With news that Internet commerce giant Amazon is unhappy with its home city of Seattle, speculation has intensified that the company’s search for a second headquarters could result in a larger-than-anticipated presence in whatever new location it selects.
Amazon officials have recently expressed their displeasure over a Seattle City Council vote imposing a 26 cents tax per employee for each hour worked at any company earning at least $20 million in annual revenue.
That tax is designed to raise an estimated $47 million per year from Amazon and several other large companies to be spent building affordable housing in Seattle.
Although the company has reaffirmed its plans to build a 17-story office tower in Seattle called Block 18 in the wake of the council vote, it has sounded a note of skepticism regarding its longterm commitment to the city.
Amazon, said Drew Herdener, is “apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.”
In a statement, Herdener, vice-president of Amazon, added: “We are highly uncertain whether the city council’s anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better.”
“In plain English, it’s threatening to leave,” notes Channel News Asia of Amazon’s response.
In the wake of the council vote, Amazon has announced its support of an effort called “No Tax on Jobs,” which is designed to collect signatures calling for a referendum on the council’s decision.
Meanwhile, the reviewing process for where the company will build its $5 billion second headquarters has resulted in Jeff Bezos, the chief executive officer of Amazon, flying to Washington more than any other city on the company’s finalists list, according to a report in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
The publication also noted that Bezos has in recent months flown into the Boulder Municipal Airport, prompting speculation that he remains interested in Denver.
The Mile-High City was named in January by Amazon as one of its twenty finalist cities for the construction of a second headquarters.
Business analyst Josh Enomoto recently suggested that ultimately Denver may get Amazon’s nod, noting: “It’s home to a major international airport, yet getting to it isn’t a nightmare like in L.A. or New York.”
Writing for Yahoo Finance, Enomoto continued: “Denver has a robust housing market and a fairly educated population. Furthermore, it’s getting an influx of people who enjoy its big-small town vibes.”
By Garry Boulard
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