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Amazon’s HQ2: The Pros and Cons

By Jami Gibson

When Amazon announced in September its plans to build a second North American headquarters, cities across the continent scrambled to put their location in the running. In all, Amazon received 238 proposals from cities vying for the e-commerce giant’s $5 billion investment and promise to create 50,000 high-paying jobs. Those staggering numbers have the potential to forever change a community, but some areas and states don’t see the appeal.

Here are a few pros and cons of locating a project of this magnitude:

Pros

  • Direct investment of $5 billion
  • 50,000 high-paying jobs
  • Indirect investment of funds and jobs for the construction and ongoing operation of the HQs
  • Ability to attract further business and talent
  • Boost in housing values (great for homeowners, bad for renters and first-time buyers)

Cons

  • CONstruction – ongoing construction of buildings, infrastructure improvements, housing, etc.
  • CONgestion – heavy traffic with the influx of 50,000 workers
  • CONtention – you’ve heard the saying, “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us.” For example, Arkansas did not submit a proposal due to the fact that they are already home to Walmart, one of Amazon’s biggest competitors, who has plans to expand their headquarters.

Other states, such as Vermont, Wyoming, and the Dakotas, chose not to respond to Amazon’s RFP simply because they couldn’t meet the requirements outlined within it (i.e. urban area with over 1 million in population, access to mass transit, close proximity to major highways and an international airport, acreage, etc.). While locating Amazon’s new headquarters may not be every city’s cup of tea, I’m sure everyone will be anxiously awaiting their decision in 2018.

Best of luck if your city is one of the 238 being considered!

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