According to a report in The New York Times, Amazon execs have privately been expressing concerns that the company's giant footprint in Seattle is beginning to generate some negative consequences, including skyrocketing housing prices, an intense competition for highly skilled workers and the daily traffic jams that are the norm in larger metro areas.
With its announcement Thursday, Amazon set off a insane corporate-Olympics contest - and one big thought experiment on the future of some American cities.
Amazon estimates its investments in its Seattle headquarters operations resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city's economy, from 2010 through 2016. But Amazon sees the limits to its growth here.
Amazon has apparently become too big for its high-rise corporate headquarters in downtown Seattle.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said on Twitter he would convince Amazon that the city is its dream metropolis, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson talked up the Edmonton Innovation Corridor, while London, Ont., Mayor Matt Brown noted the affordability of the city.
"We want to encourage states/provinces and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options", reads the proposal. "They're looking for eight million square feet, that's the whole Seaport".
"I would be suspicious of any claim that one new Amazon job creates a rippled effect of one indirect job", said Greg LeRoy, executive director of watchdog Good Jobs First. The company received at least $241 million in subsidies from local and state government after opening facilities in 29 different USA cities in 2015 and 2016, according to an analysis by Good Jobs First, a group that tracks economic development deals.
Amazon HQ2 will be a complete headquarters for Amazon-not a satellite office. It is already the eighth-largest U.S. employer.
Toronto, where it is easier to hire foreign workers than in the United States, could be a top contender for Amazon's new headquarters, according to Boyd. Indeed, the city's physical limitations will eventually impinge on Amazon's ability to attract and retain the talent that is its life blood. "The number of questions and encouragement in we have received from the community for competing in this significant economic development search is a reinforcement of our city's pride and support for the continued growth and diversification of our economy". "Adding a second headquarters here is definitely a move we welcome".
The U.S. Census estimated Fresno's population at 522,053 as of July 1 of previous year, but it's not clear if populations of Clovis and other, nearby communities might be considered in Amazon's consideration process.
If an Oklahoma community did win the Amazon HQ2 bid, the rewards could be staggering.
Last month, as Wisconsin was finalizing a $3 billion incentive package for technology maker Foxconn to build a plant, Dayton was invited to critique the deal during a Minnesota Public Radio interview.
"This move will not be cost driven".
Cities have until October 19 to apply through a special website, and Amazon said it will make a final decision on HQ2 next year.
Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle.