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Sci-Tech

Web Desk
September 15, 2017

Amazon shadow looms large ahead of retail earnings

NEW YORK: As old and new Amazon.com competitors gear up to report earnings, investors are eager to...

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Here’s why American cities are fighting over Amazon's headquarters

Here’s why American cities are fighting over Amazon's headquarters

NEW YORK: American cities are in a fierce competition to be chosen as the site of a second Amazon headquarters; the reasons behind are $5 billion investment and 50,000 jobs.

While there are huge benefits for the cities to have a headquarters of such a big company, there are some drawbacks as well, the Business Insider reported.

Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik writes that Amazon is taking advantage of the local communities that are putting together bids — which will presumably include generous tax incentives — for a planned $5 billion, 50,000-job facility.

"Communities that boast of relatively modest costs of living and reasonable labor costs as come-ons should recognize that Amazon's arrival will push up land values, and therefore the cost of housing and office space, and produce upward pressure on wages," Hiltzik writes. "That's good for workers, not so much for existing employers."

Referring to thy e-commerce giant is looking move, the BI said Amazon's headquarters in Seattle has certainly caused some tension, with some local residents calling the effects on traffic and housing prices "Amageddon."

Analysis by the software and traffic-data company Inrix found that Seattle drivers on average spent 55 hours stuck in traffic in 2016, placing Seattle among the 10 worst US cities for congestion, the news website reported in April.

The city-focused news website CityLab reported in 2015 that there was also a slight gender disparity in Seattle — about 1,068 single men for every 1,000 single women.

Rents have also increased, reaching an average in downtown Seattle of $42.08 a square foot, compared with $39.79 in 2015 and $31.38 in 2009. Rising rents could pose a challenge to small businesses and young startups searching for office space.

Bloomberg reported that Boston was the frontrunner for the new headquarters, a claim Amazon subsequently denied. Cities like Chicago and Denver are also reportedly in the running.

What Amazon wants for its new head office?

  1. Amazon is looking for existing buildings of at least 500,000 square feet and total site space of up to 8 million sq ft.
  2. Amazon is prioritizing “stable and business-friendly regulations and tax structure” in its considerations.
  3. The company is asking applicants to outline the specific types of incentives they could offer, such as tax credits and relocation grants, as well calculations on the amount of total incentives that could be provided.
  4. Hiring 50,000 skilled workers is no easy task, and Amazon wants to make sure its new headquarters is in an area with a readily available pool of talent.
  5. Amazon wants on-site access to mass transit—train, subway, or bus—and to be no more than one or two miles from major highways and connecting roads. It wants to be within 45 minutes of an international airport with daily direct flights to Seattle, New York, the San Francisco Bay area, and Washington DC.
  6. To begin construction as soon as possible, Amazon wants an outline of the permitting process and approximate timetable ahead of “Phase 1” of the building process—the first 500,000 to 1 million sq ft, for an investment of $300 million to $600 million.
  7. Like any tech company, Amazon cares about “culture fit.” It defines this as a diverse population, strong higher-education system, and local government that is “eager and willing to work with the company.”
  8. The new headquarters should be in a place where people want to live. Amazon is interested in daily living and recreational opportunities for people in each proposed metro area.
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