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Author Topic: Amazon HQ2  (Read 22000 times)

jakeroot

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Sprawling campuses are sooooo 20th century.

I wouldn’t say that’s an absolute rule. Apple just opened this building—a mere four stories and sprawling over 175 acres—this year.

I mean "sprawling" like the HP buildings that this new Apple campus replaces. Dozens of 2-4 storey buildings spread out over a couple hundred acres. Amazon has several buildings in downtown Seattle, but three of them are skyscrapers.
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kalvado

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Sprawling campuses are sooooo 20th century.

I wouldn’t say that’s an absolute rule. Apple just opened this building—a mere four stories and sprawling over 175 acres—this year.

I mean "sprawling" like the HP buildings that this new Apple campus replaces. Dozens of 2-4 storey buildings spread out over a couple hundred acres. Amazon has several buildings in downtown Seattle, but three of them are skyscrapers.
It is really hard to have everything in a single building when facility is expected to grow.
To put things in perspective, Empire State Building has about 2.2 million sq feet; so Amazon wants 1/3 of ESB for phase 1,  eventually growing to 3.5 ESB.
The best thing they can do, IMHO, is plan for intracampus connections from the start. But that requires either cheap suburban land, or having big gaps in city center for years and decades.
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SectorZ

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How about Lowell, MA? It is about 25 miles from the center of Boston (I assume "30" meant "approximately 30", not "30 or less"), an urban area (more than just a suburb of Boston), and the hub of a bus system and terminus of a Boston commuter rail line. A state university there probably also helps. Time to Logan Airport is a bit high; if low airport time is more important than not being too close to the city center, Burlington, MA (with I-95/MA 128) works. If there isn't space in Lowell, an adjacent town could work.

Mayor Marty Walsh has been pushing hard as soon as it was reported to get it in Boston, but he has yet to realize there is no space at all for it there. Lowell would be interesting, but I think room there is even non-existent for the space they need. I see it going in the southeast part of the country.
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Bruce

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The New York Times went through some of the requirements and determined that Portland, Boston, Washington DC, and Denver are the best candidates, with Denver winning out.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/09/upshot/where-should-amazon-new-headquarters-be.html

I do disagree with their quip about Portland. Having the second headquarters close by is something tech companies like (Intel built their Oregon campus on the assumption it was only a 90-minute flight from the Silicon Valley, or so the legend goes). Portland to Seattle is a future HSR corridor (if we ever find the funding and political will), so that makes for several inter-office transportation options.

jakeroot

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^^
Glad to see my "DC" prediction wasn't considered crazy. The only thing I don't understand is why DC was eliminated based on land costs. Amazon has shitloads of money. Buying land for a headquarters is not going to be an issue. The only real issue with DC is height restrictions, hence my previous suggestion of locating the headquarters in one of the many nearby densely-populated urban centers, where taller buildings are acceptable (and necessary IMO).
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jwolfer

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I could see Southeastern US. Perhaps Jacksonville or Orlando.. Both have growing tech sectors..

Orlando seems to have a better game and more well known. Orlando is more " diverse" ( large Hispanic and African American communities)and has become a gay mecca of sorts.
Jax may be too conservative for Amazon having HQ. Also lack of transit and limited connections out of airport.

 However Amazon is in the process of building 2 gigantic fulfillment centers in Jacksonville, but that is blue collar jobs. And they may want to be the start of something. There is quite a lot of vacant land in Jacksonville's urban core

It will probably come down to what city/state whores themselves out the most


LGMS428
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 12:10:00 AM by jwolfer »
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sparker

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My prediction is that they'll pick Philadelphia. There are flights from SeaTac to PHL, and building an HQ there would give them a presence on the East Coast. The SEPTA Regional Rail provides the mass transit needed, and there's still a bit of space along roads like the Blue Route, although it's mostly residential area.

I haven't been to Philadelphia that often, so I might be wrong.
The Philly news stations have mentioned that Philly officials (the mayor along with the head of the Chamber of Commerce) are indeed trying to entice Amazon with incentives to set up shop there.

If Philadelphia is indeed being considered as a destination within Amazon management circles, then I'll be willing to bet that Wilmington, DE (or the outskirts of such) is also under consideration if for nothing else than the favorable DE laws regarding corporations.  As that's a relatively compact region, any area north of the C-D canal might be fair game (Glasgow, Bear, or the like).   
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LM117

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It will probably come down to what city/state whores themselves out the most

Bingo.
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kkt

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Great, now cities across the country will be falling over each other to give Amazon the biggest handout.  The race to the bottom begins!
Yep.  It's a brilliant move on Amazon's part to get the best-for-them development deal they can.

Wouldn't call it a brilliant move. More like the obvious move.
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triplemultiplex

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Great, now cities across the country will be falling over each other to give Amazon the biggest handout.  The race to the bottom begins!
Yep.  It's a brilliant move on Amazon's part to get the best-for-them development deal they can.
At the expense of taxpayers.
This is how companies get out of paying their fair share in society.  They get gullible politicians to help them externalize their costs in the form of tax subsidies, low wages and lax environmental oversight so they can shift the burden onto the suckers.  Everyone's like, "Yay, jobs!" but doesn't consider how much it's actually costing them.
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jeffandnicole

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Camden, NJ is also considering wooing Amazon.

I believe they're going with the tagline "We'll plow this entire fucking city into the river and start over if you choose us".  :-D

http://www.phillyvoice.com/camden-plans-make-play-new-amazon-headquarters/

There are a few plusses:  For a city of 77,000, it has subway access (PATCO), a light rail line (NJ Transit), ferry access from Philly, highway access (I-676) and a non-highway that functions as a limited access route and is actually wider than I-676 for much of its distance (US 30).

The big minus: It's Camden.  A lot would need to be knocked down to create the campus setting or towers needed for their buildout.  Amazon could definitely change Camden if they chose the city in many positive ways (I highly doubt they will choose Camden though).

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JJBers

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States that were red in the 2016 presidential election:

Arizona: Will be swing in 2020 and blue in 2024.
Texas: Will be swing in 2024 and blue in 2028.

In your dreams. They said that in 2016, and they still voted red.
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Road Hog

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One big strike against DFW is housing. With Toyota and others relocating to there, they're building new subdivisions everywhere on the north side of the Metroplex and it's still not enough. Property values and rent are sky high and often housing can't be found at any price. It's eventually going to be a drag on further growth.
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jakeroot

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One big strike against DFW is housing. With Toyota and others relocating to there, they're building new subdivisions everywhere on the north side of the Metroplex and it's still not enough. Property values and rent are sky high and often housing can't be found at any price. It's eventually going to be a drag on further growth.

Couldn't be any worse than Amazon's current home base in Seattle. They can't build homes/condos/apartments fast enough to keep up with demand, so you see a lot of inflated home prices (although that's kind of how real estate works, so I'm not complaining).

I suspect that if DFW were to be more closely be considered, Amazon would prefer to see more urban housing, rather than suburban. Much of Amazon's workforce is young/unmarried, condo/apartment-types. Homes in the suburbs are not something they want.
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vdeane

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Before you laugh at the mere suggestion of Rochester NY as a potential location:
-We have land. Lots of it and they can pick between Kodak park, downtown, or a more suburban area.
-Land is cheap here. A lot cheaper than any other potential candidate city.
-Location. No other city east of the Mississippi has ease of access to both the east coast and Ontario's golden horseshoe like we do. It sounds funny, but we're surprisingly central to the eastern half of the continent.
-Climate. Bezos doesn't want a warm, humid climate.
-Schumer favors Rochester over both Brooklyn and Buffalo
-Our infrastructure (with the exception of mass transit) can handle it. We don't even know what traffic is.
-Adding a direct flight to Seattle is a non-issue
-We have a good economy. We replaced 60,000 Kodak jobs without missing a beat. Enough said.
-Finally, there's a pretty big local push. People here (both politicians and the community at large) don't  want to miss this opportunity.
-Bonus: we meet all the criteria quoted in the OP :cool:
The transit is probably a dealbreaker for Amazon.  In addition to cheaply building their campus, they want to live the urbanist dream.
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kalvado

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The transit is probably a dealbreaker for Amazon.  In addition to cheaply building their campus, they want to live the urbanist dream.
Well, then there are 37 cities with light rail in north America (of those, 4 in Canada, 2 in Mexico, 31 US) and some more with heavy rail - which may or may not fit Amazon definition of commute..
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Scott5114

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At least around the people I work with (tech industry), there's this strong feeling that it's Raleigh's to lose.  I'm not as confident but the Triangle a growing area with a lot to offer, and politicians here would be willing to throw tax incentives at their feet.

Of course, there's always the possibility that the NC legislature pulls some sort of boneheaded stunt like the one that caused them to lose out on the NCAA tournament, caused several tech firms to cancel expansion plans in NC, etc. Though that bill was repealed, it still might be a strike against NC because Amazon may be worried that they could try something similar in the future. Amazon isn't the sort of company that would tolerate such an environment for its employees.

Granted, they would run into the same problem in a lot of other states, especially Texas.
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hm insulators

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Probably the biggest weakness for Phoenix is mass transit.  Much of where mass transit is more heavily concentrated in the Phoenix area are in central/south Phoenix, Tempe, and western Mesa.

Tucson was so desperate to woo Amazon that they shipped to the company headquarters a live saguaro cactus as a gift. Not a metal sculpture of a saguaro, a real live saguaro dug out of the ground and shipped to Seattle. (Like Seattle's cold, rainy climate is perfect for desert plants like the saguaro cactus! :banghead: :pan:) Amazon headquarters decided they didn't want the gift and I think the poor plant ended up back in Tucson and was replanted somewhere.
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kkt

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Maybe they could grow the saguaro cactus indoors in their lobby?
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hm insulators

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Maybe they could grow the saguaro cactus indoors in their lobby?

It was a rather large specimen; they can grow to forty or fifty feet tall.
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At what age do you tell a highway that it's been adopted?

jakeroot

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Maybe they could grow the saguaro cactus indoors in their lobby?

It was a rather large specimen; they can grow to forty or fifty feet tall.

Part of Amazon's new Seattle HQ includes a few very large spherical buildings that remind me a lot of greenhouses. I don't see why they couldn't have put them in there. Local news suggests that the spheres will hold exotic plants...

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PHLBOS

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In addition to cheaply building their campus, they want to live the urbanist dream.
When the story of Amazon looking for a 2nd city first broke out; one news station did a quick synopsis of how its presence changed Seattle over the past decade.  Two things stood out (to me anyway): 1.  Increased/inflated real estate prices (already discussed here) & 2.  Increased traffic/congestion along the region's highways.

So while Amazon may envision their employees working & residing in the same city (thereby utilizing the more available/frequent mass transit options); their effect (at least based on that news report) has actually created the opposite... more people living further away (due to high/exorbitant real estate costs/rents in or close to the city) and driving to/from their either place of work or transit 'spoke' station (if the transit's schedule is compatible w/their work hours).
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SectorZ

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http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_31322437/billerica-prime-spot-amazon-is-right-here?source=top_stories_bar

Not that this will happen, but if it does, I can piss away ever using Exit 37 on 495 to get to and from home. It also appears Billerica doesn't realize a significant chunk of this would be in Tewksbury and Lowell, and even the property is only accessible from Tewksbury.
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jakeroot

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In addition to cheaply building their campus, they want to live the urbanist dream.
When the story of Amazon looking for a 2nd city first broke out; one news station did a quick synopsis of how its presence changed Seattle over the past decade.  Two things stood out (to me anyway): 1.  Increased/inflated real estate prices (already discussed here) & 2.  Increased traffic/congestion along the region's highways.

Traffic congestion in Seattle has gotten steadily worse due to the lack of available space to improve or widen existing highways. The population of the Seattle Metro continues to grow, no thanks to Amazon, but there's no way you could single-handedly blame Amazon for all of our real-estate and congestion woes. Right off the top of my head, Weyerhaeuser recently moved its headquarters from Federal Way (south of Seattle by about 30 minutes) right into Pioneer Square (downtown Seattle). That's several thousand people that now commute into the city that previously did not. This is in addition to the dozens (hundreds?) of other large businesses operating in the city. Surely they are just as much to blame.
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briantroutman

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^ Even if only a minority of Amazon employees actually do utilize subways or commuter trains for their daily commutes, it’s not as if these assets can be easily replaced.

Sure, some companies do run employee busses as a form of private transit, but to the pool of talent that expects to live a car-free life, a job offer from Amazon in a car-dependent city might make another employer more attractive.

Most of my clients are tech companies in the Bay Area, and I’ve seen a little of that industry from the inside. There’s such competition for high-end talent that a great deal of effort goes into attracting the top tier of the best and brightest candidates—not only escalating salaries and benefits, but companies in many cases opening offices in urban locations for young professionals who want to live a city-bound, transit-oriented lifestyle.

That’s why I have doubts that any smaller dark horse candidate cities really have a chance. No matter how much money could be saved on land and building costs, the fear would be that they would lose far more by failing to attract the most talented candidates—that top few percent who will come up with the billion-dollar ideas.
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