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Amazon’s Search For A New Headquarters (HQ2) Hots Up

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The recent announcement by Amazon that it is seeking a new, second headquarters to complement its current one in Seattle has been met with excitement by cities across North America. The idea is that they will have two, co-equal headquarters, one in Seattle and one in a yet to be decided location, as there is very little room for expansion in Seattle where the company already occupies one fifth of the cities office space.

It was reported this week by Spencer Soper at Bloomberg that the city of Boston was the favourite to be Amazon’s new headquarters.

“Boston is being considered for its proximity to Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an airport with nonstop flights to Seattle and Washington, D.C., and a lower cost of living than many other big cities,” he wrote.

However, in a tweet, Amazon have said that this was incorrect.

“Bloomberg is incorrect – there are no front-runners at this point. We’re just getting started & every city is on equal playing field,” the company wrote.

Amazon is asking US cities for presentations explaining why they are the right place for what it calls HQ2. Factors that it is thought to be interested in include high skilled workers, airports and transit systems. However, some commentators have poured scorn on how Amazon is playing city off against city and that their choice of location is irrelevant, such is the impact the company will have wherever they choose to locate their new co-headquarters. Writing in the LA Times,  reporter Michael Hiltzik says:

“Lots of U.S. and Canadian communities offer big universities, youth-oriented amenities, highways, transit systems and sizeable airports. Those that don’t exist will spring up around any big corporate headquarters offering 50,000 jobs at more than $100,000 each, which is where the company pegs the annual pay.

“Amazon’s HQ2 will attract an educated workforce whether it’s located in suburban Denver, Dallas or Baltimore, to mention three locations appearing on not a few lists of candidates appearing in the media. Graduates of first-class universities from thousands of miles away will beat a path to the door. If the critical mass of workers and disposable income is great enough (it should be), restaurateurs, chi-chi retailers and other carriers of the cool lifestyle gene will follow. Transit lines and highway interchanges will reach out to carry this population where it wishes to go.

“None of this is a new phenomenon, any more than is demanding a payoff. The only thing different about Amazon’s campaign for a new headquarters is that it’s bound to be bigger than any that came before. That’s not a compliment.”

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