Author Topic: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America  (Read 2627 times)

Ders

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Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« on: September 08, 2017, 09:14:44 AM »
Amazon has just announced that they will be taking proposals for the building of HQ2 which would be equal to the one in Seattle. In the RFP their main criteria are:

 Metropolitan areas with more than one million people
 A stable and business-friendly environment
 Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
 Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options

From what I read some of the predictions are: Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, Charlotte, Columbus, and many more are wanting to make their bid for the new HQ, but it basically boils down to: Texas, the Midwest, or the East coast. Also their major consideration is how much corporate welfare (tax breaks etc.) will the state/city offer creating a bidding war. Being from Indianapolis I think we have a good not great chance to catch their attention. We already four of their packaging facilities, plenty of room, and a pipeline of talent from local universities. Salesforce has taken over the former Chase Tower and Infosys just finished a deal to bring a center here. Every Midwest city,, besides Chicago, is trying to become the next tech center and this could change the face of whichever city they choose. What does your city have to offer? If not which city do you think will win the bid?

Indianapolis
Pros:
  • Low cost of living
  • Friendly business environment
  • Pipeline of talent
Cons:
  • Mass transit
  • Image/Amentities
  • Airport? (Wins awards, but not sure if it is big enough)

If I put money on it I would bet on Charlotte.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 09:16:51 AM by Ders »

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 10:24:09 AM »
1. Atlanta
2. Toronto
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles

Louisville

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 10:52:24 AM »
Louisville.

Pro:
Amazon already has a distribution center here.
UPS main air hub is here. And they've pretty much been given a tax free ride.
Kentucky has a laissez faire capitalist governer in the atrocious Matt Bevin.
A number of Fortune 500 companies have there I/S here, so there's plenty to poach from.
Local and nearby universities have strong I/S and business programs.
Near the US population center of mass.
LCOL
A food and drink culture I'd put up against NYC, Chicago, or LA (if intagibles like this count).
Democrat Mayor is pushing growth, tech, diversity, urbanism, pretty much all of the hipster buzzwords.
Cons:
Shit public trans and bike infrastructure (but hippy mayor is working on it).
The general worldwide view of Kentucky as a fuck-yer-sister hellhole.




Noodle

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2017, 02:44:37 PM »
I think Dallas might be a strong contender. Before the hurricane I would also have put Houston on the list, and it's still possible that they might look here as a) they get a little extra boost out of "helping rebuild" and b) Houston came off very well in the national news in terms of diversity, friendliness, etc. in a way that balanced out some of the bad press Texas often gets on the coasts. But on the other hand...catastrophic flooding, multiple times, and no indication yet as to long-term planning for water management although I think it will come.

A lot of people elsewhere online have suggested Austin because of its tech- and culture-friendliness combined with Texas' business-friendly laws, but Austin already has terrible traffic and housing problems, and Amazon has been heavily criticized for its contributions to similar problems in Seattle. So I think they are likely to go somewhere with more growth potential. (Dallas also has traffic and housing issues, of course, but anywhere they might go into other than rural North Dakota will, and nothing like Seattle/San Francisco.)

bacchi

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 02:58:20 PM »
Dallas doesn't have the same vibe as "Seattle" though. Dallas is a big city, and lots of it are cool, but it's more..."sophisticated" than 25 year IT workers at Amazon want to be.

Louisville is a good contender. It's underrated as far as amenities go.

Detroit has great real estate value and it has the airport but "high crime" isn't an amenity.

Austin has too much traffic and is no longer LCOL.

Charlotte is also a good contender. Good tech pipeline, airport is pretty good, and it doesn't get wiped out too often by hurricanes (we'll see what happens this weekend).

Fireball

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 05:07:14 PM »
I think Nashville, Charlotte or Louisville are all a good fit, but it will ultimately come down to how much each state will offer. A big part of me would love to see them go to Detroit.

Engineer93

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 05:36:08 PM »
Raleigh.  Do some research on the area and you will see why.

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 05:38:22 PM »
Amazon is going to demand tax concessions.  I can't see Houston granting them.
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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 06:12:21 PM »
Not Atlanta if they learned their lesson in 99/00.

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Noodle

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2017, 09:52:51 PM »
I bet Minneapolis-St. Paul could be a contender. Big airport and big city amenities, and politics/culture on the liberal end, at least in the cities. I think Detroit is seen as too dangerous, Salt Lake would be perceived as too Mormon, Denver may be getting too expensive in terms of the housing market... I bet some of the midwestern cities like Cincinnati and Cleveland would love to have it, but they may be too red-state to attract the staff Amazon is looking for. In terms of Texas, I wonder if they would consider San Antonio--no hurricanes, a somewhat cool reputation, and better off than Austin in terms of the COL issue. I don't know where they could go on the east coast...I thought about Pittsburgh or maybe even Philly (to be in the NYC corridor) but the Pennsylvania government is insanely difficult to deal with and taxes are pretty high.

It will be interesting to see whether the conveniences and amenities of a really big city are weighed more heavily than the lower costs of going into a city on the smaller end of the parameters they are looking at.

golden1

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2017, 05:47:58 AM »
I know Boston is pitching for it too. We have a harbor, airport, public transportation, a huge pool of tech workers, and a revitalized inner city.  They have space to build at the seaport.  However, we also have nasty winters and super expensive COL, so unless the package they offer is hyper competitive, I am not sure we would really be in the running.

JetBlast

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2017, 09:29:41 AM »
Pretty much every city anywhere close to 1,000,000 people will be putting together a bid. I know they have said they are looking for lower cost of living and lower traffic, but it's hard to see how a smaller city will have the workforce and housing inventory to cope with a quick influx of a few thousand workers making on average $100,000+ and a steady growth from there. Would there even be enough construction workers to keep up with the growth in a smaller city?

That's the biggest knock in my mind against cities like Louisville, Grand Rapids, Albuquerque, and others that have publicly said they will prepare a proposal for Amazon.

maizeman

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2017, 09:51:26 AM »
@JetBlast, construction workers are mobile and many will go where the work is, so I think that's not a particularly large concern. The biggest limitations of how fast one could expand the housing stock are generally the time and expense of zoning approval process (varies drastically between cities/states) and the availability of land. It's a lot easier for a city like Oklahoma City to add new units than one hemmed in by mountains (Salt Lake City) or water (NYC, SFO, etc).

I don't know of any actual studies of this issue, so I'm going to use an anecdote and some back of the envelope math. One of my previous hometowns is currently experiencing a bit of a strained housing market because a local startup hit the big time. The city is ~50,000 and people started to talk about the startup causing problems once the startup's local workforce crossed ~1,000. Assuming a consistent scaling factor applies, that means city of a million people can probably absorb up to abut 20,000 new highly paid employees before the effects on their housing market become noticeable to existing residents.

Edit: Oh, how did I miss that they were talking about bringing in up to 50,000 new jobs? That cuts the list of cities large enough to manage the influx without distruption from 55 to 21. Let's throw out places in CA or the Boston/NYC/DC megacity as likely too expensive, and Miami and Houston as unlikely to have enough undamaged housing stock, and Seattle for obvious reasons and we're down to 11 options:

  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Philly
  • Atlanta
  • Phoenix
  • Detroit
  • Twin Cities
  • Tampa
  • Denver
  • St. Louis
  • Baltimore

Based on that list I'd put my money on Atlanta or the Twin Cities, with Denver in third place based on how hard I've heard it is to buy a house there in recent years.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2017, 10:04:24 AM by maizeman »
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MayDay

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2017, 07:37:21 PM »
Well I'm in the twin cities and just bought a house so I'm hoping for some appreciation!

Seriously though, I think the interest of employees in living in the city needs to be up there above best tax breaks. And obviously I love MSP. 

St. Louis, Tampa, and Detroit, I just can't see. The hip young people who work in Detroit live in Ann arbor. We looked pretty seriously at jobs in Detroit (had an "in" at a company) and decided we couldn't stomach a 45 minute drive from AA, the only option in our minds for decent schools and walkable/bikable.
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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2017, 08:37:07 PM »
Raleigh.  Do some research on the area and you will see why.

+1

I was just about to say the same when I saw your comment. I wouldn't be surprised if the Research Triangle is on their radar.
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okits

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2017, 11:53:56 PM »
1. Atlanta
2. Toronto
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles

One benefit of choosing a Canadian city is that the employees will have government-funded healthcare (employer provides benefits for dental, prescriptions, other supplemental services).  This could be a major savings to the company, given the expected size of the workforce.

Kris

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2017, 09:27:50 AM »
Well I'm in the twin cities and just bought a house so I'm hoping for some appreciation!

Seriously though, I think the interest of employees in living in the city needs to be up there above best tax breaks. And obviously I love MSP. 

St. Louis, Tampa, and Detroit, I just can't see. The hip young people who work in Detroit live in Ann arbor. We looked pretty seriously at jobs in Detroit (had an "in" at a company) and decided we couldn't stomach a 45 minute drive from AA, the only option in our minds for decent schools and walkable/bikable.

Agreed. And cost of living and housing prices are very good compared to many other attractive places.

Also, there's the old Ford Plant on Ford Parkway in St. Paul. That property would be PERFECT for them.
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bacchi

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2017, 12:55:53 PM »
One benefit of choosing a Canadian city is that the employees will have government-funded healthcare (employer provides benefits for dental, prescriptions, other supplemental services).  This could be a major savings to the company, given the expected size of the workforce.

Any American workers working in Toronto would need work visas, which would mean a lot of immigration lawyers on staff. And probably pay adjustments, given that taxes are higher and Americans would eventually be moving back to the US.

It would definitely be a slap-in-the-face to our anti-healthcare Congress but I'm not sure Bezos cares about doing that. Would Toronto give millions in tax breaks?

MayDay

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2017, 07:13:39 PM »
I was thinking about this some more.

What is the typical highly sought after Amazon employee?

Is it a young hipster computer programmer who wants to live someplace cool? Or someone with kids who cares about schools? I am asking honestly, I don't know.

I just don't see loads of young hipsters wanting to move to the southern cities with shitty state governments who try to pass bathroom bills.
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maizeman

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2017, 07:26:58 PM »
I don't know about amazon specifically, but generally in tech, younger unmarried folks without kids are perceived as more likely to put in the 10-14 hour days while at the same time not having the expensive salary expectations of older workers. In other words ageism is rampant in the industry.

I just don't see loads of young hipsters wanting to move to the southern cities with shitty state governments who try to pass bathroom bills.

Which specific cities were you thinking about? Atlanta and the Research Triangle region in NC both seem to do a good job of attracting and keeping young talented liberal folks despite conservative state governments. OTOH I have colleagues at a research institute in Huntsville, AL and recruiting is a painful painful process for them.
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ElleFiji

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2017, 07:53:02 PM »
1. Atlanta
2. Toronto
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles

One benefit of choosing a Canadian city is that the employees will have government-funded healthcare (employer provides benefits for dental, prescriptions, other supplemental services).  This could be a major savings to the company, given the expected size of the workforce.
I know Toronto is bidding for it, but if they go Canadian, Waterloo wouldn't surprise me.

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2017, 08:12:45 PM »
Pretty much every city anywhere close to 1,000,000 people will be putting together a bid. I know they have said they are looking for lower cost of living and lower traffic, but it's hard to see how a smaller city will have the workforce and housing inventory to cope with a quick influx of a few thousand workers making on average $100,000+ and a steady growth from there. Would there even be enough construction workers to keep up with the growth in a smaller city?

That's the biggest knock in my mind against cities like Louisville, Grand Rapids, Albuquerque, and others that have publicly said they will prepare a proposal for Amazon.

Grand Rapids has the construction workers. They are all working on the Switch buildings right now;)

It would be great if they did pick GR, but I think they will probably go with a larger population. The tax rates are really low for businesses, and Michigan and Grand Rapids would for sure give them some major tax incentives on top of those, like they did to land Switch. I just don't know if there's enough tech people here, although my DH would be the first to apply if they did, though!

okits

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2017, 08:40:09 PM »
1. Atlanta
2. Toronto
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles

One benefit of choosing a Canadian city is that the employees will have government-funded healthcare (employer provides benefits for dental, prescriptions, other supplemental services).  This could be a major savings to the company, given the expected size of the workforce.
I know Toronto is bidding for it, but if they go Canadian, Waterloo wouldn't surprise me.

Agreed, though it's a shit commute from Toronto at rush hour.  I wonder if they could build the office near the airport and unofficially commandeer the Union-Pearson Express line as a shuttle service for its employees living downtown/east?

One benefit of choosing a Canadian city is that the employees will have government-funded healthcare (employer provides benefits for dental, prescriptions, other supplemental services).  This could be a major savings to the company, given the expected size of the workforce.

Any American workers working in Toronto would need work visas, which would mean a lot of immigration lawyers on staff. And probably pay adjustments, given that taxes are higher and Americans would eventually be moving back to the US.

It would definitely be a slap-in-the-face to our anti-healthcare Congress but I'm not sure Bezos cares about doing that. Would Toronto give millions in tax breaks?

Our province has hired a former bank CEO to head up the application process to get the HQ2 located somewhere in the province.  The provincial government will likely offer tax breaks and incentives.  Whether the total amount offered is enough to attract the office remains to be seen.

TBH, I'm not unequivocally elated at the prospect of Amazon being a huge area employer, after the (NYT?) exposť last year about their toxic office culture and harsh treatment of staff*.  Though the spin off jobs could be better-quality ones.

* It's not healthy to have seen every person in your department cry at his/her desk.  But maybe I'm out of touch and it's becoming more normal (though that doesn't mean it's a good thing).

ElleFiji

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2017, 09:44:44 PM »
Right? I think the culture will discourage worker interest.

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SoundFuture

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2017, 09:44:33 AM »
Amazon is going to demand tax concessions.  I can't see Houston granting them.

Houston does tax deals, though more importantly an HQ as large as their existing one will likely be outside of the City of Houston and still be within what most people refer to as "Houston" (like ExxonMobil's Houston Campus).  Houston has the talent, the demeanor, and the amenities for a major HQ, but I think it will be quite easily outdone by other applicants.

If Amazon came to Texas, I would expect them to go to San Antonio. The vibe in San Antonio is excellent, it draws workers easily, it is relatively LCOL, wages are also lower, it's less prone to any sort of natural disaster, has a great green/environmental scene, and it's well situated within the Texas Triangle with easy access to Austin for their nightlife and the outdoor offerings of the Texas Hill Country.

If they're supposed to be twin HQs one in the same time zone is preferable (so CA would be a big likelihood).  However if the point is to make certain operations easier on top of expanding, I would expect them to move to the eastern time zone so they can have better coordination with Europe.

8AM in Seattle is 5PM in Berlin (4PM in London), and 5PM in Seattle is 1AM in Berlin (midnight in London). 8AM in the Eastern Time zone is 2PM in Berlin (1PM in London), so you have three or four hours of solid overlap. If you've ever worked with major European companies you know you're SOL if you need them at 5:03PM, it's just a cultural thing you have to deal with.

Amazon has invested heavily in their European operation, so I wouldn't be surprised if that is driving part of the 2HQ idea.

justajane

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2017, 09:55:01 AM »
Yeah, every city that can will produce a bid for this but there are likely very few actual contenders. I could definitely see Chicago, Boston, or Atlanta. Pittsburgh, perhaps? I saw several lists that suggested Pittsburgh. Not sure why.

I don't imagine Louisville is big enough. The city needs a decent infrastructure and likely several universities from which to draw tech graduates. That's why places like Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, and even Raleigh/Durham have an edge.

I live in St. Louis, and while the county executor is creating a task force to bid, we stand no chance. But it's just pro forma for politicians to bid so that they can say that they bid.

And yes, I see the point about a conservative state like Missouri not really being a draw. Wouldn't North Carolina also suffer from this problem as well? Atlanta is its own world. I don't see it affecting their chances in the same way.

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2017, 10:05:44 AM »
My assumption would be the west coast would be excluded as they already have an HQ there and the northeast (including DC), would be excluded due to the HCOL.  Austin, Atlanta and Raleigh Durham would be top contenders.

MayDay

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2017, 08:21:33 PM »
Yeah, every city that can will produce a bid for this but there are likely very few actual contenders. I could definitely see Chicago, Boston, or Atlanta. Pittsburgh, perhaps? I saw several lists that suggested Pittsburgh. Not sure why.

I don't imagine Louisville is big enough. The city needs a decent infrastructure and likely several universities from which to draw tech graduates. That's why places like Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, and even Raleigh/Durham have an edge.

I live in St. Louis, and while the county executor is creating a task force to bid, we stand no chance. But it's just pro forma for politicians to bid so that they can say that they bid.

And yes, I see the point about a conservative state like Missouri not really being a draw. Wouldn't North Carolina also suffer from this problem as well? Atlanta is its own world. I don't see it affecting their chances in the same way.

I think a hip liberal city in a conservative state appeals to plenty of 20-something no-kids new grads.  Then they get settled and stay.  Whereas perhaps older people are less likely to move to a conservative state because they view it a bit differently.  Like at 22 I would have moved just about anywhere "cool", but now, nope, no moving to states with shitty abortion laws or terrible public education or general asshattery. 

The research triangle definitely is the least shitty part of NC, and Atlanta I assume is similar.  I don't know how much the perceived sprawl of Atlanta, Houston, and others would effect things- if they are trying for something that replicates Seattle, people won't love driving on the freeway for 2 hours in Atlanta. 
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MayDay

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2017, 08:21:55 PM »
I find this thing so fascinating on many different levels.
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MayDay

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2017, 08:25:28 PM »
I don't know about amazon specifically, but generally in tech, younger unmarried folks without kids are perceived as more likely to put in the 10-14 hour days while at the same time not having the expensive salary expectations of older workers. In other words ageism is rampant in the industry.

I just don't see loads of young hipsters wanting to move to the southern cities with shitty state governments who try to pass bathroom bills.

Which specific cities were you thinking about? Atlanta and the Research Triangle region in NC both seem to do a good job of attracting and keeping young talented liberal folks despite conservative state governments. OTOH I have colleagues at a research institute in Huntsville, AL and recruiting is a painful painful process for them.

I was thinking more of Huntsville, AL type places.  Amazon pays a ton, which I am sure makes people overcome their unwillingness to move.  I think they'll have trouble getting experienced people to move to some of these places.  But maybe they only need a few experienced people, and then they bring in a ton of new grads that want the work for a big name, and then they stay.

Does anyone know how much job hopping there is in tech?  I feel like there is a lot in Silicone Valley, but is that true in Seattle, too?  Is Amazon going to get new grads to move to Random Southern City, and then they bail after 2 years?

What are the demographics of new Comp Sci type grads?  Maybe there is a big enough pool in the south that they don't need to pull from other places. 
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nowseehere

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2017, 05:46:28 AM »
Well, I'm biased as I live here, but if Amazon needs to set up shop in a port city, they can certainly use the resources here in Baltimore!

asiljoy

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2017, 06:33:52 AM »
Well I'm in the twin cities and just bought a house so I'm hoping for some appreciation!

Seriously though, I think the interest of employees in living in the city needs to be up there above best tax breaks. And obviously I love MSP. 

St. Louis, Tampa, and Detroit, I just can't see. The hip young people who work in Detroit live in Ann arbor. We looked pretty seriously at jobs in Detroit (had an "in" at a company) and decided we couldn't stomach a 45 minute drive from AA, the only option in our minds for decent schools and walkable/bikable.

Agreed. And cost of living and housing prices are very good compared to many other attractive places.

Also, there's the old Ford Plant on Ford Parkway in St. Paul. That property would be PERFECT for them.

I was thinking the same thing.

Milizard

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2017, 08:27:58 AM »
Pretty much every city anywhere close to 1,000,000 people will be putting together a bid. I know they have said they are looking for lower cost of living and lower traffic, but it's hard to see how a smaller city will have the workforce and housing inventory to cope with a quick influx of a few thousand workers making on average $100,000+ and a steady growth from there. Would there even be enough construction workers to keep up with the growth in a smaller city?

That's the biggest knock in my mind against cities like Louisville, Grand Rapids, Albuquerque, and others that have publicly said they will prepare a proposal for Amazon.

Grand Rapids has the construction workers. They are all working on the Switch buildings right now;)

It would be great if they did pick GR, but I think they will probably go with a larger population. The tax rates are really low for businesses, and Michigan and Grand Rapids would for sure give them some major tax incentives on top of those, like they did to land Switch. I just don't know if there's enough tech people here, although my DH would be the first to apply if they did, though!

I would love to see them come to GR too, but Detroit makes more sense.  The capacity/infrastructure is already there, and it's cheap.  It used to be a cool city.  It could be again with a new influx of well-paid workers.  Amazon would have the power to remake the city in its image.  There are a number of nicer suburbs, still, with some of the best schools in the state.  I think either city could draw workers from all of the state universities, including U of M, MSU and Michigan Tech.  I think Google has a campus in Ann Arbor. The state legislature is likely to bow down to whatever requests they get from business.

That said, they'll probably want to go further south, for the warmer climate, but maybe still in the Eastern time zone.  What someone else mentioned about Europe upthread made a lot of sense.

justajane

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2017, 09:18:46 AM »
I think it would be awesome if they would move to a Rust Belt city and revitalize it. That would be a great thing.

It was a big deal a few years ago in St. Louis when IKEA decided to build in the city rather than far out in the cornfields. Just that one store jump started the revitalization of a whole urban neighborhood. Imagine what an Amazon HQ could do, though I wouldn't be down with it if they torn down a large swathe of early 20th century buildings to do it.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2017, 09:41:34 AM »
The research triangle definitely is the least shitty part of NC, and Atlanta I assume is similar.  I don't know how much the perceived sprawl of Atlanta, Houston, and others would effect things- if they are trying for something that replicates Seattle, people won't love driving on the freeway for 2 hours in Atlanta.
With regard to Atlanta, I feel like people that would be wanting to work at Amazon aren't going to even consider the housing options that involve the long commutes there, so they won't have to deal with that you know? And if the salaries are high/outsized then they will be able to afford the intown options, even more reason to not live in the suburbs and have a long commute.
If you look very much in the city in Atlanta, there are a number of housing options that would make for bikeability to your work and grocery stores etc. I'm thinking mainly condos, or renting SFR with friends (very millenial thing to do right). It's pretty surprising actually. Condos aren't really 'the thing' there (haven't been for the last 50 years at least), which means low demand/low prices. I think that culturally, people in the south have been prone to wait it out for a SFR with a small yard wherever/whenever they can afford.

As for space for the building itself, they can just build "up", no?

There's also the decades long blighted area due west of Downtown atlanta that has all the makings of being a great neighborhood of the future that amazon could maybe impact and benefit from somehow (historic neighborhoods/old trees/sidewalks etc. with SFR homes insanely close to the big city), but to convince anyone to live there would require gentrification of massive proportions and the displacement of a lot of people (many of whom are drug dealers and criminals yes, but people nonetheless)


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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2017, 09:42:08 AM »

Our province has hired a former bank CEO to head up the application process to get the HQ2 located somewhere in the province.  The provincial government will likely offer tax breaks and incentives.  Whether the total amount offered is enough to attract the office remains to be seen.

TBH, I'm not unequivocally elated at the prospect of Amazon being a huge area employer, after the (NYT?) exposť last year about their toxic office culture and harsh treatment of staff*.  Though the spin off jobs could be better-quality ones.

* It's not healthy to have seen every person in your department cry at his/her desk.  But maybe I'm out of touch and it's becoming more normal (though that doesn't mean it's a good thing).

My wife has worked at Amazon for about four years now.   She loves it.  Describes it as her dream job. 

Noodle

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2017, 10:08:20 AM »
I think there are two aspects to the culture question--first, where will young, single, tech-friendly people want to live? Cities like Denver sort of sell themselves, but I think the combination of the prestige of working for Amazon, the opportunity to actually buy property (which is just about impossible in the Bay Area and getting tougher by the month in Seattle), and the fact that a lot of these places are pretty nice to live in when you actually get there--a friend went to a conference in Cincinnati and was shocked in a good way by how beautiful the city is, the cultural organizations, etc.-- could overcome initial prejudices. The bigger cultural fit issue is that Amazon's workforce is really diverse, and while a young person might be persuaded into trying an "uncool" city, people will not go (or take their families) to places where they think they won't feel safe or welcome. What people see in the media about the Midwest and South is not what they would necessarily experience, especially in urban areas, or that they would be guaranteed to be free of in more liberal cities, but I think people are thinking about those factors more than they did three or four years ago.

The NYTimes predicted Denver, which I think is a good guess. I continue to think the Twin Cities or San Antonio (which I see as the most viable Texas option) could be finalists too.

GuitarStv

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2017, 10:19:38 AM »
1. Atlanta
2. Toronto
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles

One benefit of choosing a Canadian city is that the employees will have government-funded healthcare (employer provides benefits for dental, prescriptions, other supplemental services).  This could be a major savings to the company, given the expected size of the workforce.
I know Toronto is bidding for it, but if they go Canadian, Waterloo wouldn't surprise me.

Agreed, though it's a shit commute from Toronto at rush hour.  I wonder if they could build the office near the airport and unofficially commandeer the Union-Pearson Express line as a shuttle service for its employees living downtown/east?


That's not how Amazon works (the long commute thing).  They pay to relocate employees and their families after hiring, and then require the employees to pay back all fees only if they leave within a certain period of time.  Helps with employee retention.

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2017, 10:52:42 AM »
That's not how Amazon works (the long commute thing).  They pay to relocate employees and their families after hiring, and then require the employees to pay back all fees only if they leave within a certain period of time.  Helps with employee retention.

Amazon's median employee tenure is just 1 year.(1)

Anecdotally, yes, relocated people hang on by their nails until they reach that payback deadline and then turn tail and run.


(1) http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2013/07/28/turnover_rates_by_company_how_amazon_google_and_others_stack_up.html

GuitarStv

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2017, 10:59:06 AM »
That's not how Amazon works (the long commute thing).  They pay to relocate employees and their families after hiring, and then require the employees to pay back all fees only if they leave within a certain period of time.  Helps with employee retention.

Amazon's median employee tenure is just 1 year.(1)

Anecdotally, yes, relocated people hang on by their nails until they reach that payback deadline and then turn tail and run.


(1) http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2013/07/28/turnover_rates_by_company_how_amazon_google_and_others_stack_up.html

Yep.  They've got some good tricks to force people to stay longer . . . when you are hired by Amazon you're given a large signing bonus.  If you don't stay more than a certain period of time you have to pay the bonus back.  No problem for a moustachian, but most folks would spend the bonus and then be trapped.  I didn't get a great vibe from them when I was going through the interview process.

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2017, 01:54:59 PM »
I think it would be awesome if they would move to a Rust Belt city and revitalize it. That would be a great thing.

It was a big deal a few years ago in St. Louis when IKEA decided to build in the city rather than far out in the cornfields. Just that one store jump started the revitalization of a whole urban neighborhood. Imagine what an Amazon HQ could do, though I wouldn't be down with it if they torn down a large swathe of early 20th century buildings to do it.

I agree with this. Any of the usual suspect tech cities are getting so overrun, overpriced and are suffering from too much of a good thing.
But somewhere like Detroit would be amazing for such an influx of new jobs. Think how it would revamp old neighborhoods and help rebuild, or in some cases, create new infrastructure. Tech workers priced out of so many other areas could be interested in a new frontier. It would be a huge PR win for Amazon, doing well by doing good and all that.

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2017, 06:32:04 PM »
I am very relieved to see that none of your lists includes Portland, OR.
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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2017, 07:50:55 PM »
That's not how Amazon works (the long commute thing).  They pay to relocate employees and their families after hiring, and then require the employees to pay back all fees only if they leave within a certain period of time.  Helps with employee retention.

Amazon's median employee tenure is just 1 year.(1)

Anecdotally, yes, relocated people hang on by their nails until they reach that payback deadline and then turn tail and run.


(1) http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2013/07/28/turnover_rates_by_company_how_amazon_google_and_others_stack_up.html

If the media tenure is only one year, wouldn't they need a location with a large, existing talent pool from which to continuously recruit?  It seems cost prohibitive to pay to have every new hire relocate.

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2017, 08:05:09 PM »
I believe one of their requirements was a location with several nearby universities they are could draw talent from.
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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #45 on: September 12, 2017, 10:58:39 PM »
I was thinking about this some more.

What is the typical highly sought after Amazon employee?

Is it a young hipster computer programmer who wants to live someplace cool? Or someone with kids who cares about schools? I am asking honestly, I don't know.

I just don't see loads of young hipsters wanting to move to the southern cities with shitty state governments who try to pass bathroom bills.

Amazon is pretty diverse since they hire so many people. Lots of young hipsters, lots of people with kids. Someone even created a "mustachians" internal email list the other day and something like 150 people subscribed to it within 24 hours.

justajane

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2017, 07:42:56 AM »
I think it would be awesome if they would move to a Rust Belt city and revitalize it. That would be a great thing.

It was a big deal a few years ago in St. Louis when IKEA decided to build in the city rather than far out in the cornfields. Just that one store jump started the revitalization of a whole urban neighborhood. Imagine what an Amazon HQ could do, though I wouldn't be down with it if they torn down a large swathe of early 20th century buildings to do it.

I agree with this. Any of the usual suspect tech cities are getting so overrun, overpriced and are suffering from too much of a good thing.
But somewhere like Detroit would be amazing for such an influx of new jobs. Think how it would revamp old neighborhoods and help rebuild, or in some cases, create new infrastructure. Tech workers priced out of so many other areas could be interested in a new frontier. It would be a huge PR win for Amazon, doing well by doing good and all that.

Absolutely. I said exactly that to my husband last night. And Amazon could use a PR win. But like I said above, if it means they raze a whole neighborhood in Detroit, then I'm out. Usually these cities have large enough swathes of vacant or already razed urban space to make it work, if they're willing to build up.

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #47 on: September 13, 2017, 08:44:33 AM »
Absolutely. I said exactly that to my husband last night. And Amazon could use a PR win. But like I said above, if it means they raze a whole neighborhood in Detroit, then I'm out. Usually these cities have large enough swathes of vacant or already razed urban space to make it work, if they're willing to build up.

I'm curious about this. Does amazon have a bad reputation in your social circle? Folks I know tend to really like them (as customers), although I agree they have a reputation has an unpleasant place to be employed.
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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #48 on: September 13, 2017, 09:19:35 AM »
I think it would be awesome if they would move to a Rust Belt city and revitalize it. That would be a great thing.

It was a big deal a few years ago in St. Louis when IKEA decided to build in the city rather than far out in the cornfields. Just that one store jump started the revitalization of a whole urban neighborhood. Imagine what an Amazon HQ could do, though I wouldn't be down with it if they torn down a large swathe of early 20th century buildings to do it.

I agree with this. Any of the usual suspect tech cities are getting so overrun, overpriced and are suffering from too much of a good thing.
But somewhere like Detroit would be amazing for such an influx of new jobs. Think how it would revamp old neighborhoods and help rebuild, or in some cases, create new infrastructure. Tech workers priced out of so many other areas could be interested in a new frontier. It would be a huge PR win for Amazon, doing well by doing good and all that.

Absolutely. I said exactly that to my husband last night. And Amazon could use a PR win. But like I said above, if it means they raze a whole neighborhood in Detroit, then I'm out. Usually these cities have large enough swathes of vacant or already razed urban space to make it work, if they're willing to build up.

I haven't been to Detroit in years, but from my recollection, there are large areas of commercial space that is vacant, and vacant office buildings.  And I love beautiful old buildings and houses, but they are falling apart as they've been abandoned for too long.  I'd rather sacrifice a few for the sake of saving the rest, at this point.  (Again, it's been years.  Things may have improved in Detroit since then.  I doubt it, though.)

justajane

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Re: Amazon to open 'HQ2' in North America
« Reply #49 on: September 13, 2017, 10:35:56 AM »
Absolutely. I said exactly that to my husband last night. And Amazon could use a PR win. But like I said above, if it means they raze a whole neighborhood in Detroit, then I'm out. Usually these cities have large enough swathes of vacant or already razed urban space to make it work, if they're willing to build up.

I'm curious about this. Does amazon have a bad reputation in your social circle? Folks I know tend to really like them (as customers), although I agree they have a reputation has an unpleasant place to be employed.

Yeah, I meant as a place of employment, though I think that the more companies they acquire, the more consumers will also lash back at them for how much market power the company holds.

I see your point, Milizard, about buildings, though I'm of the mind that most buildings can be saved. "Disrepair" is often used as an excuse to raze a building far better than any building that will replace it. But I recognize the complex economic factors that come into play. I just hate seeing all the historic brick warehouses and homes in Midwestern cities--basically the thing that makes our cities distinctive--being torn down for inferior structures. It happens all the fucking time in St. Louis. You'd think I'd be inured to it by now, but I'm not.   

I've been away from MMM for the past year and just returned for shits and giggles, and can I say how nice it is to be able to curse and know it won't be moderated or deleted? 
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 10:38:51 AM by justajane »