Back in September 2017, Amazon announced they would be selecting a new city for their HQ2. Since then, cities have submitted their proposals to Amazon, and in January 2018, Amazon narrowed it down to 20 cities.
First of all, it’s important to remember that Amazon only ever said they were going to hire 40,000-50,000 people in Seattle. Current population is 40,000. We all knew this was coming. Still, Amazon has updated that number as of recently to 55,000 in Seattle. So in the short term there will likely be jostling of Amazon folks leaving and moving to Seattle. But with 15,000 more people to still hire we will not see an issue with employment in the nearterm.
No matter which city they do end up choosing for their new headquarters, it’s going to take a few years just to build their facilities, just like it did in Seattle. It took them several years to build up to 8.1 million square feet of office space in Seattle. Amazon has another 6 million square feet in the works for downtown Seattle. That could indicate an even hire number of new employees then even 55,00o. Based on square footage they could fit 70,000 people in Seattle’s Amazon HQ. We will see.
Once the facility is underway, we’ll probably see a lot of their upper management move to help open the new facilities. Not only will these people be selling their homes to move to H2Q, but Amazon will probably be promoting the people who stay here. These people will make more money and buy new homes, so it’ll be good for the high-end real estate market here.
Amazon will need to hire more people to fill the ranks of the people they just promoted, and we’ll probably see the market of sub-million dollar homes become a bit tight as people compete for them.
And remember, even though Amazon is Seattle’s #4 employer, we have a TON of tech companies here, many of which are building new headquarters here right now. This includes Google (whose list of local job ads is almost never-ending), Expedia (Expedia has plans to hire thousands of people), Facebook (you’ll find over 200 job listings for Seattle), etc. Plus, the biotech industry is about to explode in the U-District.
Seattle’s doing very well because we have a very educated population. Even if Amazon starts hiring fewer people, it’s going to be supplanted or surpassed by other companies.
However, because markets are emotionally driven, at first we’ll see a negative impact on the psyche of people. This might slow the market for awhile as people wait and see what’s going to happen… and then things will return to “normal.” But Amazon will continue to draw other people and companies here; what typically happens is Amazon draws talent to the area, and other companies poach their employees.
Long story short? Amazon’s HQ2 will have an impact on our city, but the ship has sailed and tech is here to stay.