Opinion: What Amazon may be seeking for HQ2


From Amazon’s HQ2 request for proposals:

Site/Building – As described herein, finding suitable buildings/sites is of paramount importance. Amazon HQ2 is a transformational Project, and we must ensure we have the best real estate options available whether this be a redevelopment opportunity, a partnership with the state, province, local government, or new buildings. All options are under consideration.

Capital and Operating Costs – A stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure will be high-priority considerations for the Project. Incentives offered by the state/province and local communities to offset initial capital outlay and ongoing operational costs will be significant factors in the decision-making process.

Labor Force – The Project includes significant employment requirements at the threshold compensation levels described herein and with corresponding educational attainment of the available workforce. The Project must be sufficiently close to a significant population center, such that it can fill the 50,000 estimated jobs that will be required over multiple years. A highly educated labor pool is critical and a strong university system is required.

Logistics – Personnel travel and logistics needs, both from population centers to the Project site, as well as between company facilities, are critically important. As such, travel time to a major highway corridor and arterial roadway capacity potential are key factors. The highway corridors must provide direct access to significant population centers with eligible employment pools. Travel time to an international airport with daily direct flights to Seattle, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. is also an important consideration.

Cultural Community Fit – The Project requires a compatible cultural and community environment for its long-term success. This includes the presence and support of a diverse population, excellent institutions of higher education, local government structure and elected officials eager and willing to work with the company, among other attributes. A stable and consistent business climate is important to Amazon. Please demonstrate characteristics of this in your response. We encourage testimonials from other large companies.

Community/Quality of Life – The Project requires a significant number of employees. We want to invest in a community where our employees will enjoy living, recreational opportunities, educational opportunities, and an overall high quality of life. Tell us what is unique about your community.

From a Seattle Times Sept. 2017 column:

In an age dominated by vulture capitalists and financial engineering, [Amazon founder] Jeff Bezos is the great business genius of the new century. The real deal. So although this promises to be the economic-development catch of the decade — $5 billion and 50,000 well-paid jobs somewhere — don’t expect him to follow conventional corporate location wisdom. With due respect to Apple’s onetime advertising motto, Bezos really does think different.

Where? If Bezos stays to form, he wants a city, not only because of his commitment to sustainability but also to attract top talent. A suburban area with good transit might also make the cut. I suspect traditional incentives will play less of a role. The company will certainly take them and play localities off against each other. But talent, education (especially with a strong research university), a cool vibe, good air-travel connections and transit will be the big factors for the finalists. This is not going to be like the 20th-century moves from downtowns to far-flung, car-dependent office “parks.”



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