In the middle of a self-declared housing emergency, the San Francisco Bay Area Council has respectfully submitted this bid inviting Amazon to build HQ2 here.
NOoOOoooooOOOOOO!! Why would you do that??
We already have Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Uber, Lyft, Tesla, Twitter, and about 99% of the Russell 2000. Are we trying to make the rest of the country resent us more than they already do? Because I don’t think that’s possible.
Amazon promises to create 50,000 new jobs. We don’t need more jobs! Our unemployment rate is so low, it’s negative. Like, people are commuting from three hours away just to work here. Heck, our unemployment rate is so low, even homeless people have full-time jobs.
(Or maybe our housing situation is so messed up that even full-time workers can’t afford the rent here.)
Here’s an artist’s rendering of the proposed site of HQ2:
The conceptual rendering looks lovely from afar, but if you zoom in to the street level, you might see something like this:
Right. San Francisco’s suggested location for HQ2 is Hunter’s Point, home of the largest homeless population in the city. Maybe Mayor Lee hopes that Amazon will pave right over them?
To be fair, San Francisco isn’t the only site offered in the bid. The Bay Area Council listed all the Northern Arc cities – basically everything connected by BART. Today, the East Bay BART cities represent the last bastion of affordable housing in the Bay. In Concord, a 1.5-hour commute from the city, the average 2-BR apartment rents for just under $2000 a month. Richmond, a mere 75 minutes away, rents two-bedrooms for $2500. Expect these prices to double once Amazon moves in.
I can’t blame the council for this submission, especially if it means Bay Area residents will get their Amazon Prime crap delivered in under an hour. Also, there’s potentially a huge chunk of tax revenue on the line. Who knows how much — it’s large enough that Governor Brown felt justified in offering hundreds of millions in tax breaks to incentivize an Amazon HQ in California.
Although my post is selfishly motivated, I do think that everyone will be better off if Amazon goes elsewhere. There are 237 other bids out there; undoubtedly some other metropolitan area needs the jobs more than we do. Mayor Lee, back off and let Detroit have this one.