Memo to civic leaders: Don’t sell out your cities for Amazon’s new headquarters – Los Angeles Times

Amazon’s announcement that it’s seeking a place to deposit a $5-billion, 50,000-employee complex as its second headquarters somewhere in North America has predictably set up a frenzy of civic preening. Mayors and regional pooh-bahs from coast to coast have announced their great interest in bringing the immense company to their burgs, as have real estate firms such as the Irvine Company.

Amazon’s idea is to supplement its existing Seattle HQ with a co-equal headquarters in some entirely fresh location, since Seattle, where the company already accounts for fully one-fifth of all office space, will have trouble absorbing much more expansion. The company is asking localities for presentations explaining why they’re the right place for what it calls HQ2.

Amazon’s plan is being hailed in some quarters as a breakthrough in urban planning. Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstine lauded the company’s insight that rather than continuing to overburden Seattle by moving the workers to the jobs, “the better strategy (is) to move the jobs to workers” by creating, essentially a new Seattle somewhere else.

Amazon is acting as if universities, high-skilled workers and local and state services — airports, mass transit authorities, zoning commissions, etc. — will hustle up, jostling one another other to give it everything it seeks. It may well be right, judging from the initial frenzy. Its eight-page “request for proposals,” or RFP, for the new headquarters is being examined to the last comma by civic leaders like steel company executives examining a bid sheet for rebar. It’s a fair bet that political leaders will respond with lavish tax incentives and other public grants to win the prize.

Amazon’s announcement that it’s seeking a place to deposit a $5-billion, 50,000-employee complex as its second headquarters somewhere in North America has predictably set up a frenzy of civic preening. Mayors and regional pooh-bahs from coast to coast have announced their great interest in bringing the immense company to their burgs, as have real estate firms such as the Irvine Company.

Amazon’s idea is to supplement its existing Seattle HQ with a co-equal headquarters in some entirely fresh location, since Seattle, where the company already accounts for fully one-fifth of all office space, will have trouble absorbing much more expansion. The company is asking localities for presentations explaining why they’re the right place for what it calls HQ2.

Amazon’s plan is being hailed in some quarters as a breakthrough in urban planning. Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstine lauded the company’s insight that rather than continuing to overburden Seattle by moving the workers to the jobs, “the better strategy (is) to move the jobs to workers” by creating, essentially a new Seattle somewhere else.

Amazon is acting as if universities, high-skilled workers and local and state services — airports, mass transit authorities, zoning commissions, etc. — will hustle up, jostling one another other to give it everything it seeks. It may well be right, judging from the initial frenzy. Its eight-page “request for proposals,” or RFP, for the new headquarters is being examined to the last comma by civic leaders like steel company executives examining a bid sheet for rebar. It’s a fair bet that political leaders will respond with lavish tax incentives and other public grants to win the prize.

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