Seattle — home of Amazon’s current headquarters — also wants to be the site of the e-commerce giant’s second headquarters.
Bruce Harrell, during his recent short-lived role as mayor of Seattle, signed an executive order stating the city’s intent to compete for Amazon’s second headquarters, local alternative newspaper The Stranger reported.
Amazon announced earlier in September that it was soliciting bids from cities across North America for a place to build its second headquarters. The e-commerce giant said it would invest $5 billion in the headquarters and that it plans to eventually house 50,000 Amazon employees there.
Currently, Amazon’s Seattle headquarters employ more than 40,000 people. According to the company, the headquarters have created 53,000 jobs in the city in addition to pumping $38 billion into the local economy.
Amazon’s impact on Seattle is one reason other cities have been eager to compete for the company’s second headquarters. But a second Amazon headquarters in the city would be truly cataclysmic.
Some Seattle residents already believe that Amazon has changed the city — and not for the better, with some calling the transformation “Amageddon.”
Housing costs are sky-rocketing, pushing some long-time residents out of the city. In 2016, an apartment in downtown Seattle’s cost $42.08 per square foot to rent, compared with $39.79 in 2015 and $31.38 in 2009. Home values increased 11.2% in the last year alone, according to Zillow.
Analysis by the software and traffic-data company Inrix found that Seattle drivers spent an average of 55 hours stuck in traffic in 2016. That places Seattle among the 10 worst US cities for congestion.
Jeff Reifman wrote in a 2014 op-ed in GeekWire:
“A lot about our Amazon-fueled future is just plain obvious: Seattle will be more male, even more white, wealthier and less diverse, unaffordable to those with lower incomes including the firestarters of culture, artists. The city’s spacious skyline, which offered scenic views from many areas of town, will be forever transformed; anyone who lives here knows it already has been. Many parts of Seattle are unrecognizable from last year let alone a few years ago.”
A second headquarters in a city with limited space — for a company that primarily hires college-educated people with an interest in tech — isn’t going to solve these issues. It’ll likely just make them worse.
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