Keller @ Large: Is Amazon Good For Boston?

BOSTON (CBS) — Amazon has apparently become too big for its high-rise corporate headquarters in downtown Seattle. And so the tech giant has posted an online (of course) request for proposals from cities around the country and in Canada to host a second beehive.

From Sacramento to St. Louis to Chicago and beyond, city leaders are drooling at the prospect of landing the new Amazon HQ,  and with good reason.

The company plans to spend $5 billion in contruction costs on an eight million square-foot facility, creating 50,000 new full-time jobs, at good wages too, an eventual average salary of $100,000 a year.

But while mayors like Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel are already lobbying Amazon guru Jeff Bezos, Boston’s response has been more restrained.

amazon hq Keller @ Large: Is Amazon Good For Boston?

Amazon HQ. (WBZ-TV)

“We’re not going to get into a bidding war with another city for something like this,” says Mayor Marty Walsh, fresh off his highly-touted courtship of General Electric’s corporate HQ.  “I think it has to be: is Boston the right fit for Amazon and is Amazon the right fit for Boston?”

Mark that down as a rare area of agreement between Walsh and his best-known mayoral challenger, City Councilor Tito Jackson: “We should be thoughtful and see if this actually fits us. They’re looking for eight million square feet, that’s the whole Seaport.”

And if that seems too cautious, consider how Seattle has come to feel about hosting the original Amazon HQ.

“I think Amazon has been viewed in part by city leaders and a lot of people in the community as a bit of an annoyance,” says Todd Bishop, editor of Seattle’s Geekwire.com. “You know, you’ve got this monster in your midst.”

Seattle’s complaints include traffic congestion and sharp upward pressure on housing prices from those thousands of well-paid new workers, two problems Boston already struggles with. So while other cities eagerly chase the Amazon goose and its golden eggs, don’t be surprised to see Boston decide it’s too much of a good thing.

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