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24 Jan 2018
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Adding Amazon’s Headquarters to the New York Skyline

Amazon, founded by Jeff Bezos, is quickly becoming one of the most innovative, equipped and powerful companies in the world. Amazon has not only conquered the e-commerce market, but is now expanding its presence with brick-and-mortar stores, including Amazon Go – a high tech grocery store that uses smartphone apps and AI technology to track your purchase without having to stand in line to check out.[1]

Amazon is now looking for the ideal location to develop its new headquarters and narrowed it down to 20 out of 238 cities as finalists. The cities include:

Atlanta   Austin   Boston   Chicago   Columbus, Ohio   Dallas

Denver   Indianapolis   Los Angeles   Miami   Montgomery County

Nashville   Newark   New York   Northern Virginia   Philadelphia

Pittsburg   Raleigh   Toronto   Washington

Why are cities eager to become the next location for Amazon’s headquarters? Amazon will “invest $5 billion in development and create up to 500,000 jobs”.[2] Local governments and businesses in each city have pitched their ideas and even sent gifts (which were returned) to Amazon. A source from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Matthew Gardner, explained to the New York Times that “[i]f you ask any mayor, they’ll say their first job is to bring good jobs to the city … [a]nd Amazon is promising to bring a lot of jobs.”[3]

So what attracts Amazon to New York? Amazon’s ideal city will have a diverse population greater than 1 million, easy access to airports, good transit, business oriented, and close to schools (in hopes of inspiring a future generation of employees). Although many of the cities proposed tax breaks as an incentive, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who pitched a $5 billion tax credit, New York did not. Instead Mayor Bill de Blasio focused on New York’s talented population, international standing and expansive transit system (albeit its current issues and delays). New York has the “largest tech talent pool, with 300,000 workers” which exceeds both San Francisco and San Jose.[4] The Mayor explained, “We win it based on the talent of our workers and the incredible diversity of industries in this town. Those are the strengths you can’t buy with tax breaks.”[5] The city proposed that the headquarters could be based in Lower Manhattan, the West Side, Long Island City, or the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. 8.5 million diverse people live throughout the boroughs and the city is home to 105 “institutions of higher learning”.[6] But will this be enough to outbid the other 19 cities? We will have to wait and see.

 


[1] Amazon Go. Frequently Asked Questions. Available at: https://www.amazon.com/b?node=16008589011. Accessed on Jan. 24, 2018.

[2] Thompson, Elaine. (Jan. 18, 2018) “Where Amazon May Build Its New Headquarters.” New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/technology/cities-amazon-headquarters.html. Accessed on Jan. 24, 2018.

[3] Bowles, Nellie. (Sept. 25, 2017) “For Cities Wooing Amazon’s New Headquarters, Nothing Is Too Strange.” New York Times.Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/technology/wooing-amazon-second-headquarters.html.  Accessed on Jan. 24, 2018.

[4] Bagli, Charles B. (Oct. 18, 2017) “In Amazon Bid, New York Brags About, Well, Everything.” Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/nyregion/in-amazon-bid-new-york-brags-about-well-everything.html  Accessed on Jan. 24, 2018.

[5] Ib.

[6] Op. Cit. n.2.

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