the first vote back in 2009. It really says something when the Olympics think “wow, you guys are a mess.”

      1. Oh yeah, and Newark? WTF, seriously? At least Chicago is kind of a nice place on the surface. All I can think is Amazon will be more than happy to take the billions of incentives that NJ is offering, knowing that they can pack up and leave after 10 years when NJ implodes, and go milk some other cow for their next HQ.

        1. Trump was actually thinking of Newark last week when he was alleged to have told the truth. Newark is not exactly Bergen (Norway, not county).

        2. So, basically, the IOC model?

  6. Clearly, Amazon will set up shop in California or New York because those places have the progressive policies that drive innovation, obviously.

  7. The existing businesses in these cities must be a little pissed that a newcomer is going to harvest a shitload of tax breaks that don’t apply to them and that Amazon is likely to suck out their best employees.

    1. Oh yeah. This is all cronyistic nonsense. The people should be blessed not to get it.

    1. Me too. It’s bad enough that we have two fucking NFL teams and the Olympics. This shit is the last thing we need.

      1. You live in LA? What percentage of your comments are posted while sitting in traffic?

        1. Hugh is a shut-in. He never leaves the house. This is known.

  8. I’m hoping Boston will get smart and say “no thanks”. The outcry in MA about the cost and traffic associated with the 2024 Olympics was enough to get the IOC to take Boston off the list… maybe we’ll get lucky twice?

    Let someone else take them.

    1. Boston coming together to defeat the Olympics was legitimately one of the most moving and inspiring stories of that year.

    2. I’m hoping Boston will get smart and say “no thanks”.

      I think, as libertarians, we are all hoping more cities get smart and say “no thanks”. Not that Amazon shouldn’t have an HQ, but that it shouldn’t be able to conduct an online version of Celebrity Apprentice: Crony Mayor Edition so brazenly.

      1. Sadly, it’s as if the cities themselves know they’re not attractive to businesses in general. So they need to dress up the pig if they want to sell to someone who’s not already entrapped by the city.

      2. I think, as libertarians, we are all hoping more cities get smart and say “no thanks”.

        As a libertarian, I hope that one of the liberal shitholes deludes itself into believing that having HQ2 is a good thing and gets it. And by “liberal shithole”, I mean Boston, Oakland or San Francisco, not Haiti.

        Yes, San Francisco actually wants HQ2.

        1. “Yes, San Francisco actually wants HQ2.”
          The way the city gov’t treats business and the local luddites trashing the commuter buses were probably enough to tell Bezos that SF = no way!

    3. I hope Boston gets it; they so richly deserve HQ2.

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  10. Texas is a strong bet too, given that state’s economic and population growth and relatively low cost of living.

    “Texas” isn’t on the list, “Austin” is. Not the same thing at all, particularly when it comes to “economic and population growth and relatively low cost of living.” Plus innovation-numbing progressive business regulation.

    1. You can’t even use Uber in Austin, IIRC.

      1. Why would you need to Uber in Austin? They have great buses, if you don’t mind the occasional bus rider taking a dump in the aisle, or the bus driver lowering the wheelchair ramp at every bus stop even though there are no wheelchairs in sight.

      2. You recall incorrectly

        1. Then something changed between summer 2016 and now.

  11. “The only way to win is not to play.”

  12. My city would offer full diplomatic immunity to Amazon main office personnel.

  13. As someone who wants to get rich off cronyism rather than watch others do it, I hope they pick my city. Wages will certainly go up as a result.

  14. Washington DC? Really? Its obvious half the cities on the list are just there to shut up politicians who would try to use violence to force Amazon into their jurisdictions to take the pressure off Amazon while it works out where it will HQ next.

  15. I like Toronto and all….top city in Canada blah, blah…..but cool?

    Montreal gives long stare.

    Define “cool”.

    *I have to admit the city is coming along. When we used to go out clubbing, Montreal was nothing but raves and after hours heaven. Toronto in good old Protestant square head fashion would shut down at 11pm or some shit.

    Things are changing. Not that I got out clubbing and would know.

    1. Toronto was pretty damn cool when we used to party there during school in Buffalo a couple decades ago, except the bars closed too early. I hear it does still have some of that “Toronto the Good” vibe which has its pluses and minuses IMHO.

      Montreal gives long stare.

      In a foreign tongue 😛

      1. /finishes chewing last ketchup chip.

        Dude. Compared to Buffalo… /wink. I kid. Neve been.

        Yeh, but it’s a no contest between the two. Montreal has always been king for nightlife. Torontonians came here; not the other way around. The hedonism was off the charts.

        Toronto is a great city and takes too many ‘inferiority complex’ jibes from the rest of the country.

        1. Nightlife was actually very good in Buffalo but I was never into anything terribly hedonistic. Toronto was most useful during the ages of 19 and 20.

          1. Then the 2000’s came along and killed nightlife everywhere with their stupid smoking bans.

            1. This way you can tell which places are cool by how many people are standing outside and smoking.

            2. Tell me about it.

        2. Are hedonism and night life more vital for productivity or for innovation?? Do all the genius millenials Amazon clearly MUST have make their work decisions based on how easy it is to get stoned and drunk? Or is it more about gender fluidity or some shit? Easy access to orfices?

          This should be interesting. I cannot believe Amazon has learned nothing from their experiences with Seattle progs…but who knows? The hardest thing to believe about progressives is how hard to believe they can be.

  16. It won’t be DC. Even though they may be close to power and corruption, the costs of doing business in DC and NOVA are way too high, especially in DC. if Amazon is at all cost conscious and wants to avoid lawsuits by employees then DC is out of the question with NOVA running a close second. At least VA is employer friendly.

  17. I wish Amazon would come out and say that they refuse to build in any city that is considering a minimum wage hike. The actual backtracking of the mayors of some of these cities may be more comical than the Heaton spoof.

  18. I suspect Amazon will consider logistics far more than crony bribes on this one. Weather, airport accessibility, airport under-utilization, and proximity to the highest customer density. Toronto, Boston and Atalanta are either too frozen most of the year or too busy so don’t be surprised if some off-beat place like Columbus Ohio or maybe Pittsburg or Philly gets the bid.

    1. Yeah, and the bribes will probably more-or-less cancel each other out anyway.

    2. Atalanta frozen? Only if you order a burger at Waffle House.

      1. Let’s not make jokes were can’t take back.

    3. Meh. I don’t think an on-line reseller is too concerned with “customer density”. No one place is going to contain a very high percentage of Amazon users. Weather and airport should be huge concerns.

      And if they decide it’s okay to pay their lowest-paid workers $15/hr., I’ll have to try to avoid using them, sry.

  19. If Bezos has a lick of sense, he’s got Elon Musk as chief negotiator on the deal.

  20. Familiar enough? It’s pretty Americanesque if you ask me.

    I always viewed Toronto as a rich man’s Cleveland and poor man’s New York.

  21. It would be surprising if Bezos opened HQII in a state with an income tax–he’s accustomed to not having to pay employees an income tax premium in Washington State. He’s well aware of employee costs, and Seattle should have taught him about costs of doing business under a proggie-controlled government.

    Wherever he lands, the cost of living is going to rise significantly and he might not want to add income tax on top of that.

  22. 10/10 video

    1. You shamed me into actually watching a video on reason – it was indeed excellent.

  23. That video was fan-fucking-tastic.

  24. That video was fan-fucking-tastic.

  25. How did podunk USA not make the list? That’s not a real question, and everybody [with a brain] knows it: HQ2 is going to go someplace where infrastructure supports fast shipping. South Atlanta works, on account of alot of available real estate, easy trucking access, and getting things on that FedEx plane is super easy. But mix in locations of manufacturers and local tax structures and it isn’t that easy. Personally, anything near I-20 or I-40 makes good sense. I don’t like Austin, but that has the advantage of tax costs being relatively fixed: it’s all about the real estate in Texas.
    So enough equivocating. My bet is… Raleigh NC, because servicing the east coast [where most of the people are] without severe blizzard hazards along with being far enough inland to not really worry about hurricanes is a winner.

    1. “and everybody [with a brain] knows it: HQ2 is going to go someplace where infrastructure supports fast shipping. ”

      No, everyone with a brain knows HQ stands for “headquarters”. No warehouse. No distribution or shipping.

  26. I’m thinking Raleigh, NC. Bring in enough lefty engineers and they might be able to flip the state to the Dems.

  27. I kind of hope the come to Raleigh because there’s not enough arrogant overpaid douchebag assholes here yet.

  28. I picked Toronto before I saw your pick. I figure Jeff Bezos would see picking a city in Canada as a way to poke a finger in Trump’s eye. Great idea. Not only would it blur the Donald’s sight–he never had vision– but it would also get Bezos out of the country more often.

  29. It’ll have to be Denver Colorado, Not only could they get stone on their breaks but also sell pot online :).

  30. Update: National Treasure, Iowahawk, has weighed in on each finalist:

    https://twitter.com/i/moments/954078583957278720

    1. That was excellent, though the character limit didn’t allow him to do justice to some cities. Funny though.

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  35. They should pick LA.

    People in the new headquarters will need to talk to people in the old headquarters sometimes. You still can’t do everything with email or twitter. If you want to call or video conference someone they person need to be in the office. That means they need to be in the same time zone. That means they need to also be on the west coast. Of that whole list only LA is on the west coast. I bet they won’t pick it, but they should.

    Alternative – put it in another time zone but require in the new office to work Seattle hours.

  36. ”Toronto is the coolest city in North America”

    As a Torontonian, I’d like to thank you for that line, and for the convulsive fit of uncontrollable laughter it induced.

  37. As a Seattleite all I can say is I wish they’d thought of this 10 years earlier… Then Seattle wouldn’t have been completely ruined! It was a communist infested hell hole even when I moved here, but it’s been cranked up to 11 because of Amazon and the other tech stuff their presence encouraged. I wouldn’t wish HQ2 on my worst enemy.

    A lot of you seem to be thinking “warehouses.” They have those ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. This is corporate. It will be sky scrapers filled with a combo of fat neck bearded real programmers, metrosexuals, “diversity” hires, and brogrammers. Minimum wage and normal benefit laws are of no importance, they already pay well above any legal requirements in every way. Taxes, and maybe other regs are big in their minds. Their open letter said “business friendly environment” in about a dozen different ways.

    My money is on a progtard city in a conservative state. I would bet on Austin as #1. Already a tech hub, super “cool,” but has Texas regulations and taxes! Dallas apparently is in the running too, and it is a major business center, so maybe. Other than that I would go for the other cities in red states. Unlike startups Amazon has the power to pull people into wherever the choose, so even some random place like Miami might be a for realz consideration because they don’t have to be in a tech hub, they will MAKE it a tech hub.

    1. As far as things go, it will ruin whatever city they move to. If you live there, BUY REAL ESTATE because it WILL shoot up a ton. They’re mostly responsible for more than doubling Seattle prices in a span of a few years. Seattle is the largest corporate town in the USA now thanks to Amazon employing a larger percentage of the work force here than any other company in any other city in the USA.

      I’ve been saying tech companies need to spread the lovin’ around a little more for years, and with the non tech hub places on the list it seems at least one company is considering it. Personally I don’t think they should be building an HQ2 at all, but rather large offices in 3-5 of these cities. One ginormous mess of tens of thousands of people in a single city is just too distorting and fucked. If 10K Amazon employees were spread around several cities it would be a boon to every single one, but here in Seattle it has actually got to the point of basically being a net negative for most people, even the ones who work for Amazon. They make $150K a year… And literally can’t afford to buy a 3 or 4 bedroom small square footage house in a decent neighborhood. It’s a friggin’ joke.

      If tech companies would just expand into some of the MANY other major metros around the USA a little more it would be highly positive for the whole country, and lower operating costs for them, instead of destroying SF, Seattle, Boston, etc.

      1. “If 10K Amazon employees were spread around several cities it would be a boon to every single one”
        I have thought that too.
        These monster HQs (Amazon, Apple and Google seem infatuated with the idea; Microsoft has for a long time, and some other big companies like SAP and HP are going the same way, though HP is doing it by laying off any tech talent not in Palo Alto. Then the companies whine they cannot get enough talent at their monster-sized campuses (because the quality of life sucks due to too high prices of too many people, or just because people don’t want to live in those locations) so they need more H1Bs and other ways to fill the ranks.

        And I would argue to Amazon – screw the benefits to the US, it is better and healthier for Amazon. Long term they don’t want to be a slave to the politics and taxes of one or two cities/states. And once you go to two HQ sites, many meetings and projects will be on-line anyway, so 4-6 big sites won’t make a big difference.

        1. Agree on everything. I’ve thought it through over and over and the only thing that has ever made it make sense is that it is the egos of the CEOs driving it. I know a lot of programmers, and many are from the midwest and looked hard for decent IT jobs where they grew up… They almost don’t exist, or are all for very low level jobs and have no room for advancement. Stuff like maintaining corporate websites for companies that nobody ever visits their websites anyway, stuff like that. The pretentious CEOs can’t imagine wanting to live anywhere other than SF, so OBVIOUSLY every single one of their workers that makes 1/10,000th of the money they do, must ALSO want to live somewhere where a 2 bedroom condo costs 2 million dollars!

          Traditional Fortune 500 companies actually paid attention to silly things like real estate costs, operating costs, wages in a region, etc and located in many cities where those things were all favorable. Tech has literally setup exclusively in the places that are cool, and also are the worst possible places to be in every other way. Many of the programmers I know would have preferred to stay in Cleveland where they could buy a spanking house for 200K, and would gladly have accepted tens of thousands less a year in salary to do so.

        2. I imagine the bean counters will win the day sooner or later. If I owned major shares in Google or whoever I’d be on their nuts constantly to contain costs and start expanding in lower cost areas of the country to maximize their profits! And it would be great for the cities too. Adding 10K $100K a year people is awesome for a city… 100K people into a city of 600K initial population (Seattle a decade+ ago) has been a nightmare for everybody.

          As tech becomes less of a weird niche specialty industry, and more just another type of gig lots of people do, it really needs to spread out geographically. Practically no other major industry is as over concentrated as tech is nowadays.

    2. “warehouses”
      Yep, it is pretty funny how many people think Amazon is looking to build “the world’s largest warehouse”. Maybe what “HQ” means is confusing. The RFP is easy to find on-line. Most jobs will be $100K+, not minimum wage.

      “Miami”
      This one had me confused. But if you consider Newark, Indianapolis, and some of the other finalists, I think they are looking for not just tech and management but logistics talent. Note, “logistics” isn’t warehouse workers, but people like supply-chain experts and logistics engineers; folks who know where to put and how to design warehouses, and how to buy and move around huge volumes of goods. Some of those cities are more logistics hubs than tech hubs.

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