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spenser1058

Amazon HQ #2 To Orlando?

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 Now that Orlando has confirmed a bid is in the works, I would love to hear more about what people think are desirable and competitive locations for an Amazon HQ in Orlando.

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Giant tower in the empty lot next to Lynx Central station or in Creative Village near the station. 

Edited by dcluley98

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If I was a betting man, I'm place my bets on DC/Northern Virgina.  Austin also seems like an obvious choice, given the recent purchase of Whole Foods and Austin's place in the tech circuit.   However, I think Orlando has a fair shot, but here are the factors to consider:

1.  Amazon, as an international company with large sites all over the globe, will need to be in a US location with the most convenient timezone to align business hours with these sites.  That includes China, India, and the EU, while still being in a convenient timezone for Seattle.  Amazon has already invested billions of dollars in its India operations, so this an important factor.  Being someone who has spent a career coordinating workers spread across these locations, working with both  West Coast and India locations, I can tell you the Central and Mountain time zones are a serious pain in the ass.  If Amazon is smart, they will base these new headquarters on the East Coast.

2.  Which business divisions would Amazon manage from their new location, and which would be managed in Seattle?  Amazon's major business units consist of:

The legacy Amazon retail operation - a typically low margin  business that the Amazon of today grew out of.  Really competes with Wal-Mart, who seems to function fine in Bentonville, through their "tech" operation is located in the Bay Area.  This would likely stay in Seattle, though some of the child sites could be moved to be closer to clusters of suppliers.  

Amazon Web Services - the real "tech" operation for Amazon and their cash cow, which needs highly-skilled computer scientists who are experienced in "cloud" technologies.   Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Northern Virgina, and Atlanta (somewhat)  have lots of those people.  AWS has large data centers in Northern Virginia already (https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/amazon-web-services-data-center/423147/), which boosts Northern Virginia as a candidate location.

Amazon Prime Video - a media company competing with Netflix and Hulu.  This operation needs access to the creative talent who cluster in places like NYC, LA, London, and increasingly Atlanta.  Makes more sense on the East Coast.

Their product division - competes with Apple with the some of most popular products launched in recent years (i.e. Echo/Alexa, Kindle, etc).  This would likely stay in the West Coast for convenience to Chinese suppliers.

If sites are limited to the East Coast, Boston, DC/Baltimore, Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham, Atlanta, Nashville, and Tampa are Orlando's competition.  I'm leaving out Miami, as it has a serious land problem that will make it difficult for Amazon to pull together a site for a large campus.  Could Orlando provide the infrastructure for the media executives and cloud engineers that would work out of the second HQ?  Another very big question: would these people want to live in Orlando?  One of the problems with "Hollywood East" in the 1990's was the challenge of attracting media talent to locate to Orlando.  I still know a lot of people who worked for Nickelodeon and Disney who moved on very quickly to LA and NYC for the sake of their careers.  Orlando needs to address that, and learn from its lessons from the "Hollywood East" failure if Amazon Prime Video could operated effectively from Orlando.  

I do have to say, watching Buddy Dyer and Teresa Jacobs effectively coordinate over the years to pull off big projects has been impressive.  They need to continue that coordination by fixing the looming Sunrail fiscal problem and getting the airport link built, if they're going to have a short at Amazon.  They will also need to give away the remaining plots in the Creative Village as part of any relocation incentive package, at that strikes me as the most attractive location in the Orlando area for a large corporate campus.

Edited by jliv
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Sand Lake and Orange.

- build off of SunRail station for employee housing adjacent to worksite as well as employees around region

- Proximity to OIA and Freight rail

- able to assemble a acreage that  meets requirements 

- Future rail transit improvements in planning (to OIA) or in discussion (to I Drive)

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I think its Atlanta or DC area.  Let's says that Orlando has a shot. I think the best we have is Creative Village. Problem is there is  no mass transit stop there. I think you need a streetcar concept at the very least connecting it to DT and light rail out to OIA . CV has a clean slate concept for Amazon but there needs to be rail and streetcars in the works. For some crazy reason I think Tavistock has the balls to lure them out to LN

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They said they are going to an urban area so CV is about all we have. It has the space and the education component but unless we basically re-do the transit system around this project the odds are very very slim.

UCF has won the last like 5 national championships in cyber defense over all the big name tech schools. That kind of talent is highly sought after and UCF I'm sure would move their CS and maybe some engineering downtown if this deal were to go through. Would be cool for everyone.

Edited by popsiclebrandon
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I think we sell them on the Creative Village with the ability to run the entirety of Amelia into an "Amazon" corridor.  There's already open land at CV.  There's the empty space next to Central Station (also hello transit).  Those are your two "shovel-ready" sites.  Then long term, add in the Sentinel property, and assumably Southeast Steel could be bought out.  It's a little sprawly, but suddenly tons of space, and activates the connection between CV and Downtown.

The other idea is the industrial area on Division behind SoDo.

Edited by AndyPok1

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24 minutes ago, AndyPok1 said:

I think we sell them on the Creative Village with the ability to run the entirety of Amelia into an "Amazon" corridor.  There's already open land at CV.  There's the empty space next to Central Station (also hello transit).  Those are your two "shovel-ready" sites.  Then long term, add in the Sentinel property, and assumably Southeast Steel could be bought out.  It's a little sprawly, but suddenly tons of space, and activates the connection between CV and Downtown.

The other idea is the industrial area on Division behind SoDo.

Eeeeek! I'm good with everything but Southeast Steel. That's an institution! (Fun Fact: it was also one of the first Scotty's home improvement stores, a local version of Home Depot, if you remember those.)

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I like the idea of it being in Creative Village. Is the city still planning on making a linear park from Lake Dot to the UCF campus? I'd think it be a great place for Amazon - proximity to I-4, Lynx Central Station, Lymmo, Downtown UCF, and a potential new park that can serve as a major pedestrian corridor flanked by educational and tech institutions on both sides. If Orange Blossom Express ever happens that would be great too for commuting employees.

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31 minutes ago, spenser1058 said:

Eeeeek! I'm good with everything but Southeast Steel. That's an institution! (Fun Fact: it was also one of the first Scotty's home improvement stores, a local version of Home Depot, if you remember those.)

Yeah I'm torn. I like that it's there, but depending on what FDOT does with the corner of Garland and Amelia, It may be neccessary to truly activate that street.  I wish there was an easy way to have a pedestrian cap over I-4 there, but it isn't feasible there.  That's the issue of my whole idea, crossing I-4 at Amelia is a crapshow at best.

 

amelia_ultimate.PNG

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8 hours ago, orlandouprise said:

 I think the best we have is Creative Village. Problem is there is  no mass transit stop there. I think you need a streetcar concept at the very least connecting it to DT 

As much as our transit is lacking,  I disagree with the above 100%.   Transit doesn't have to be door to door to door like when you go from house to car to work to be great.   If Amazon had that requirement then they would just build in the burbs.

CV is walkable to LCS/SuNRail even in August.    The Lymmo Lime Line also makes that connection if someone can't make the walk. 

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9 hours ago, orlandouprise said:

I think its Atlanta or DC area.  Let's says that Orlando has a shot. I think the best we have is Creative Village. Problem is there is  no mass transit stop there. I think you need a streetcar concept at the very least connecting it to DT and light rail out to OIA . CV has a clean slate concept for Amazon but there needs to be rail and streetcars in the works. For some crazy reason I think Tavistock has the balls to lure them out to LN

Amazon didn't quite say it has to be an urban area, infact, they said urban or suburban with good transit. Most seem to believe they prefer an urban area, but I definitely wouldn't count Tavistock out. They've been able to put together a lot, and the original maglev line was proposed with a connection to Lake Nona, the Airport, Sunrail, and I-Drive. If Amazon is coming to Lake Nona and wants transit, I'd imagine Tavistock and the government will offer to make that original route actually happen. Infact, Amazon's RFP even says that they want the site with an MSA/within 30 miles, but its does not necessarily need to be contiguous. If a transit route between the 2 sites can be proposed and promised to Amazon, they could potentially choose to do both Lake Nona and downtown. Obviously that would be really tough still.

Amazon wants a lot of space. The listed approval for office space in creative village is 1.2 million square feet. Thats only slightly more then the amount Amazon wants shovel ready for its phase 1, but they want triple the amount to be available for their phase 2 and 3. It seems they're saying 100 acres to allow for future phases.. Creative Village as a whole is only 68 acres. And a significant portion of that already taken by UCF and its housing. This proposal has to span more parcels then CV., but it seems extremely likely that CV is a part of the proposal as thats the most shovel ready land we got in one spot, and I'm sure UCF is willing to modify its downtown plans to appease Amazon as well.

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On the flip side, I don't understand this dog and pony show Amazon is putting cities through. Based on what I've heard about Jeff Bezos, I'm pretty sure he already has a city in mind. So what is Amazon really looking for? I found a great column in the LA Times titled "Memo to civic leaders: Don't sell out your cities for Amazon's new headquarters" which highlighted my suspicions:

1) "We acknowledge a Project of this magnitude may require special incentive legislation ... for the state/province to achieve a competitive incentive proposal." -Amazon

2) " Amazon says it’s looking to build on a vacant location served by good transportation and educational infrastructure. But those things don’t normally preexist together in a pristine state. They either emerge organically and symbiotically, or they’re forced into existence. The first process takes time, and the second takes money, and lots of it. Yet Amazon doesn’t want to wait, and it doesn’t want to spend. Its RFP requires communities to submit their responses by Oct. 19, with construction to start in 2019. The company encourages states and localities to “think creatively” about real estate options, but cautions that these creative solutions can’t “negatively affect … our preferred timeline.” "

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What's interesting is that, perhaps more than any other MSA in the country, we know exactly what it's like to go after a mega-project and then watch it happen.

In our case, it didn't involve a few hundred acres but 43 square miles. We also granted the company all the powers of a county. This ain't our first rodeo.

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(Posted this already in the Creative Village thread)

I like the site that Clean the World occupies on Pittman off of Hughey...

cleantheworld.png

Maybe go up about 10 or 12 floors.

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Thanks Andy didn't realize the conversation was already taking place in the coffee house. I actually rode my bike past the Orlando Sentinel property and thought that's probably the best place Orlando has in the downtown area for the Amazon 2nd headquarters.  It stretches from east to west from Magnolia to Orange aves and north to south from Colonial to the Orange court house. I read that Amazon is seeking 8 million sq feet. That's bigger then the pentagon!! Thus to make it work there Amazon will need to build vertical. As much as I like the CV site I don't believe there's enough room. Besides the Orlando Sentinel site is 1 block from Central Station and about 5 blocks from Creative village. Also Orlando will literally need to PROMISE that the link to MCO will happen.

Edited by Urban Mail Carrier
Further thought
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On 9/8/2017 at 11:09 AM, idroveazamboni said:

Here are the cities that match Amazon's wish list for its second headquarters
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/07/here-are-the-cities-that-match-amazons-wish-list-for-its-second-headquarters.html

Two points: 

First, if you watch the video, either CNBC or Amazon makes a statement that if they go to Mexico, they'll "receive political backlash from President Trump."  Seriously?  Are we supposed to feel bad for them if they do and he does? That's just ridiculous.

Second: Atlanta may have us beat.  Chicago is a great choice and Chicago has a strong track record for luring companies downtown in the past twenty or so years.  Downtown Orlando does not.  Creative Village is...a nothing project right now and in the foreseeable future; it's not a magnet of any sort for Amazon to be "lured".  Orlando's best shot is Lake Nona, like it or not.  Burnham, USTA, KPM&G, UF, UCF, VA, Nemours, proximity to OIA and future Brightline station, etc..., and land that could be "donated".

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Welp, Seattle is going to enter the race, because having Amazon HQ #1 doesn't mean you can't have HQ #2 right next door. What a waste of taxpayers money there.

 

I'm curious if the proposals by each municipality will be released. Thats going to be the next biggest clue.  Amazon's document says they should be confidential, but I imagine Sunshine laws should allow them to be public? One things for sure: if Orlando doesn't pony up a LOT of money, it will not be here. And I don't think Orlando will pony up enough, so a public-private partnership is our best shot. My guess for Orlando's proposal is still a 2 campus proposal, part with Tavistock, part downtown. The challenge is transit between the 2. If they could extend the Sunrail airport extension to Lake Nona, and then use the same line going west on the OBE route, it really would massively improve connectivity in the area.

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No matter which site Orlando suggests, it all depends on connectivity with Sunrail. We are heading in the right direction unfortunately not fast enough.  We just don't quite have all of our ducks in a row.

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On 9/16/2017 at 10:40 PM, spenser1058 said:

What's interesting is that, perhaps more than any other MSA in the country, we know exactly what it's like to go after a mega-project and then watch it happen.

In our case, it didn't involve a few hundred acres but 43 square miles. We also granted the company all the powers of a county. This ain't our first rodeo.

this reminds me of the JetBlue HQ proposal, and, in the end, it was just a tactic to get NYC to pony up more money.  Here, it would mean that they have a preferred location they want to go in already.   It's the whole bidding war thing to see just how much you can get from the ultimate bid. 

Edited by jrs2
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18 hours ago, aent said:

My guess for Orlando's proposal is still a 2 campus proposal, part with Tavistock, part downtown. 

I was thinking a two-campus setup, too, but maybe CV and Orlando Sentinel site? Both connected by Lymmo, walking distance to SunRail. CV is 68 acres total and Orlando Sentinel is 18 acres. Although 8 million sq ft would be a tight fit...or an insane amount of density. 

But I won't get my hopes up. Either we won't get it (most likely scenario) or it'll go to the burbs, where it'll do nothing to further Orlando as a city.

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You would have to think that CV is where Orlando will be proposing this. The whole point of CV was to have something like this. With UCF Downtown being there, I do think it gives it an interesting "edge". You have a DIRECT pipeline to incoming talent. UCF could move certain programs there to help feed into Amazon's needs. 

I also guarantee you that the proposal will include upgraded transportation methods if Amazon were to choose to move there. Almost any city is going to promise building/providing more than they already have due to the economic benefits they would get from having them there. 

Regardless, I hope CV does "take-off". It would be pretty cool to have a "2 core" downtown on each side of I-4. 

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12 hours ago, alex said:

I was thinking a two-campus setup, too, but maybe CV and Orlando Sentinel site? Both connected by Lymmo, walking distance to SunRail. CV is 68 acres total and Orlando Sentinel is 18 acres. Although 8 million sq ft would be a tight fit...or an insane amount of density. 

But I won't get my hopes up. Either we won't get it (most likely scenario) or it'll go to the burbs, where it'll do nothing to further Orlando as a city.

If it goes to the burbs, it will still bring a lot more tech interest to Orlando, including downtown. While it won't be the same as having it downtown, don't underestimate its impact.

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