GRLaker

Amazon looking for a city to put HQ2

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17 hours ago, crinzema said:

Look who's already wooing Amazon into town. 

 

That's a cool video. Detroit has really upped their marketing game lately, hammering away with images of diversity. In the 2nd still of the video it's shot from this vantage point, from the Linwood Ave area.  I recognized that tall building to the right that's on West Grand Blvd.

59d0f5b964f5e_Detroitneighborhood.thumb.jpg.c8da946548ede21534f4d3a1d17eea55.jpg

 

Unfortunately it's one of Detroit's neighborhoods that hasn't been completely abandoned, like about 75% of the city. But it still looks like this at ground level:

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3697738,-83.1062515,3a,75y,174.64h,86.49t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1soi9dmnn7-YPKgckAL0IvaA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Here's that tower on W Grand today:

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3597935,-83.1017088,3a,60y,195.01h,108.5t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1slwHGM9o2py1iffY3taWORg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

I'm sure Amazon won't make a site visit to see where all of its future employees and their families might live... Nice try though Detroit. They're certainly building pride for a long hard slog ahead. 

 

 

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https://mibiz.com/item/25156-guest-column-—-an-open-letter-to-jeff-bezos-amazon-needs-grand-rapids

Dear Jeff,

Greetings from beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan!

As one digital space CEO to another, I am writing to share one of the best decisions I ever made with regard to the health and success of my business. I share this insight in hopes that it might help Amazon attain the next level of success on its continuing march toward its fullest evolution.

Of course, it seems that a lot of folks are writing you letters these days.

Ever since you announced Amazon’s search for the home of its much anticipated HQ2, there has been no shortage of pleas for your attention. And while the major metropolitan hubs have had the luxury of feigning apathy, sure that their names will make the short list, it has been the calls from the “second-tier” targets that have been of interest to me.

Eager to show their competitiveness, they have generally begun with a litany of economic advantages and differentiators, but often seem to pivot toward iterations of economic struggles and poor civic planning that could be remedied, seemingly, if only Amazon would come to town.

This is not that type of letter.

You see, I do not believe Grand Rapids needs Amazon.

But I do believe that Amazon needs Grand Rapids.

Twenty years ago, I realized that there was an unaddressed opportunity in the burgeoning digital space and I left the comfort of my more traditional career path to focus on building something that others couldn’t yet fathom.

Sound familiar?

Looking back, I understand that one of the best decisions I made in that process was choosing the location of my company’s headquarters. In fact, I’d say that the selection of Grand Rapids — and giving myself access to the people and talent of this wonderful city — was more of a blessing than I could possibly have understood at the time.

I am continually amazed by the degree to which this city seems to simultaneously draw from, reflect and amplify the energy of its people. Perhaps nowhere else is the almost cliché concept of “Midwestern values” more palpable. Outgoing, positive and friendly, Grand Rapidians exude a “can do” spirit and embrace of life that is both empowering and contagious.  

Living and raising a family among these unique people has convinced me of the power of a community to will itself toward greatness. I have watched this synergistic energy guide and lift my business, the lives and destinies of so many I have come to care for, and the arc overall of the city itself.

And the Grand Rapids area only continues to grow and thrive.

Our business, community and cultural leaders are among the most collaborative you’ll ever see in a mid-sized city. As a community, we are taking early, vital steps to bridge the opportunity gap that so many urban communities face. Our schools are in the midst of a major transformation plan that is already showing incredible results. We have research, medical, manufacturing, technology and education sectors that are rapidly expanding.

In any competition (in this case, for your attention), recognition and awards are often the measure of success. And, while the people of Grand Rapids, Michigan rarely seek this kind of outward acclaim, there are times when a growing din of applause from objective observers simply cannot be ignored.

In the last year, Grand Rapids has seen an almost embarrassment of riches when it comes to those lists that compare cities on any number of bases. Although most city residents would balk at my using these recognitions as boasting points in this open and public communication, I believe that they stand as the appropriate testament to help prove my point to you — that you could make no better choice for the future of your own company than to select Grand Rapids as the home of your new corporate headquarters:

Grand Rapids is consistently at or near the top of Forbes’ annual list of Best Places to Raise a Family, taking the No. 1 position just this year.

This year, U.S. News & World Report listed Grand Rapids among the 20 Best Places to Live in America, citing (in addition to other factors) an exceptional quality of life, a burgeoning job market and net migration, a “booming” health care industry and “incredibly active” neighborhood associations.

Also this year, Matador Network, a social network for travelers, named Grand Rapids one of the Best College Towns in America.

In July, Headlight Data named Grand Rapids the Fastest Growing Large Metro Economy of 2016.

Outside Magazine named Grand Rapids as one of the 25 Best Towns of 2017 and The Best River Town in America, concluding: “To have quality rafting, kayaking, fishing in an urban area, having it running right through downtown is not something many cities have.”

In a true testament to the core values of our citizenry, Expedia named Grand Rapids as “One of 20 of the Greenest Cities in the Nation.”

In summing up, Jeff, my own plea to you is NOT that you ride into Grand Rapids as a savior, delivering a new chance to a deserving city — but rather that you take a moment and consider bringing your corporate headquarters here to give your well-documented vision for the company’s future the best possible chance of becoming a reality.

To this end, I would very much welcome hosting you in a visit. I would be thrilled to introduce you to many of the city’s corporate and civic leaders and to have you come spend time at our own corporate headquarters, where you could meet a representative sample of the people that make Grand Rapids the finest place in the country to grow a forward-leaning business.

We could also, of course, avail ourselves in any number of the countless indie breweries that have resulted in perhaps our greatest honor, being named the Nation’s Best Beer Scene by USA Today!

Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I Iook forward to your visit.

Very best regards,

Scott Brew

Adtegrity

Edited by localtalent
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30 minutes ago, localtalent said:

https://mibiz.com/item/25156-guest-column-—-an-open-letter-to-jeff-bezos-amazon-needs-grand-rapids

Dear Jeff,

Greetings from beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan!

As one digital space CEO to another, I am writing to share one of the best decisions I ever made with regard to the health and success of my business. I share this insight in hopes that it might help Amazon attain the next level of success on its continuing march toward its fullest evolution.

Of course, it seems that a lot of folks are writing you letters these days.

Ever since you announced Amazon’s search for the home of its much anticipated HQ2, there has been no shortage of pleas for your attention. And while the major metropolitan hubs have had the luxury of feigning apathy, sure that their names will make the short list, it has been the calls from the “second-tier” targets that have been of interest to me.

Eager to show their competitiveness, they have generally begun with a litany of economic advantages and differentiators, but often seem to pivot toward iterations of economic struggles and poor civic planning that could be remedied, seemingly, if only Amazon would come to town.

This is not that type of letter.

You see, I do not believe Grand Rapids needs Amazon.

But I do believe that Amazon needs Grand Rapids.

Twenty years ago, I realized that there was an unaddressed opportunity in the burgeoning digital space and I left the comfort of my more traditional career path to focus on building something that others couldn’t yet fathom.

Sound familiar?

Looking back, I understand that one of the best decisions I made in that process was choosing the location of my company’s headquarters. In fact, I’d say that the selection of Grand Rapids — and giving myself access to the people and talent of this wonderful city — was more of a blessing than I could possibly have understood at the time.

I am continually amazed by the degree to which this city seems to simultaneously draw from, reflect and amplify the energy of its people. Perhaps nowhere else is the almost cliché concept of “Midwestern values” more palpable. Outgoing, positive and friendly, Grand Rapidians exude a “can do” spirit and embrace of life that is both empowering and contagious.  

Living and raising a family among these unique people has convinced me of the power of a community to will itself toward greatness. I have watched this synergistic energy guide and lift my business, the lives and destinies of so many I have come to care for, and the arc overall of the city itself.

And the Grand Rapids area only continues to grow and thrive.

Our business, community and cultural leaders are among the most collaborative you’ll ever see in a mid-sized city. As a community, we are taking early, vital steps to bridge the opportunity gap that so many urban communities face. Our schools are in the midst of a major transformation plan that is already showing incredible results. We have research, medical, manufacturing, technology and education sectors that are rapidly expanding.

In any competition (in this case, for your attention), recognition and awards are often the measure of success. And, while the people of Grand Rapids, Michigan rarely seek this kind of outward acclaim, there are times when a growing din of applause from objective observers simply cannot be ignored.

In the last year, Grand Rapids has seen an almost embarrassment of riches when it comes to those lists that compare cities on any number of bases. Although most city residents would balk at my using these recognitions as boasting points in this open and public communication, I believe that they stand as the appropriate testament to help prove my point to you — that you could make no better choice for the future of your own company than to select Grand Rapids as the home of your new corporate headquarters:

Grand Rapids is consistently at or near the top of Forbes’ annual list of Best Places to Raise a Family, taking the No. 1 position just this year.

This year, U.S. News & World Report listed Grand Rapids among the 20 Best Places to Live in America, citing (in addition to other factors) an exceptional quality of life, a burgeoning job market and net migration, a “booming” health care industry and “incredibly active” neighborhood associations.

Also this year, Matador Network, a social network for travelers, named Grand Rapids one of the Best College Towns in America.

In July, Headlight Data named Grand Rapids the Fastest Growing Large Metro Economy of 2016.

Outside Magazine named Grand Rapids as one of the 25 Best Towns of 2017 and The Best River Town in America, concluding: “To have quality rafting, kayaking, fishing in an urban area, having it running right through downtown is not something many cities have.”

In a true testament to the core values of our citizenry, Expedia named Grand Rapids as “One of 20 of the Greenest Cities in the Nation.”

In summing up, Jeff, my own plea to you is NOT that you ride into Grand Rapids as a savior, delivering a new chance to a deserving city — but rather that you take a moment and consider bringing your corporate headquarters here to give your well-documented vision for the company’s future the best possible chance of becoming a reality.

To this end, I would very much welcome hosting you in a visit. I would be thrilled to introduce you to many of the city’s corporate and civic leaders and to have you come spend time at our own corporate headquarters, where you could meet a representative sample of the people that make Grand Rapids the finest place in the country to grow a forward-leaning business.

We could also, of course, avail ourselves in any number of the countless indie breweries that have resulted in perhaps our greatest honor, being named the Nation’s Best Beer Scene by USA Today!

Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I Iook forward to your visit.

Very best regards,

Scott Brew

Adtegrity

I saw that, well said. 

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10 hours ago, GRLaker said:

Glad this got posted, too. Emily has some great perspective on this.

She also runs a kick ass firm.

Still waiting for any ‘official’ effort to move the needle on this. Even if it’s just to grab some positive attention for other relocation candidates...

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Grand Rapids is not going to get an Amazon headquarters.  we do not have the infrastructure required.  IE. available housing and public transportation.  We do not have a pool of workers for them to draw from.  Market is too small.  They've made it clear that the location needs to have adequate transportation options.  they are not going to bring 50,000 people to a city with no mass transit and nowhere to live.   Half our Metro area wants to do away with our existing buses and not fund the barely there system we have today. 

This would also require a massive financial commitment (probably billions) and giveaways by State and Local politicians.  Will the large companies headquartered here really allow their politicians in Lansing to do that?  They'd be ceding power to an eventual major player in Lansing, possibly a direct competitor!!

Not gonna happen!

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I certainly don't want to see the state/city commit the insane amount of money & tax breaks that will be required to win this.  That being said, I agree with previous posts on why putting in a good-faith effort to attract Amazon is still worth it, despite the impossible odds of actually getting them.  Great columns, @localtalent and Ms. Richett.

On another note, I've noticed in the past 24 hours MLive has run multiple articles about how the airport is growing.  Does this have anything to do with Amazon...?

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/10/why_one_west_michigan_airport.html

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/10/popular_destinations_from_west.html

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/10/the_billionaire_that_put_grand.html#incart_river_home

Edited by RegalTDP

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 That's great that some homers are writting nice letters to Amazon, but it really doesn't do much unless it comes from credible sources that are not biased and not local

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3 hours ago, scottythe1nonly said:

Grand Rapids is not going to get an Amazon headquarters.  we do not have the infrastructure required.  IE. available housing and public transportation.  We do not have a pool of workers for them to draw from.  Market is too small.  They've made it clear that the location needs to have adequate transportation options.  they are not going to bring 50,000 people to a city with no mass transit and nowhere to live.   Half our Metro area wants to do away with our existing buses and not fund the barely there system we have today. 

This would also require a massive financial commitment (probably billions) and giveaways by State and Local politicians.  Will the large companies headquartered here really allow their politicians in Lansing to do that?  They'd be ceding power to an eventual major player in Lansing, possibly a direct competitor!!

Not gonna happen!

While the goal is to lure Amazon, the residual effects of getting Grand Rapids on people's radar is huge. Even if it's a long shot (which I agree, it is), does that mean we shouldn't swing for the fences? Seems like an odd view for a forum focused on growth and development  in Grand Rapids (kind of seems like our sweet spot to me :)).

Joe

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56 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

While the goal is to lure Amazon, the residual effects of getting Grand Rapids on people's radar is huge. Even if it's a long shot (which I agree, it is), does that mean we shouldn't swing for the fences? Seems like an odd view for a forum focused on growth and development  in Grand Rapids (kind of seems like our sweet spot to me :)).

Joe

Agreed.

Also I feel like it should be pointed out that any tax breaks and incentives provided to lure them here would be paid for many times over in the revenue brought in from the economic impact and jobs, spinoff jobs ect.  Lest we should forget that not collecting taxes from a company lured here, is no different than the taxes not collected at all because they already aren't here.  Except the former comes with revenues from income taxes and other developments, where as the latter represents no change in revenue.  I know there is a political and a fairness component that needs to be evaluated, but I don't see how at least trying for the pie in the sky is a bad thing. 

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1 hour ago, MJLO said:

Agreed.

Also I feel like it should be pointed out that any tax breaks and incentives provided to lure them here would be paid for many times over in the revenue brought in from the economic impact and jobs, spinoff jobs ect.  Lest we should forget that not collecting taxes from a company lured here, is no different than the taxes not collected at all because they already aren't here. 

Unfortunately, the economic incentives that are often offered in this race to the bottom are not "revenue neutral".  There is often an actual outflow of real money which is used as an inducement.  That money often takes years to recover, and often never is.  Companies have been known to close up shop or move elsewhere before the fully amortized costs of attracting the company have been recovered.  Perhaps it should come as no shock that a large company did poorly in a place that acted so foolishly.  

If Amazon is smart, they would evaluate which municipalities are willing to offer a completely insane level of incentives, and run the other direction.  Odds are, Amazon has a better internal calculator of the cost to "acquire" them than the cities attempting to attract them do.  If someone is foolish enough to sell their soul and financial future to you just to get you to buy their product, is it really a product you should want to buy?  

Edited by x99
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20 hours ago, localtalent said:

Glad this got posted, too. Emily has some great perspective on this.

She also runs a kick ass firm.

Still waiting for any ‘official’ effort to move the needle on this. Even if it’s just to grab some positive attention for other relocation candidates...

Doug Small in Emily Richett's article/editorial makes it sound like there's a team Grand Rapids working on this. Time is ticking though. I think we'll see something and I can imagine it might ruffle a lot of feathers in town in GR didn't do ANYTHING For this. 

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4 hours ago, MJLO said:

Agreed.

Also I feel like it should be pointed out that any tax breaks and incentives provided to lure them here would be paid for many times over in the revenue brought in from the economic impact and jobs, spinoff jobs ect.  Lest we should forget that not collecting taxes from a company lured here, is no different than the taxes not collected at all because they already aren't here.  Except the former comes with revenues from income taxes and other developments, where as the latter represents no change in revenue.  I know there is a political and a fairness component that needs to be evaluated, but I don't see how at least trying for the pie in the sky is a bad thing. 

and tax breaks to billionaires create jobs?  

Nope

Our schools and infrastructure have been bancrupted by that way of thinking.  Where is all the revenue windfall from the tax breaks granted by the State over the past 20 years?  

It should not be the job of government to fund the buisness of billionaires.  If anything companies like Amazon should be paying much much more DIRECTLY in taxes because they benefit so much more from the infrastructure, economy and human capitol that our country provides them.  c

Edited by scottythe1nonly
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'Idealism is like a castle in the air if it is not based on a solid foundation of social and political realism.'
- Claude McKay

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16 hours ago, scottythe1nonly said:

and tax breaks to billionaires create jobs?  

Nope

Our schools and infrastructure have been bancrupted by that way of thinking.  Where is all the revenue windfall from the tax breaks granted by the State over the past 20 years?  

It should not be the job of government to fund the buisness of billionaires.  If anything companies like Amazon should be paying much much more DIRECTLY in taxes because they benefit so much more from the infrastructure, economy and human capitol that our country provides them.  c

Bezos just needs to spread some cash around the Michigan legislature and he can get a sweetheart deal written for him just like Dan Gilbert did...

https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/how-dan-gilbert-just-scored-up-to-1-billion-in-taxpayer-money-and-few-noticed/Content?oid=5981552&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Issue: 2017-10-05 Construction Dive Newsletter [issue:12294]&utm_term=Construction Dive

 

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On 10/5/2017 at 8:59 AM, scottythe1nonly said:

Grand Rapids is not going to get an Amazon headquarters.  we do not have the infrastructure required.  IE. available housing and public transportation.  We do not have a pool of workers for them to draw from.  Market is too small.  They've made it clear that the location needs to have adequate transportation options.  they are not going to bring 50,000 people to a city with no mass transit and nowhere to live.   Half our Metro area wants to do away with our existing buses and not fund the barely there system we have today. 

This would also require a massive financial commitment (probably billions) and giveaways by State and Local politicians.  Will the large companies headquartered here really allow their politicians in Lansing to do that?  They'd be ceding power to an eventual major player in Lansing, possibly a direct competitor!!

Not gonna happen!

Agree, I talked to someone in the know and they said the exact thing about GR, no infrastructure, expressways/highways couldn't handle it.  Detroit has a chance though

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if Detroit were to get it would require some massive infrastructure upgrades as well.  Detroit has virtually no public transport.  Their bus system barely services the city.  The highways around the metro area are a congested mess.   

What Detroit has is lots of cheap land and a virtual blank slate.  They also have a very large metro area to draw workers. 

Edited by scottythe1nonly
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22 hours ago, scottythe1nonly said:

if Detroit were to get it would require some massive infrastructure upgrades as well.  Detroit has virtually no public transport.  Their bus system barely services the city.  The highways around the metro area are a congested mess.   

What Detroit has is lots of cheap land and a virtual blank slate.  They also have a very large metro area to draw workers. 

I love Detroit but I think if they were to be considered, they would ask the State for MASSIVE amounts of $subsidies to make it happen, and the State might very well give it to them. Can we afford that? This is a city where almost 50% of residents don't even pay property or city taxes (because they don't have the money) yet they spent $190 Million on a 3.3 mile light rail trolley.  Could it be argued that an Amazon HQ2 would put thousands of impoverished Detroiters back to work? Hrrmmmm

I think like GR, Detroit is best served by getting their name/image out there. 

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27 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

I love Detroit but I think if they were to be considered, they would ask the State for MASSIVE amounts of $subsidies to make it happen, and the State might very well give it to them. Can we afford that? This is a city where almost 50% of residents don't even pay property or city taxes (because they don't have the money) yet they spent $190 Million on a 3.3 mile light rail trolley.  Could it be argued that an Amazon HQ2 would put thousands of impoverished Detroiters back to work? Hrrmmmm

I think like GR, Detroit is best served by getting their name/image out there. 

I doubt that the impoverished of Detroit are the kind of talent that Amazon is looking for. Aside from customer service type roles, Amazon is a knowledge-based employer. Detroit is known for its unskilled labor workforce and isn't exactly a shining beacon of education.  

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29 minutes ago, GRLaker said:

I doubt that the impoverished of Detroit are the kind of talent that Amazon is looking for. Aside from customer service type roles, Amazon is a knowledge-based employer. Detroit is known for its unskilled labor workforce and isn't exactly a shining beacon of education.  

Detroit and Ann Arbor metro areas certainly have a huge workforce of knowledge-based/tech workers, way more than GR.  My point being that  they would try to sell this as putting "Detroit's workforce back to work" and it's not really true.  I'm just jumping 3 steps ahead on this process, if Detroit were to land in the running for this. 

As Scott Brew said in his letter, GR doesn't need Amazon.  But for infrastructure upgrades, they would have to come from the State (and federal dollars). 

 

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Welp, this article sums up why a city like GR should be considering the Amazon bid despite its low odds.  Unfortunately, it's a bit disheartening to read about the creativity already exercised by smaller metros that have their act together because it makes GR's approach appear to be the antithesis of a forward thinking city administration.

The Underdogs Bidding on Amazon's HQ2

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23 hours ago, wingbert said:

Welp, this article sums up why a city like GR should be considering the Amazon bid despite its low odds.  Unfortunately, it's a bit disheartening to read about the creativity already exercised by smaller metros that have their act together because it makes GR's approach appear to be the antithesis of a forward thinking city administration.

The Underdogs Bidding on Amazon's HQ2

LOL.   Hyperbole?

Why should GR leaders waste time on this?    The notion that the city has "the antithesis of a forward thinking city administration" because it's not wasting time, money, energy on this  is just absurd.    

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5 hours ago, scottythe1nonly said:

LOL.   Hyperbole?

Why should GR leaders waste time on this?    The notion that the city has "the antithesis of a forward thinking city administration" because it's not wasting time, money, energy on this  is just absurd.    

I think it's been pretty well established as to why they should go after this, by many here. It might be a somewhat expensive endeavor (other than hours worked on it I don't know) but the city needs to keep throwing its hat in the ring for attention. 

Anyway, moving on. ;) 

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