Disturbing part? Yes. The funny thing I have seen that since I started this informational blog about what was HQ2 Atlanta and then later HQ2 Prime as I wanted to be more fair to other areas is that a lot of people out there are worried about HQ2, don’t want it in their city or community. Don’t like what cities are doing to bid for HQ2 coming to their area. I have even had a few people scared that it would turn their state Democratic, Oh My!
It’s jobs people! Traffic for a bit might increase but I’m pretty sure that any area is going to have a plan in place beforehand to reduce traffic and a commute. I can also see places like Atlanta getting off their butt to fix simple things like an Alphabet Soup of mass transportation companies. People are saying that somewhere Amazon workers are living on food stamps. My reply is simple: sure, they employe nearly 500K people worldwide. Do you really expect them all to be full-time salary wages, is any other company that employs that many people, do they have people on food stamps, most likely? They are putting Wal-Mart and other big mortar businesses out of business! OK, lets put the genie back in the bottle a bit here. Nope, not going to happen that genie ran out of that bottle when those same companies put the mom and pop corner stores out of business. Downsides, sure! Upside, plenty.
That being said, here is that CNN article, let’s run down what they are saying.
Of the 20 cities on the Amazon HQ2 shortlist, 7 are located in the Boston-New York-Washington corridor, with 2 in New York and 3 in the DC metro. OK, what is the point of that? In other words, 3 are DC, 2 are NY state, and 2 is Boston area. LA, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Denver, Austin, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Indianapolis, and the North Carolina Research Triangle.
The article says that the disturbing part is that Amazon is pitting city against city in a wasteful and economically unproductive bidding war for tax and other incentives. The truth is we don’t really know what Amazon is going to go on as the main factor, the tax and other incentives might not matter. In fact, some places incentives are available to any company and we truly do not know what everyone is offering. We know that some places are being crazy on incentives but we don’t know that everyone is. If Amazon would take a deal so insane that it is sure to lose the area money they know that in the long run, it will not be worth it to locate there.
The author does talk about it doing more to Amazon brand if they work towards addressing challenges like affordable housing and traffic congestion. And here is the great thing. While some are complaining that the shortlist of 20 is long, making that list 20 will do just that. 20 communities and regions are going to get their stuff together, get with lawmakers and work the best that they can to fix their regions issues that have long been overlooked. It isn’t going to fix everything overnight, but I am sure that some areas will come together and start to fix issues that have plagued the areas. The funny thing is that is information is gold for any company looking to find a new location in the next 5 years. Regions can work towards making their issues better and pitch to the next companies like Apple and everyone else who will be looking for places to build. I think if you made the shortlist like 3 places that unneccessary real estate purchases would have happened in those communities. Regions would have not had to work as hard to close the deal. 20 regions are going to be working as hard as they can do fix every issue that they need to fix. Amazon is doing a great thing here, for these regions and future companies who might say, hey they didn’t win the Amazon HQ2 big but maybe we should look into Chicago or Atlanta for our next office.
I do like how the author says that this research isn’t only for HQ2 but for future regional hubs. This maybe be true but Amazon already has hubs in many of these 20 regions. Over 5 in Atlanta, several in other cities. Saying things like LA and Nashville can be leading centers for Amazon’s video and music content. Well, maybe, if you mean Nashville and Atlanta. I mean, Amazon Studios is already moving to LA and everyone knows that Atlanta is the new hot place for film and TV making.