This morning, Bloomberg News is reporting that anonymous insiders are saying Amazon is close to finalizing its selection for its second headquarters (which are set to be officially announced by the end of the year). The winners of the pay-for-play beauty contest are reportedly Crystal City, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C., and in the New York City borough of Queens on Long Island. Obviously, Amazon remains mum on the deal.
This latest news comes via three separate reports. The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon was splitting its “gift” in two. The New York Times who outed Long Island City as one of the “winners” while the Washington Post identified Crystal City. The splitting of this baby is seen as Amazon’s attempt to mitigate backlash from what many see as the problems Amazon will bring for a city’s existing residents – “a problem shared is a problem halved” and all that.
As of a few days ago, news outlets (including CandysDirt.com) were reporting that Dallas remained on the short list. Pessimist that I am, in September 2017, I predicted Dallas wouldn’t be selected (and probably shouldn’t want it).
Both locations have rivers in common. The Queens location is across the East River from Manhattan while Crystal City is across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Both locations also currently have the highest concentrations of Amazon employees.
As I (and many) said from the beginning, Amazon had internally short-listed locations before it started this farce last year that saw over 200 municipalities tripping over themselves to woo the tech giant. Anyone familiar with corporate location planning knows you don’t just throw the doors open – you have a short list.
All seemed blinded to the negative impacts of 50,000 highly paid employees arriving with the additional tens of thousands from tangential businesses scurrying to bask in Amazon’s crumbs. While property taxes would rise, it would place a burden on everyone else. And that’s before the billions in tax incentives being offered to an already extremely profitable business. In April 2018 I delved into the negative consequences of Amazon.
Challenge to Dallas
It’s been widely reported that the short-list of 20 cities were each ponying up billions in tax incentives. I’m sure Dallas was no different. I challenge those Metroplex groups who cobbled together their offers (there were multiple from DFW) to find a way to use those promised giveaways to make Dallas better for Dallasites.
Yes, yes — I know that “Dallas” didn’t bid, but we all know that was done to mask the giveaway from pesky open government and transparency statutes. Various Chambers of Commerce worked hand-in-glove with the city and state on these offers as they have no ability to make financial promises for the city in a vacuum.
Dallas’ budget shortfalls, education woes and deferred maintenance have been widely reported and are well understood by residents. Find a way to repurpose those Amazon offers to fix Dallas. Fill potholes, pay teachers, firefighters and police better. Tackle poverty, affordable housing and homelessness in real ways.
If these Faustian deals were giving billions to Amazon, it’s time for those monies to be spent where they always should have – in Dallas, for Dallas citizens.
Remember: High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with three Bronze (2016, 2017, 2018) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards. Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make? Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.