Despite its much-publicized search for a second North American headquarters, Amazon could have already narrowed the field to a city where it has established one of its research and development centers, according to The Business Journals.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant employs about 382,000 people, one-quarter of which are part of the company's research and development efforts in areas such as transportation services; search-engine technology; and gaming, supply-chain and speech-recognition software. Located in cities including Atlanta, Austin, TX, Boston, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Portland, OR, these hubs reportedly meet the requirements of the latest search.
Amazon's new headquarters is expected to employ about 50,000 people. The company is accepting proposals through Oct. 19 from states and cities willing to host the massive corporate expansion.
In a recent report, Anderson Economic Group (AEG) identified 35 cities that best met Amazon's new headquarters requirements. New York City topped the list for its extensive transit network, qualified labor pool, ready access to customers and reliable supply chain — despite it being the most expensive place on the list in which to do business.
Other contenders on AEG's list were Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Dallas, Salt Lake City and San Diego.
Amazon and its 50,000 new workers are sure to bring a bevy of benefits to the chosen city. Those include a larger tax base, ancillary development and the cachet of being able to claim one of the world's most recognizable brands as its own. Critics of what Amazon's Seattle operations have meant for the once-affordable city have warned those eager to welcome the company about the potential downsides.
For instance, Seattle's housing prices have increased so much that lower-income workers have been forced out of former middle-class neighborhoods to make room for well-paid tech workers, the Boston Globe reported. The city has also seen an uptick in its homeless population and more traffic congestion as a result of the additional stress placed on its transit system.
Amazon isn't the Seattle area's only tech employer, however. Microsoft, Apple and several others have staked a flag there.
To its credit, Amazon dedicated space in a new Seattle office building for use as a homeless shelter. The Mary's Place shelter will provide space for 220 people and their pets, and it will have its own entrance and elevators. The shelter will pay for its own staff, but Amazon will not charge the organization rent. Mary's Place is currently operating out of a Seattle hotel that Amazon owns.