Boston’s Amazon HQ2 Fantasies Take Off
By Gabrielle Gurley | Jan 11, 2018
Who needs one million square feet of office space in Boston’s Seaport District? Amazon might. The Boston Globe reported Thursday that real-estate industry executives “with knowledge of the talks” dished that Amazon is in the market for one, maybe two office buildings in the bustling and picturesque waterfront neighborhood. (The Boston Business Journal first reported the story Tuesday.)
This latest revelation has set tongues wagging that “the Hub” (a Boston nickname, short for “Hub of the Universe”—yes, seriously) had moved to the front of the pack of more than 200 U.S. cities looking to land “HQ2,” Amazon’s much-discussed second headquarters—even though Amazon had already been in the hunt for more office space (the company has about 1,000 employees in metro Boston) long before company officials announced the new headquarters search.
Predictably, Amazon had nothing to say to the Globe. The company plans to make a decision on an additional Boston site at about the same time that it announces its short list of finalists for its new headquarters. The much-vaunted new HQ would employ about 50,000 people.
Massachusetts officials are salivating over the possibility of adding Amazon to its roster of corporate catches. General Electric has already decided to move its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Boston.
City officials have also proposed another location, a former race track in an eastern section of the city. The race track would be better able to provde the 8 million square feet that the company says it needs for a new campus. But emails obtained by the Associated Press indicate that state officials are trying to “pitch the whole state” as a potential site.
A whole-state strategy might be a more attractive option. Massachusetts prides itself on its highly educated workforce and its standing as home to dozens of other technology innovators.
That pitch has the virtue of glossing over some Boston negatives. The Seaport flooded in jaw-dropping fashion during a recent nor’easter. (Also known locally as the “Innovation District,” some locals refer to the area as the “Inundation District.”) Area residents fear that an HQ2 victory would drive up the metro region’s already astronomical housing prices and saddle new workers with a notoriously poor transportation system:
I hear this a lot—people driven away from living/staying in Boston because the @mbta is so unreliable. And @marty_walsh @MassGovernor think they can make @Amazon want to come here?!? Big part of why Boston can’t retain all the talent that comes here for college. https://t.co/iI2PwdUEQ5
— FixTheMBTAnow (@FixTheMBTAnow) January 10, 2018