GRLaker

Amazon looking for a city to put HQ2

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GRLaker    249

So here's where we stand between Grand Rapids and Detroit...

 

Grand Rapids Pros: Growing economy, growing population, growing downtown, desirable place to live, Switch opening up shop here

Grand Rapids Cons: Talent shortage, lack of public transit outside of busing, high priced land, lack of direct flights and international travel outside of Canada

 

Detroit Pros: Cheap land, gentrified downtown, larger population

Detroit Cons: Lack of the right kind of talent, not a desirable place to live, lack of public transit and a population that's closed off to it, high crime and depressed population

 

Sounds to me like Michigan in general is likely not going to land this. 

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Pattmost20    113
1 hour ago, GRLaker said:

So here's where we stand between Grand Rapids and Detroit...

 

Grand Rapids Pros: Growing economy, growing population, growing downtown, desirable place to live, Switch opening up shop here

Grand Rapids Cons: Talent shortage, lack of public transit outside of busing, high priced land, lack of direct flights and international travel outside of Canada

 

Detroit Pros: Cheap land, gentrified downtown, larger population

Detroit Cons: Lack of the right kind of talent, not a desirable place to live, lack of public transit and a population that's closed off to it, high crime and depressed population

 

Sounds to me like Michigan in general is likely not going to land this. 

Agree that I don't think anywhere in Michigan will get it, and frankly I kind of agree with the people who say they don't want it here. At the same time I'm glad GR is trying. I think Amazon is making a big spectacle of it, so might as well use it to get some more national exposure. Might even help us land a handful of smaller tech companies if The Right Place puts together a good proposal.

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mjak68    11
54 minutes ago, Pattmost20 said:

Agree that I don't think anywhere in Michigan will get it, and frankly I kind of agree with the people who say they don't want it here. At the same time I'm glad GR is trying. I think Amazon is making a big spectacle of it, so might as well use it to get some more national exposure. Might even help us land a handful of smaller tech companies if The Right Place puts together a good proposal.

I think that's the real play here.  Make a splash going for the big prize and probably land at least a smaller one.  Makes sense.

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urbanplanet17    285

Below is an article from Rochelle Riley at the Detroit Free Press, who interviewed Sandy Baruah of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. It has some good points, especially about the bid for the Volkswagen plant several years ago.

Long story short, when John Rakolta of Walbridge was courting Volkswagen, he asked their CEO why they chose Tennessee over Michigan. The reason they gave was because of "cohension," basically everyone in the state coming together to support one single bid instead of everyone competing against each other. However, on paper, Michigan was the better choice.

Not trying to start any arguments or fights with this, but it's still good food for thought for everyone in the state.

 

http://www.freep.com/story/news/columnists/rochelle-riley/2017/09/14/rochelle-riley-mike-duggan-dan-gilbert-amazon-hq-detroit/662745001/

 

Edited by urbanplanet17

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GR8scott    79
3 hours ago, GRLaker said:

So here's where we stand between Grand Rapids and Detroit...

 

Grand Rapids Pros: Growing economy, growing population, growing downtown, desirable place to live, Switch opening up shop here

Grand Rapids Cons: Talent shortage, lack of public transit outside of busing, high priced land, lack of direct flights and international travel outside of Canada

 

Detroit Pros: Cheap land, gentrified downtown, larger population

Detroit Cons: Lack of the right kind of talent, not a desirable place to live, lack of public transit and a population that's closed off to it, high crime and depressed population

 

Sounds to me like Michigan in general is likely not going to land this. 

I dont really think thats a fair comparison, for one, Detroit has a few more things going for it namely the fact Amazon just built a large second warehouse and looking to build a third in the area soon, so they already have operations there.  Also the airport is already a major international hub. Also its on a major border crossing with many homeland security, customs officials and overall transportation jobs. 

A growing downtown is hardly unique to GR and Detroit's is also growing with a new arena, many rehabbed buildings and proposal for the new tallest in the state. They both lack in public transportation. Both cities are not desirable to many people especially coming from Silicon Valley and Seattle where the snow will certainly scare off some.  Flights from GRR to Deltas hub in Seattle and United to SFO can easily be added if there was demand. I doubt Amazon will pay for land, although housing may be a factor. The comparison would really come against Seattle and the other candidate cities. I would edit the Pro/Con list to.....

 

Grand Rapids Pros: Growing economy, Quality of life studies, proximity to many kinds of recreational activities, being able to court and land Switch, Giving philanthropists, artsy and beer scenes, was recently a secret now "trending up"

Grand Rapids Cons: Talent shortage, lack of major college institutions, small town infrastructure in highways, public transit, and airport, no major highway/not a pass through area, weather

Grand Rapids Wildcard (either pro/con): seclusion/off the beaten path, small town feel, "hidden gem" feel 

 

Detroit Pros: Amazon has operations and may expand here, cheap housing/cost of living, gentrified and improving downtown,  rich history and culture, Major hub airport,  UofM,  major international border,  plenty of possible locations either in the city and even rural areas towards Ann Arbor/Airport, hipster and creative vibe

Detroit Cons: perception of not a desirable area to live, lack of public transit and a population that's closed off to it, high crime and depressed population in some areas, history of corrupt politics

Detroit Wildcard: sentimental pick as stated by the times article, Amazon wanting to help a depressed area and be a part of the comeback for PR

 

 

I would love to see them set up shop in either Michigan city but realistically places like Raleigh, Austin, Denver and even Columbus seem to be a much closer fit to what Amazon is looking for. 

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Pattmost20    113
14 minutes ago, GR8scott said:

I dont really think thats a fair comparison, for one, Detroit has a few more things going for it namely the fact Amazon just built a large second warehouse and looking to build a third in the area soon, so they already have operations there.  Also the airport is already a major international hub. Also its on a major border crossing with many homeland security, customs officials and overall transportation jobs. 

A growing downtown is hardly unique to GR and Detroit's is also growing with a new arena, many rehabbed buildings and proposal for the new tallest in the state. They both lack in public transportation. Both cities are not desirable to many people especially coming from Silicon Valley and Seattle where the snow will certainly scare off some.  Flights from GRR to Deltas hub in Seattle and United to SFO can easily be added if there was demand. I doubt Amazon will pay for land, although housing may be a factor. The comparison would really come against Seattle and the other candidate cities. I would edit the Pro/Con list to.....

 

Grand Rapids Pros: Growing economy, Quality of life studies, proximity to many kinds of recreational activities, being able to court and land Switch, Giving philanthropists, artsy and beer scenes, was recently a secret now "trending up"

Grand Rapids Cons: Talent shortage, lack of major college institutions, small town infrastructure in highways, public transit, and airport, no major highway/not a pass through area, weather

Grand Rapids Wildcard (either pro/con): seclusion/off the beaten path, small town feel, "hidden gem" feel 

 

Detroit Pros: Amazon has operations and may expand here, cheap housing/cost of living, gentrified and improving downtown,  rich history and culture, Major hub airport,  UofM,  major international border,  plenty of possible locations either in the city and even rural areas towards Ann Arbor/Airport, hipster and creative vibe

Detroit Cons: perception of not a desirable area to live, lack of public transit and a population that's closed off to it, high crime and depressed population in some areas, history of corrupt politics

Detroit Wildcard: sentimental pick as stated by the times article, Amazon wanting to help a depressed area and be a part of the comeback for PR

 

 

I would love to see them set up shop in either Michigan city but realistically places like Raleigh, Austin, Denver and even Columbus seem to be a much closer fit to what Amazon is looking for. 

Columbus doesn't even have Amtrak service, let alone any other type of rail. I don't see it getting picked. Raleigh either. I think Denver has a great shot, if Austin can get its mass transit up to par, I think it has a shot, as it stands there is horrible traffic and a mediocre transit system.

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GR8scott    79
2 minutes ago, Pattmost20 said:

Columbus doesn't even have Amtrak service, let alone any other type of rail. I don't see it getting picked. Raleigh either. I think Denver has a great shot, if Austin can get its mass transit up to par, I think it has a shot, as it stands there is horrible traffic and a mediocre transit system.

well every city has their pros and cons, Denver's traffic is horrible and so is the price of land. Also the airport is in the middle of nowhere and takes a solid 45 minutes to exit the airport and another 45 minutes to get to the city no matter what mode of transportation and time of day

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Pattmost20    113
22 minutes ago, GR8scott said:

well every city has their pros and cons, Denver's traffic is horrible and so is the price of land. Also the airport is in the middle of nowhere and takes a solid 45 minutes to exit the airport and another 45 minutes to get to the city no matter what mode of transportation and time of day

That is true, Denver is far from perfect for it, but they've shown a willingness to invest in transit and have that new light rail line that runs out to airport.  Columbus has cheap, plentiful land. But in my book, that is about it.

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MJLO    342

Denver's traffic congestion and land prices are not likely to make a person from Seattle wince.  Spend an afternoon on I-5 from Tacoma into downtown you'll understand.

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Pattmost20    113
1 hour ago, MJLO said:

Denver's traffic congestion and land prices are not likely to make a person from Seattle wince.  Spend an afternoon on I-5 from Tacoma into downtown you'll understand.

Seriously, Seattle ranks up there for worst traffic I've ever driven in (that includes Chicago, Manhattan, LA, and SF)

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GRDadof3    1837
3 hours ago, GR8scott said:

I dont really think thats a fair comparison, for one, Detroit has a few more things going for it namely the fact Amazon just built a large second warehouse and looking to build a third in the area soon, so they already have operations there.  Also the airport is already a major international hub. Also its on a major border crossing with many homeland security, customs officials and overall transportation jobs. 

A growing downtown is hardly unique to GR and Detroit's is also growing with a new arena, many rehabbed buildings and proposal for the new tallest in the state. They both lack in public transportation. Both cities are not desirable to many people especially coming from Silicon Valley and Seattle where the snow will certainly scare off some.  Flights from GRR to Deltas hub in Seattle and United to SFO can easily be added if there was demand. I doubt Amazon will pay for land, although housing may be a factor. The comparison would really come against Seattle and the other candidate cities. I would edit the Pro/Con list to.....

 

Grand Rapids Pros: Growing economy, Quality of life studies, proximity to many kinds of recreational activities, being able to court and land Switch, Giving philanthropists, artsy and beer scenes, was recently a secret now "trending up"

Grand Rapids Cons: Talent shortage, lack of major college institutions, small town infrastructure in highways, public transit, and airport, no major highway/not a pass through area, weather

Grand Rapids Wildcard (either pro/con): seclusion/off the beaten path, small town feel, "hidden gem" feel 

 

Detroit Pros: Amazon has operations and may expand here, cheap housing/cost of living, gentrified and improving downtown,  rich history and culture, Major hub airport,  UofM,  major international border,  plenty of possible locations either in the city and even rural areas towards Ann Arbor/Airport, hipster and creative vibe

Detroit Cons: perception of not a desirable area to live, lack of public transit and a population that's closed off to it, high crime and depressed population in some areas, history of corrupt politics

Detroit Wildcard: sentimental pick as stated by the times article, Amazon wanting to help a depressed area and be a part of the comeback for PR

 

 

I would love to see them set up shop in either Michigan city but realistically places like Raleigh, Austin, Denver and even Columbus seem to be a much closer fit to what Amazon is looking for. 

In the New York Times' analysis, Grand Rapids makes it further than Detroit in a match up, hypothetically. Top 25 actually. 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/09/upshot/where-should-amazon-new-headquarters-be.html

It would certainly be in Grand Rapids' best interest to come up with a knock-down drag-out awesome proposal that is clever, ingenious, innovative and fun.  We'd never win but sometimes second or third place turns out to be better than 1st, in the long run.  And no not a lipdub video! 

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joeDowntown    664
16 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

In the New York Times' analysis, Grand Rapids makes it further than Detroit in a match up, hypothetically. Top 25 actually. 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/09/upshot/where-should-amazon-new-headquarters-be.html

It would certainly be in Grand Rapids' best interest to come up with a knock-down drag-out awesome proposal that is clever, ingenious, innovative and fun.  We'd never win but sometimes second or third place turns out to be better than 1st, in the long run.  And no not a lipdub video! 

Agreed. No way we land Amazon, but if you come up with a kick ass proposal that gets you close, other companies will notice. 

No lip dub, but a drunken rendition of 99 bottles of beer might be fun. Haha

Joe

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Floyd_Z    33
On 14/09/2017 at 1:50 PM, GR8scott said:

well every city has their pros and cons, Denver's traffic is horrible and so is the price of land. Also the airport is in the middle of nowhere and takes a solid 45 minutes to exit the airport and another 45 minutes to get to the city no matter what mode of transportation and time of day

Denver also just completed their mass transit trains, one of which (finally) goes to the airport.  I've never had to deal with any congestion in or out, they built the highway to just go right to the airport.  Denver is a major hub and one of the top 20 busiest in the world.  That being said, it is designed very well and I have never had a problem flying in or out of there.  As mentioned before, traffic congestion will probably not be a major factor in their decision.   Being right in the foothills of the Rockies may help too, half of Denver and the front range flock to all the ski mountains in the winter.

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GRDadof3    1837
20 minutes ago, Floyd_Z said:

Denver also just completed their mass transit trains, one of which (finally) goes to the airport.  I've never had to deal with any congestion in or out, they built the highway to just go right to the airport.  Denver is a major hub and one of the top 20 busiest in the world.  That being said, it is designed very well and I have never had a problem flying in or out of there.  As mentioned before, traffic congestion will probably not be a major factor in their decision.   Being right in the foothills of the Rockies may help too, half of Denver and the front range flock to all the ski mountains in the winter.

Actually it's a year round outdoor recreationalists dream.  And something like 250 - 300 days of sun, despite getting snow all the way into May. I've seriously wanted to move there since I was 8 years old, the first time we traveled there on a family vacation (I have a lot of relatives out there in Denver and the Springs). I would definitely miss the greenery and lakes here though. It's like a desert there, lol. :) (my skin dries out like crazy when I visit there). 

It certainly would be a big change for any executives moving from Seattle, but it's got the teeth to attract 10's of thousands of new employees. 

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Floyd_Z    33
16 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

Actually it's a year round outdoor recreationalists dream.  And something like 250 - 300 days of sun, despite getting snow all the way into May. I've seriously wanted to move there since I was 8 years old, the first time we traveled there on a family vacation (I have a lot of relatives out there in Denver and the Springs). I would definitely miss the greenery and lakes here though. It's like a desert there, lol. :) (my skin dries out like crazy when I visit there). 

It certainly would be a big change for any executives moving from Seattle, but it's got the teeth to attract 10's of thousands of new employees. 

Yup you're right. :)  (I was trying to keep the summers there a secret)  I lived up in the mountains near Vail for about five years.  Moved for the winter, stayed for the summer is the saying out there.  A typical summer day in the mountains consisted of it being about 40 in the morning, then gradually warming to the high seventies, then when it just started getting a little too warm, there would be a short storm and it would cool off again.  And the best part, zero humidity.  Sorry, a little off topic, but CO has a special place in my heart :) 

 

EDIT:  The only bad part of living there is when all the Denverites and Front Rangers invade the slopes and trails on the weekends.  I-70 on Friday W and E on Sunday Evening was always a nightmare.  A 2 hour drive would usually take 6-9 hours for those folks, not to mention if it's dumping the passes will close.

 

Also, there is some real talk about a hyperloop from Denver to the mountains, which would be insane

Edited by Floyd_Z

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The ATX    541
1 hour ago, Floyd_Z said:

EDIT:  The only bad part of living there is when all the Denverites and Front Rangers invade the slopes and trails on the weekends.  I-70 on Friday W and E on Sunday Evening was always a nightmare.  A 2 hour drive would usually take 6-9 hours for those folks, not to mention if it's dumping the passes will close.

Yes!  I was stuck in that I-70 traffic one weekend.  The traffic was insane, and I'm used to dealing with the ridiculous traffic mess we have here in Austin.  We ended up exiting I-70 and spent the night in Idaho Springs which was awesome.  That ended up being one of the best traffic jams I ever experienced. :)

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Pattmost20    113
12 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

Now that we've determined we all like Denver. :) ... back to talking about Amazon.

This article was widely circulated a couple years ago, it is an interesting look at the impact Amazon has had on Seattle. If HQ2 goes to a city smaller than Seattle and lives up to the promise of 50,000 jobs, it could radically shift demographics and culture of said city. Spectrum employees ~25,000 in metro GR and is by far the area's biggest employer, would be interesting to see how a workforce double the size would impact the city.

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crinzema    71

I think this is a completely unrealistic plan. There is no way in Hell that any 1,000,000 sized city can support a Headquarters the size of 50,000. Remember, when we talk about 50,000 employees, we haven't started including family members and all that good crap.  And remember a city the size of about a million doesn't have a million jobs. We are not talking about a 5% increase in jobs. This would lead to such an infrastructural change of a magnitude, that this would nearly cripple any city the size of ours. And think about all the supportive jobs that will be created through this. This undertaking is basically a complete city overhaul. Just imagine this, take the entire metro of Kalamazoo, and drop it on Grand Rapids. That's what we are talking about. This little construction boom we've had has almost crippled our infrastructure already. The highway is backed up to 44th street driving into downtown some mornings. Amazon is ginning up excitement of a new Amazon headquarters, for various reasons. You could say they are jealous of the press Apple is getting with their new headquarters. Their use of the bid process is just the kind of way to keep the negative eyes off them and the positive ones on them. Free, wide coverage, positive publicity.  Hmm... I wonder why a large corporation that is said to be killing jobs needs a counter story circulating? This sounds more like a ploy from Amazon to propagate that they are not killing traditional jobs. Nothing does that more than moving jobs around on a map.  I'm a huge Amazon Fan. I exclusively buy items on Amazon to the point of absurdity. I also think Grand Rapids is a good candidate, if there is one, for this ridiculous plan. But let's call a spade a spade. This is a political move more than anything. The degree to which a city must bend over backwards to accommodate this plan is ridiculous.  This kind of deal requires a complete infrastructure overhaul throughout the entire city. New highways, larger roads, an expedited process for developers to develop. None of this Historic Preservation Bullcrap. Just because gram gram use to live in that apartment doesn't make it historic. It makes it old. Amazon is not looking to do business in a city that can't rebuild. Our city leaders are not up to the task to make any such tough decisions. When was the last large infrastructure project? M6? and before that: The S-Curve? I don't think throwing bikes in people's faces in winter is going to change things. And when you understand why trolleys were historically thrown to the curb in favor of more comfortable, flexible, cheaper, faster buses, you won't be making progress on that front either. I personally think that if any city is going to be a leader in accommodating an influx of development and jobs to this degree in this age, they have to be at the forefront of accommodating for autonomous driving technology. Namely infrastructure and regulation that aids and assists this technology. We shouldn't be bidding for Amazon, we should be trying to work with companies working on autonomous driving technology. If Amazon is the Girl, then supportive autonomous driving infrastructure are the flowers. If we are talking about 50,000 people who are probably all geeks drooling over those Tesla cars anyways, we'd have a huge population prepared to utilize said infrastructure. If there is any strategy to acquire this deal, it's this.

 

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