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spenser1058

Amazon HQ #2 To Orlando?

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Every single city should be putting together a bid.  That is an economic game changer.  50k employees would instantly add billions in new construction and other investment to downtown. Orlando leaders would be derelict to not make a serious run at this. Amazon is very anti-union so I could see them going to the sunbelt region with this. 

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It's interesting to ponder where we would suggest placement of such a large undertaking. FWIU, Amazon has resurrected several previously moribund sections of Seattle.

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This is going to be interesting to see where the area's bid targets (assuming we're doing one.) If Tavistock is a part and dominates what we bid, I think we'll learn a lot about our priorities moving forward. After all, since Nona is in the city limits, Orlando benefits from a fiscal perspective either way. The OEP doesn't much care, either, since they promote for the region.

Edited by spenser1058
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One other thing I found interesting: if you read the comments in the NYT story (the Times monitors their comments so they tend to be reasonably intelligent), it's amazing that (as of midafternoon), of all the cities suggested, none were in Florida. Apparently, the "you don't know the half of it" ad campaign is speaking to a real need when it comes to taking Florida seriously as a business location.

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If Orlando leaders are serious about this, the implications to mass transit growth could be astronomical.  That would please me to no end.

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Brookings delves into more of the intangibles that Amazon may consider:

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/09/08/which-cities-are-well-positioned-to-land-amazons-hq2/amp/

Things Orlando can promote that could be attractive which might have been overlooked in each analysis so far:

(1) No one would confuse UCF with Harvard for the quality of its liberal arts education but when it comes to STEM (particularly computer science), UCF is often top notch. The school often ranks near the top in computer science competitions and its freshman class often includes an amazingly high concentration of merit scholarship and an average GPA of 4.05. Perhaps even more interesting to Amazon is the fact that, as a relatively young school, the company could mold curriculum needs with relative ease;

(2) OIA is one of the nation's most user-friendly airports and that is only going to get better with the expansion underway;

(3) Never underestimate sunshine: the quality of life Florida offers in the outdoors almost year-round is hard to beat (a big reason IBM did a similar move of its once huge PC division to Boca). Meanwhile,  Orlando's cultural and sporting amenities continue to improve every year;

(4) Techies tend to be socially liberal but abhor regulation; Orlando specifically hits the former out of the park while Florida tends to do well on the latter.

(5) People keep throwing out Austin because of Whole Foods and DC where Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just bought a house (supposedly because it's convenient to the Washington Post which he owns.) If we're going to that micro level, let's not forget Jeff also owns Blue Origins, one of the rising players in the space business. BO is building facilities as we speak over at the Cape.

 

 

 

 

Edited by spenser1058

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Amazon specifically addresses a desire for an urban campus.  Creative Village or Parramore come to mind as potential locations.  Amazon is no stranger to moving into less desirable areas and therefore any bid by Orlando needs to include the urban element.

Lake Nona would be a dead-in-the-water proposal. Anyway, has there been any word from Orlando's leaders that a proposal is in the works?

They say "timing is everything" and as the rest of Florida's major cities who would be in contention for this are preoccupied by Irma, Orlando could push through a proposal. Let's remember, Amazon is giving six short weeks for cities to produce a bid.

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I generally refrain from participating in these types of discussions, as I tend to find their speculative nature on the silly side (i.e. the somewhat frequent topic of Orlando should host the Olympics, etc.). But when I read Amazon was seeking a second HQ, I immediately thought Orlando could have a legitimate shot. As has been mentioned by other posters, our airport is great, UCF is certainly respectable with regards to its computer science related programs, and our highway network and connectivity to the rest of the state and southeast are superior. To me, it would also seem natural to locate the 2nd HQ on the east coast to complement their Seattle presence. That said, it is somewhat concerning that a frequent complaint among the local tech-entrepreneurial community is the difficulty in locating and/or keeping talent in the area. I also have little faith in our local leadership to put together a persuasive submission that differentiates Orlando from other cities beyond the usual "selling points" (airport, convention center, No. 1 tourist destination, et al).  Lack of effective transportation from downtown to the airport is probably a big strike against us, as well.

In all honesty, I would not be surprised if Jacksonville becomes a legitimate contender. Amazon has already made major investments there with two fulfillment centers, reportedly a third one on the way, and a delivery station. They have an efficient airport, similarly good access to major roadway networks. Locally, their university is not as strong in terms of UNF vs. UCF. Though Jax is just an 1.5 hours and 2.5 hours from Gainseville and Tallahassee, respectively. Would love to see Amazon come to Orlando, but it would be great if they end up in Florida if it's not here. 

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The biggest problem with Jacksonville at the moment is an ongoing set of internecine battles over diversity on the City Council. If NC is discounted for that reason (even though Charlotte and the Research Triangle cities are good on working toward inclusiveness), Jax is going to have a problem. Jacksonville International Airport also leaves a lot to be desired at this point.

More's the pity as I lived in Jacksonville/Orange Park (OPHS grad - Go Raiders!) for 4 years and the restoration work in Riverside/Avondale, San Marco and Springfield offer nationally recognized models.

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2 hours ago, prahaboheme said:

Amazon specifically addresses a desire for an urban campus.  Creative Village or Parramore come to mind as potential locations.  Amazon is no stranger to moving into less desirable areas and therefore any bid by Orlando needs to include the urban element.

Lake Nona would be a dead-in-the-water proposal. Anyway, has there been any word from Orlando's leaders that a proposal is in the works?

They say "timing is everything" and as the rest of Florida's major cities who would be in contention for this are preoccupied by Irma, Orlando could push through a proposal. Let's remember, Amazon is giving six short weeks for cities to produce a bid.

The incredibly short timeline on this seems unprecedented to me, particularly for such a large-scale project.  The Orlando region has stepped up before to coordinate for projects (the competition for the FAMU law school, USTA and the various Medical City projects, and reaching back even further, attracting Martin and WDW just to name a few.)

Either Bezos already has a city in mind or this is some sort of a trial balloon, imho. I have noticed the areas immediately responding have not been ones dealing with natural disasters at the moment.

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I think Baltimore edges out Jacksonville in almost every category and is rumored to be pushing through a bid. Moreover, they already have an example with Under Armour of how business can positivity impact the surrounding community.

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18 minutes ago, spenser1058 said:

The incredibly short timeline on this seems unprecedented to me, particularly for such a large-scale project.  The Orlando region has stepped up before to coordinate for projects (the competition for the FAMU law school, USTA and the various Medical City projects, and reaching back even further, attracting Martin and WDW just to name a few.)

Either Bezos already has a city in mind or this is some sort of a trial balloon, imho. I have noticed the areas immediately responding have not been ones dealing with natural disasters at the moment.

I suspect, given recent events, that Bezos will seek out a purple state for expansion while still setting roots somewhere that favors the corporate culture of Amazon. 

Seems like a pretty good fit.

Edited by prahaboheme
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It seems Orlando is also on the map as a burgeoning training center location. JetBlue and KPMG were already in process and here comes Frontier.

Simulation, of course, has been one of Orlando's fastest growing tech industries since the '80's.

Frontier Airlines adds to Orlando's training center trend


http://bit.ly/2xSnTyH

(From the Sentinel)

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Denver seems like the logical choice, if for no other reason than it's centralized location. 

Smack dab in between both coasts and both borders.

Anything they'd ship from that location is already halfway to it's destination before it even leaves the warehouse.

 

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26 minutes ago, JFW657 said:

Denver seems like the logical choice, if for no other reason than it's centralized location. 

Smack dab in between both coasts and both borders.

Anything they'd ship from that location is already halfway to it's destination before it even leaves the warehouse.

 

But it can't  receive the products from China, and regardless, its not a distribution center they're looking for... its a headquarters with offices, not warehouses. I can't see it being Denver personally. I guess we'll see...

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On 9/10/2017 at 2:53 PM, JFW657 said:

Denver seems like the logical choice, if for no other reason than it's centralized location. 

Smack dab in between both coasts and both borders.

Anything they'd ship from that location is already halfway to it's destination before it even leaves the warehouse.

 

Its basically west coast out there. It isn't as central as you think. Not that any of that matters when we have planes and its not for distribution. Still would imagine they head east and they probably have a place picked unless some city throws so much money at them they have to change their minds.

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It seems like DC metro would the best option.  Specifically, northern va. Before I read any of the analysis, DC was the first city to pop into my head. Raleigh would be a close second. 

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