(Matt Weinberger/Business Insider)
- Amazon is planning a new headquarters as big as its Seattle flagship.
- Boston and Chicago are among cities reportedly vying for the chance to host Amazon.
- But a recent column highlights some of the drawbacks for local cities of opening the giant HQ.
Cities across America are vying to be chosen as the site of a second Amazon headquarters, but the opportunity also comes with some drawbacks.
Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik writes that Amazon is taking advantage of the local communities that are putting together bids — which will presumably include generous tax incentives — for a planned $5 billion, 50,000-job facility.
"The company's approach is arrogant, naive and more than a teensy bit cynical," Hiltzik writes. "Rather than be offered bribes to move its headquarters into a community, Amazon should be made to pay for the privilege."
Hiltzik also points out that existing local businesses will face consequences for hosting Amazon.
"Communities that boast of relatively modest costs of living and reasonable labor costs as come-ons should recognize that Amazon's arrival will push up land values, and therefore the cost of housing and office space, and produce upward pressure on wages," Hiltzik writes. "That's good for workers, not so much for existing employers."
Amazon's headquarters in Seattle has certainly caused some tension, with some local residents calling the effects on traffic and housing prices "Amageddon."
Analysis by the software and traffic-data company Inrix found that Seattle drivers on average spent 55 hours stuck in traffic in 2016, placing Seattle among the 10 worst US cities for congestion, Business Insider's Madeline Stone reported in April.
The city-focused news website CityLab reported in 2015 that there was also a slight gender disparity in Seattle — about 1,068 single men for every 1,000 single women.
Rents have also increased, reaching an average in downtown Seattle of $42.08 a square foot, compared with $39.79 in 2015 and $31.38 in 2009. Rising rents could pose a challenge to small businesses and young startups searching for office space.
Bloomberg reported that Boston was the frontrunner for the new headquarters, a claim Amazon subsequently denied. Cities like Chicago and Denver are also reportedly in the running.
But hosting Amazon may not be all it's cracked up to be in the long term.
Madeline Stone contributed to this story.
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