The $5 billion battle for Amazon's new HQ is getting even more heated

New York City skyline. (Source: Getty)
  • Amazon is still soliciting bids for its new $US5 billion, 50,000-person headquarters.
  • New York City has emerged as a leading contender.
  • Boston and Los Angeles are seeing pushback from locals who question Amazon’s motives.

The $US5 billion bid for Amazon‘s new 50,000-person headquarters is intensifying.

New York City is doubling down on its bid to be the site of Amazon’s second HQ. At the same time, Boston and Los Angeles are facing pushback from residents amid fears of financial loss and an “Amageddon” scenario of overcrowding and an increased cost of living that has taken place in Seattle.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit that promotes economic development in the city, is soliciting “ideas and information regarding space, programs, and other assets that could be included in the City’s proposal and ultimately bring Amazon to New York City” on its website, USA Today reported.

America’s largest city has a clear advantage: young people.

“Amazon added to the drama by saying both that it would give priority to metro areas with 1 million-plus people and that places interested in vying for the second headquarters should think ‘big’ and ‘creatively,'” USA Today said.

But other cities are pushing back against Amazon’s demand for bids and perks.

Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik wrote that Amazon was taking advantage of communities whose bids would presumably include generous tax incentives.

“The company’s approach is arrogant, naive and more than a teensy bit cynical,” Hiltzik wrote. “Rather than be offered bribes to move its headquarters into a community, Amazon should be made to pay for the privilege.”

Boston, which has reportedly been a leading contender for Amazon’s new HQ, “can afford to lose this bidding war,” Globe columnist Evan Horowitz wrote in a piece titled “Dear Amazon, here’s our offer: not one dime.”

Horowitz questioned the company’s motives for bids, saying incentives like tax breaks may not even be the endgame.

“Maybe what Amazon is looking for isn’t money, but rather pliability — some proof that the anointed city will bend to its needs,” Horowitz writes. “A big inducement package is a signal of weakness that Amazon can exploit for additional concessions as times change. Air rights for delivery drones? Food labelling issues at Whole Foods?”

Hiltzik also pointed out that existing local businesses would face consequences for sharing a city with Amazon.

“Communities that boast of relatively modest costs of living and reasonable labour costs as come-ons should recognise that Amazon’s arrival will push up land values, and therefore the cost of housing and office space, and produce upward pressure on wages,” Hiltzik wrote. “That’s good for workers, not so much for existing employers.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.