Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ caused a national stir when he announced that Amazon was scouting 20 cities that could potentially land it’s second headquarters. The winning city would receive nearly 50,000 jobs which would in turn attract a host of other tech-related business entities as well. Nashville, Tennessee with it’s booming economy and educated workforce made the final cut with some news sources even considering it the favorite.
Some Nashville residents, however, are balking at the idea of Amazon placing it’s second headquarters here. Two main reasons are the ongoing traffic problems with a less than stellar infrastructure and poor public transportation options. Nashville’s city council is expected to vote on expanding it’s public transportation in May, 2018. The other reason is that Nashville is currently experiencing a shortage of affordable housing. Many of Nashville’s inner-city neighborhoods are becoming gentrified with young workers that want to live close to their workplaces and other tourist attractions. The median list price for a home in Nashville currently exceeds $350,000. That number is far less than cities such as New York and D.C., however, median home prices are expected to steadily increase over the next five years.
Amazon’s current headquarters are located in Seattle, Washington. According to Amazon officials, the company’s mere presence contributed nearly $40 billion to Seattle’s economy between 2010 and 2016. However, the average rent skyrocketed by 51% which spurred a large homeless population that can now be seen throughout the city. Amazon’s presence also contributed to additional problems with Seattle’s traffic and infrastructure; and Nashville doesn’t need additional problems in those areas. The city of Nashville will offer a tax incentive package to Amazon, however, those official numbers have not been released to the public. Newark, New Jersey is currently offering $7 billion in tax incentives and if you’re like me, you’re wondering where they’re getting that money with it's weak economy.
Another important question would be where would Amazon build a corporate headquarters in Nashville? In all likelihood, it would be attractive for the headquarters to have easy access to the Nashville International Airport. According to Amazon, it would need a 500,000 square foot facility by 2019 and 8 million square feet in years to come. If Nashville does inherit the second Amazon headquarters, residents in the areas closest to the facility can expect their home values to skyrocket.
Other cities that are being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters include Austin, Boston, Toronto, Newark, Atlanta, DC and Raleigh. When you look at the list of cities that made the final cut, it’s obvious that Amazon wants to expand away from the West Coast. They’re also considering economies where they would be a compliment to the city’s current economic landscape rather than it’s savior. Amazon would be a Godsend for cities with poor economies such as Detroit, Cleveland and Baltimore. With a city unemployment rate of less than 3%, it appears Amazon may need Nashville more than Nashville needs Amazon.
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