Amazon is not only becoming the retail equivalent of the Kardashians (aka virtually inescapable, unless you live off the grid), but they’re also becoming one of America’s largest employers — leading to an announcement this week that they’re seeking a second U.S. headquarters and a second city to call home, in addition to Seattle.
Amazon has become an increasingly ubiquitous presence in our daily and domestic lives. And that requires an increasingly gargantuan worldwide labor force to execute on each announcement about strategic growth through new products, services, or feature enhancements to its website, mobile apps, or other technologies.
News about Amazon’s decision to open a second American headquarters is huge, because by the company’s own data it will mean 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in revenue for the chosen city — a highly competitive urban bidding war that Bloomberg calls "the Olympics of corporate relocations" for US mayors trying to woo the ubiquitous marketplace to their metro area.
Does Amazon really need a second headquarters in the U.S.? Wired speculates that Amazon most certainly does need more space, as they currently occupy 19% of Seattle’s total prime office space and may have "outgrown" their hometown in other ways, as well. The retail giant now has more than 382,000 full and part time employees worldwide, adding more than 30,000 employees during its last fiscal quarter alone — and with earnings up 42 percent year-over-year — bolstered, no doubt, by its acquisition of Austin, TX-based Whole Foods back in August.
But, according to a Brookings Institution analysis shared by Citylab, those regional mayors may be wasting their time and taxpayer dollars since Amazon most likely already knows exactly where it will be opening its second headquarters — announcing the search "to create the illusion of competition."
So where do the experts think that Amazon’s buzzy "HQ2" will actually be built?
The New York Times has an exhaustive, interactive data analysis today of viable metro areas based on Amazon’s own publicly released search criteria — a city with over a million people, good public transit, major universities, a large tech talent pool, strong job growth, high quality of life, and a few more caveats — and whittled their suggestions down point by point from 50 metro areas to a single Goldilocks city. (Spoiler: It’s Denver.)
Meanwhile, CNN Money thinks that these eight cities are perfect for Amazon’s second headquarters, including Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Dallas, Austin, Boston San Jose, and Washington, D.C. at the top of the list — calling attention especially to the last metro area, where Amazon founder Jeff Bezos just recently purchased the city’s largest home for $23 million, a 27,000-square foot former Textile Museum in Kalorama, according to the Washington Post (which Bezos also owns).
Where do you think Amazon should build its second headquarters?