HQ2: The Pros and Cons of Amazon’s New Headquarters


Sydney Vallier (9th), Reporter

Amazon, the online retail giant, started in a garage in 1994. Now, it serves over 300 million users. Its mobile app is used by 50% of online shoppers. Its storage warehouses have the same square footage as 4 Empire State Buildings. And on September 7, it announced the creation of a second headquarters that would be equal to their original 7.5 million square foot home in Seattle.

Amazon’s new HQ2 is planned to cover 8 million square feet. The $5 billion project promises to create 50,000 jobs, making it a coveted prize for any city to host.

To choose the location, Amazon has opened its options to proposals from cities and regions. Any city can try to be the lucky location, just as long as they meet several requirements: 1) the city must have a minimum population of 1 million people, 2) it must be equal to or less than 45 minutes from an international airport, 3) the cost of living must be low, and 4) as a whole, the residing workforce must be educated and tech savvy.

Some of the eligible cities in the bidding include Austin, Miami, Boston, New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Sacramento, Denver, Stonecrest, Memphis, and even a few Canadian sites such as Vancouver.

The before stated cities, among others, have indeed put up fierce competition for the chance to host HQ2. Stonecrest offered to change the city’s name to Amazon if chosen, while New York lit skyscrapers in the company’s signature orange. But is accommodating this huge project really worth it?

One problem the chosen city will have to deal with is traffic. Some of the larger cities on the list already deal with this, but others would be greatly affected by it. The smaller eligible competitors dream of heavy traffic, as it is generally regarded as a sign of prosperity; however, the 50,000 jobs the complex promises to bring means that thousands of people will be trying to reach the same destination, creating traffic jams that will be nothing but an inconvenience to others trying to get to work.

Another issue HQ2 would introduce is change in housing prices. Although many homeowners would be pleased to see the value of their properties increase, this creates a major problem for some residents. The consequent rise in rent price would drive low income residents further out of town as housing becomes less and less affordable.

Overall, Amazon’s new HQ2 seems a valuable prize for any area that can secure it, and many cities have picked up on that idea. On the flip side, the company’s large presence would also bring many issues that would have to be dealt with, meaning the city of choice would have to be extremely careful and responsible with its new addition to truly reap the benefits.