Amazon has been blamed for hurting the USPS -- and now it's moving into an old post office

QuadRealA rendering of Amazon’s new office building in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Amazon is building a large office building at the site of a historic post office in Vancouver, Canada. The redevelopment is expected to bring 3,000 new jobs to the city.
  • In April, US President Donald Trump accused Amazon of financially hurting the US Postal Service.
  • The announcement also comes as Amazon halts expansion plans in Seattle due to a dispute over a local proposed tax that would help alleviate the city’s affordable housing crisis.
  • One of the HQ2 finalists is also proposing that Amazon move into a former post office.

As the competition for Amazon’s second headquarters heats up, the company isn’t waiting around to build more North American offices.

The tech giant will move inside (and on top of) Vancouver’s historic post office by 2023, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday. The project is expected to bring 3,000 new jobs in a variety of sectors, including e-commerce, cloud computing, and machine learning.

The redevelopment will also grow the number of employees Amazon has in Canada from 6,000 to 9,000, with the company’s Vancouver research and development team growing to 5,000 workers total.

The new office complex, called the Post and developed by QuadReal, will give 416,000 square feet to Amazon (roughly 35% of the building). The rest of the redevelopment will include other offices, retail, and a food hall.

The announcement comes amid some controversy. Somewhat coincidentally, last month, US President Donald Trump accused the tech giant of financially hurting the US Postal Service.

Amazon is “costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,” he tweeted on April 3, continuing, “Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!”

Although it’s unclear whether Amazon is directly to blame for USPS’ decline, the service’s revenue has declined by $US5.1 billion in the past decade.

Amazon vancouver PostOfficeInteriorQuadRealA rendering of Amazon’s new office building in Vancouver, Canada.

On Wednesday, The Seattle Times also reported that Amazon is pausing expansion plans in its hometown of Seattle, due to a dispute over a proposed tax by the City Council. The tax – which could cost large employers $US500 per employee annually – aims to alleviate the city’s affordable housing and homelessness crises. Amazon doesn’t want to pay the tax, so it’s halting the construction of a downtown tower and reconsidering occupying another that’s under construction, putting at least 7,000 jobs in jeopardy.

In recent years, some Seattle residents and local government officials have accused Amazon of perpetuating income inequality and raising housing prices in the city. Vancouver – or at least local politicians there – seem more welcoming to Amazon.

Vancouver post officeFlickr/RobA post card featuring the Vancouver General Post Office, circa 1957

Meanwhile,20 North American metros (not including Vancouver) are battling it out to receive Amazon’s second headquarters, HQ2. According to the company, the $US5 billion campus will create 50,000 jobs over the next two decades. Chicago, one of the finalists, has proposed that Amazon move into its old post office.

As Gizmodo notes, the fact that Amazon – a company that depends on local couriers around the world to deliver products – is moving offices into a former post office is interesting but not quite ironic. The new building will not serve as a warehouse for processing and shipping, but a hub for Amazon’s tech workers.

The online retail giant has also built an office on the site where the world’s largest mall once stood. The now-demolished mall in North Randall, Ohio was likely a victim of America’s retail apocalypse, a phenomenon that has contributed to the closure of thousands mall-based stores around the country since 2000. There are many factors that have led to brick-and-mortar’s decline, but many retail analysts point to the Amazon Effect – a consumer shift from shopping in traditional stores to online.

Amazon’s new Vancouver office building is another sign that the company doesn’t plan on slowing down its rapid global expansion any time soon.

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