Amazon HQ2

Discussion in 'Philadelphia Business' started by Tartan69, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Elliott87

    Elliott87 Well-Known Member

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    Would Amazon do Pittsburgh if they built the MagLev to connect to the NEC?
     
  2. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    My bet's on Northern VA if Amazon can be convinced it's more urban than it is. They decided to stay in downtown Seattle because Bezos insisted it's where the young IT workforce wanted to live, but the VA and MD suburbs are a lot like Seattle's...sprawling cul de sacs and car-centric freeways. It's gotten better but will never be as dense and walkable as any suburbs north of Wilmington. And who knows, maybe he's not as insistent on HQ2 being as urban, as long as its accessible. DC already has a sizable IT workforce and infrastructure along the Dulles Corridor, and now it's accessible by the Silver Line.

    Still, I think Philadelphia is a smart, if not the smartest, location, and I'm honestly not being biased. Unfortunately I think there is a lot of lingering bias about Philadelphia that could stifle our odds - namely unions and crime - but it wouldn't be unheard of for Amazon to make such a decision. Amazon consolidated its Seattle HQ in a questionable part of downtown that's already transforming. Basically, anywhere they go will be defined by whatever the company chooses, even if they plopped it down in the worst part of Camden, NJ.

    Philadelphia's public transportation system is as expansive as any city between DC, Boston, and Toronto; in many cases better. PHL is an international hub. I'd put Amtrak's accessibility in the top two within the Northeast Corridor next to Manhattan. Universities are finally beginning to keep students in town and that will only increase with Amazon's job potential and internships.

    But our biggest asset might be what keeps us from being a First Class City (whatever that means): we're cheap. Statisticians can use medians and means to make us look like our housing market is on the rise, and that's a good thing, but we also have an abundance of underutilized and abandoned property that keep those numbers relatively low. I can't remember if Detroit is on the list, but if not, I'd be willing to bet there's not one major city on the list where you can buy a habitable home for $50,000, let alone a decent one under $150,000. I mean slums aren't often a perceived advantage, but when you're talking about a major city economically on the rebound, slums translate into opportunity. And considering Amazon didn't take the traditional route out to Redmond for their first HQ, I don't expect them to be conventional with their second.

    Compared to the other cities on the list - whether it's the expense of Boston, New York, or DC; the isolation of southern cities; the redundancy of Denver - Philly has far more pros than cons. The only cons I can think of here are unions and our historic reputation for ****ing things up.

    All that said, I'd rather them go somewhere else. The incentives Amazon receives will set a precedent for kickbacks that is already painfully apparent to developers and corporations dancing around Philadelphia. This city has been a street-hustler in Colonial drag for the last forty years, and by handing out a few million here and there for developers to demolish landmarks under the pretense that they might someday build something better than a parking lot, we're not even being discreet. What's the next developer or corporation going to want knowing Amazon got, say, $1B or more? 50,000 jobs sounds great, and maybe the investment is theoretically worth it, but not if we're paying for those jobs and one company's taxes for the next ten years, only to grant even more money and tax breaks to all the investors that follow Amazon. Hell, by the time the first ordinary Philadelphian reaps the benefits of Amazon's HQ2, the second Industrial Revolution may have collapsed and it could be 1929 all over again.

    Historically, it's like bribing a 19th Century robber baron to build a train station or a port, something that will never be appreciated by the masses until it's an architectural relic 70 years later, and a civics lesson in economic ethics. But that's exactly what this "contest" is signalling. Whether Amazon winds up here or Northern Virginia, history is repeating itself, and between Amazon, Google, Tesla, Comcast, etc., etc., etc., we are all doomed to repeat it.
     
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  3. Tartan69

    Tartan69 Pawn in game of life

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    The Silver line is a bit of a game-changer. I see Tysons turning away from cars and into Reston Town Center, writ large. Their critical mass of tech talent blows Philly out of the water.

    That second item is precisely what will doom us. Our political class is packed with corrupt idiots.

    Detroit is not on the list. But Pittsburgh is, and has us beat here handily.

    This city needs those tech jobs. Comcast can't prop us up by itself.
     
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  4. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Is list for real? It reads more like a US metro popularity contest to me than anything else. Some cities conspicuous by their absence include:

    Baltimore...granted not far from Montgomery County, MD.
    Charlotte
    Cincy and Cleveland
    Detroit
    Houston-The largest metro area not to make the cut.
    Kansas City
    Minneapolis-This omission surprised me the most.
    Phoenix
    San Francisco-Also a surprise but not as surprising due to the ultra high cost of living.
    St. Louis

    It’s worth noting that two "cities" are in the New York City metro while three "cities" are in the Washington area. I’m sure Amazon has already decided where they’re putting HQ2. No clue what their final selection is but sure looks like they want to be in the nation’s capital.
     
  5. fiveomar

    fiveomar Well-Known Member

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    I see no advantage to the DC area over others for Amazon, except for the proximity to federal government, from a lobbying standpoint.
     
  6. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Your guess is as good as mine. So why are three of the candidate “cities” in the capital region? It’s like they’re stacking the deck in DC’s favor.
     
  7. MackeyDingo

    MackeyDingo REALLY Well-Known Member

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  8. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    When I read "short list" I wasn't expecting twenty. That's a pretty long list. Amazon is using this as a massive publicity stunt: drawing it out as Prime memberships surge from the cities that hope to be chosen, free and positive press from newspapers that don't want to say anything that could damage their cities' chances, seeing what kind of incentives get piled on top over the next year. I too am sure they've made their decision, and more and more it looks like the DC area, probably Northern Virginia because of the tech market that's already there. But you're right, this list does look more like a popularity contest than anything else because that's probably what it is. I'd love to see what kind of numbers Amazon is pulling in from the cities on the list.
     
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  9. MackeyDingo

    MackeyDingo REALLY Well-Known Member

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    Prime memberships surge in chosen cities? Any basis for that statement?
     
  10. daninpa

    daninpa Cheesesteak GURU!

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    Anyone want to take bets? You can gamble on what city wins on Bovada. Haha.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    No numbers, just an assumption based on ecommerce marketing experience. "Surge" might have been a heavy word, but I'd be willing to bet numbers are up in the running cities from all the free press and excitement.
     
  12. MackeyDingo

    MackeyDingo REALLY Well-Known Member

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    Most of these places only have a shot if amazon ignores the qualifications it included in its request for bidders.
     
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  13. MackeyDingo

    MackeyDingo REALLY Well-Known Member

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    Somebody needs to send this to Bezos


    2017 tech salaries: Silicon Valley slowed, Philadelphia had highest YoY growth

    On the flip side, many places where tech wages are seeing the highest levels of growth are the areas that aren’t typically thought of as tech hubs in the U.S. The average tech salary in Philadelphia grew by 7.7 percent from 2016 to 2017, while wages in Portland and Tampa grew by 6.5 percent.
     
  14. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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    For finalists in the Amazon headquarters sweepstakes, the fun has turned serious | Washington Post

    Amazon’s request for discretion, however, left some mayors in the final group feeling stuck in a tug-of-war over how transparent to be about their efforts.

    Amazon has a reputation for telling potential partners that it will cancel deals if discussions become public. In negotiating the firm’s $13.1 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, for instance, Amazon executives told the grocer that it “reserved the right to terminate discussions if there was any leak or rumor of its interest,” according to financial filings.
     
  15. Tartan69

    Tartan69 Pawn in game of life

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    Do not trust the bookmakers on things like this. Their goal is to maximize the vig, not define true odds.
     
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  16. MackeyDingo

    MackeyDingo REALLY Well-Known Member

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    I’m not sure a thing like this can be predicted by oddsmakers. You can’t poll it. It’s not two sports teams with player history to compare. It’s a one off event completely dependent on the secret decisions of a private group. Crowd sourcing is meaningless and there’s no reason to believe they know anything we don’t.
     
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  17. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

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    Of course. A trillion dollar company doesn't want the bad press that comes with taking billions in corporate welfare from some struggling city.
     
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  18. Sean

    Sean Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts on this exactly. And at the end of the day this only increases their competitive advantage over the already struggling local retail scene.
     
  19. Elliott87

    Elliott87 Well-Known Member

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    Spencer Johnson introduces the reader to his fable on how to cope positively with change.

    cheese.jpg
     
  20. MackeyDingo

    MackeyDingo REALLY Well-Known Member

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  21. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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    Amazon in advanced talks about putting HQ2 in Northern Virginia, those close to process say | Washington Post

    Amazon.com has held advanced discussions about the possibility of opening its highly sought-after second headquarters in Crystal City, including how quickly it would move employees there, which buildings it would occupy and how an announcement about the move would be made to the public, according to people close to the process.

    The discussions were more detailed than those the company has had regarding other locations in Northern Virginia and some other cities nationally, adding to speculation that the site in Arlington County is a front-runner to land the online retail giant’s second North American headquarters and its 50,000 jobs.

    The company is so close to making its choice that Crystal City’s top real estate developer, JBG Smith, has pulled some of its buildings off the leasing market and officials in the area have discussed how to make an announcement to the public this month, following the midterm elections, according to public and private-sector officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Amazon has asked that the selection process remain confidential. The company may be having similar discussions with other finalists.


    [snip]
     
  22. Tartan69

    Tartan69 Pawn in game of life

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    Yep, when they chose 3 sites in and around DC for the short list, I had a hunch that one of them was probably a foregone conclusion. DCnPhilly called it too. Amazon does a *lot* with the defense industry, in ways that Google and other big tech firms shy away from. And there's a reason why Bezos bought the WaPo...

    In hindsight, Philly never had a chance.
     
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  23. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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    For those who are saddened that HQ2 is possibly not coming to Philly, a rereading of the chapter "Gradual money and cataclysmic money" in Jane Jacobs' "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" might assuage your grief.

    Also, I wonder whether we'll eventually find out what the Philly incentive package consisted of besides, of course, KOZes.
     
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  24. Tartan69

    Tartan69 Pawn in game of life

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    Would you mind giving a quick synopsis?

    I'm assuming not, however agree that would be very insightful.
     
  25. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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  26. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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    Looks like probably the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens and Crystal City.

    Amazon Plans to Split HQ2 in Two Locations | NYTimes.com

    The company is nearing a deal to move to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, according to two of the people briefed on the discussions. Amazon is also close to a deal to move to the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., a Washington suburb, one of the people said. Amazon already has more employees in those two areas than anywhere else outside of Seattle, its home base, and the Bay Area.

    [snip]
     
  27. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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    Most concisely, be careful what you wish for. But please do read the chapter.

    And a little more analysis from the Boston Globe:

    Amazon reportedly planning to split HQ2 between two cities - The Boston Globe

    Excerpt:
    That may be a concession to what many say are Boston’s two biggest drawbacks when it comes to hosting such a big corporate campus: already-high housing costs and crowded roads and rails. Those same factors, observers say, may be what’s pushing Amazon to split HQ2 in two and lessen the effect on any particular city.

    “I think it makes sense,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “One of the big complaints that I’m sure they heard from communities was that 50,000 employees would overwhelm the housing market and transportation systems and strain government services. I suspect they heard that everywhere they went.”

    By dividing the spoils, and the headaches, across two locations, Amazon could tap multiple labor markets as well, perhaps finding better access to tech workers it needs to grow than any one city could provide. Given how tight labor markets are in many cities around the country, that approach could make a lot of sense, said Jed Kolko, chief economist at employment website Indeed.com.

    “They want to hire a lot of workers and that would be a challenge in even the biggest of cities,” Kolko said. “Having multiple additional headquarters gives them room to hire the number of people they want.”


    [snip]
     
  28. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

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    in fairness, Schuylkill yards is not an existing neighborhood so the impact would be limited. there are really few cities outside of NY better suited to absorbing an extra 50k jobs but the reason that is so is precisely why amazon isn't coming here, we have excess capacity because it is not a desirable place to locate a profitable business.
     
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  29. Tartan69

    Tartan69 Pawn in game of life

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    QFT
     
  30. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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    Unofficially official; announcement coming as soon as Tuesday.

    Amazon Picks New York City, Northern Virginia for Its HQ2 Locations | WSJ

    By Laura Stevens, Keiko Morris and Katie Honan
    Updated Nov. 12, 2018 11:17 p.m. ET

    New York City and Northern Virginia will be the homes for Amazon.com Inc.’s AMZN -4.41% second and third headquarters, according to people familiar with the matter, ending a more than yearlong public contest that started with 238 candidates and ended with a surprise split of its so-called HQ2.

    The imminent announcement is expected as soon as Tuesday, according to the people. Other cities may also receive major sites, some of the people said.

    Amazon is dividing the second headquarters evenly between New York’s Long Island City and Arlington County’s Crystal City neighborhoods, which are both located directly across from the major city centers. The company plans to evenly split the offices with as many as 25,000 employees.

    The decision effectively gives Amazon a major presence in three coastal hubs that politically lean left, at a time when tech companies are under scrutiny for their perceived elitism and liberal social views.

    Amazon declined to comment.


    [snip]
     

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