What the Amazon HQ2 Cities Could Learn from Seattle


Amazon dot com, which has long been based in Seattle will split its second headquarters between Long Island City, New York and crystal city in northern Virginia, Amazon's invasion will likely transform the neighborhoods for the better in quite a few ways. But will also bring new headaches the to new locations could probably take a lesson in this regard from Seattle. That's where we find the Wall Street Journal's Jay green who joins us via Skype j you refer to the Amazon, invasion Beit and Seattle or the two new sites as a prosperity bomb. This has been used to describe what happened to Seattle's downtown. Isn't that? Right. Yeah. In really the whole city. I mean, you know, I I've lived here for twenty years, and you know, it's estan Ishida. See what's happened to housing prices. People of certainly gotten rich selling their homes here after Emma's come in. And, you know, been plenty of new businesses that have opened up to support Amazon and the forty five thousand people in employs in the city. What was the biggest chain? Change that Amazon affected and Seattle was at the skyline or was it something else? Yeah. When there's a bunch boy. But the skyline is is the most noticeable certainly there's a neighborhood they first moved into downtown called south lake union that was cut hardscrabble ramshackle. There wasn't a whole lot there and flash forward ten years, and it's bunch of grieving buildings in nice restaurants young folks walking around, but in another wants to write it. It's an mistake. Well to see how much traffic has gotten congested really because of that influx of people downtown. And that's really a lot of that has to do with Amazon, right? Amazon's presence in Seattle's downtown created a series of headaches traffic jams transit nightmares. And I guess as you said, you know, these rising home prices have put homes or home buying out of the reach for many. Yeah. I mean, listen. Goes both ways. Right when I bought my house here twenty years ago, and I'm doing okay. But you know, I think about my kids is they're moving into adulthood can be really hard for them to buy a home in Seattle at this point unless they land some great job hasn't the downtown really been transformed by I mean, just Amazon workers it's sprung up basically, a whole bunch of new businesses to cater to them restaurants, the obvious one because it's something that nine Zony wind up going into and there'd been a bunch of great restaurants that have shown up downtown a lot of quality kinda lunch spots. But also really nice dinner spots to there's all kinds of service businesses that have emerged new banks downtown, and that sort of thing it's really a whole economy that has catered to this influx of people J with Seattle Amazon really wrote the book on how a company headquartered in the city's downtown lot of corporate headquarters have been located suburbs. Look at Seattle that's often the. As well. You know, when Microsoft moved here forty years ago little bit less than forty years ago, they decided to move to Redmond which is a suburb of Seattle, and they have a big campus there and they've expanded. Actually, they even have some operations in downtown Seattle in the neighboring city Bellevue Boeing when it emerged here. Many decades ago it really build plants in Everett, which is north of the city in Renton, which is south of the city. And so it is it doesn't really have a presence downtown. And that's really been the difference with Amazon, and it was very purposeful. Jeff basis talked about how they wanted the company to be downtown because the executives there thought it would be a lure to talent. And I think that's also one of the reasons why they've chosen the new locations urban places in young people tend to like in places Amazon's pick of Long Island city's generated a lot of controversy in the New York area. One criticism has been that the tax breaks dangled in front of Amazon were way, too generous, and that the money could otherwise have been used. Upgrade the city's infrastructure, especially here the subways was there any comparable sort of controversy in Seattle. Amazon is a big employer, and it sort of been part of the discussion in terms of building infrastructure. I think people have been frustrated over the years with the contributions Amazon has has made or not made Amazon has responded in some regards. There's a streetcar in downtown Seattle and Amazon purchased an extra streetcar to ease.

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