Lessons from Amazon's HQ1

It's not all a bed of roses, a Seattleite warns us. Like, what happens when all those new techies decide to have kids, only there's a sudden shortage of apartments and condos with three bedrooms? Or when the diverse local community Amazon claims it wants discovers that Amazon's non-warehouse workforce is as white as any other tech company's?



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Three bedrooms?

I shared a bunk bed with my brother from 1986-1998. Only drawback is lack of guaranteed privacy when you want to (expletive), but I'm hardly going to suggest that the housing market predicate itself on the desire of a teenage boy.

Two bedrooms are fine for young families. Maybe don't have kids if you pick a community where everybody else wildly outbids you for housing.

What if your sibling had been a girl?

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Or do you assume that (a) all families will make sure to have kids all the same gender, or (b) think it's fine for pubescent brothers and sisters to share a room?

I only ask

because there is a critical shortage of chauffeurs at many of the prominent companies here. 18-28 bucks an hour depending on vehicle, except you have to speak only when spoken to, if you're interested.

really unfortunate phrasing

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> Or when the diverse local community Amazon claims it wants discovers that Amazon's non-warehouse workforce is as white as any other tech company's?

This is a really unfortunate choice of phrasing, Adam. Big tech companies tend to have huge asian and south asian work forces. I suspect Amazon's non-warehouse workforce is less white than the city of Seattle.

Really? Seriously?

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OK Adam. This time you have gone WAAAAAAAY over the line. Only Blacks are a minority? Or are Latinos one too? Except, some Latinos are white, so the white Latinos don't count. But Asians are not white in complexion. They are Yellow (SE Asia) or Brown (India and south Asia). Who are we allowed to consider as meaningful in your version of the workforce?

So, are you really trying to say Blacks are unemployable in professional jobs so we need to carefully examine their numbers at Amazon to ensure they strike a percentage that seems agreeable to you? Could it be that there is a smaller Black population in Seattle than Asians that could explain racial differences? What exactly have they done wrong that offends you? Your insinuation is smarmy.

OK, you feel we should have told Amazon to just Fuck off. Great. I'm proud of your enlightenment.

Why not learn from impact of Amazon in Seattle?

Rents are up 60% in Seattle since Amazon opened an HQ there.

Housing costs in Boston are already up 38% in Dot, 43% in Chinatown, 50% in Mattapan and 70% in Roxbury from 2010 to 2015.

Housing cost is the issue WBUR poll says Bostonian's are most dissatisfied with;

17% satisfied
76% dissatisfied

Walsh is behind the curve on low and middle income rental development and way ahead of the curve on luxury housing. Maybe we should stop converting apartment buildings into luxury units plus 18% affordable requirements.

Another trend destabilizing housing costs in Boston is the conversion of long term residential to short-term. We do not regulate this one iota.

No one wants to end up with San Fransisco housing prices but that's exactly where we're headed.

Someone looked at the same question-- to want Amazon HQ or not to want Amazon HQ-- for Pittsburg: Is This For Everyone? Qs About Amazon’s HQ2

Sorry Bud or Budess (nor sure annoying Anon)

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I offered no opinion on good or bad for Amazon's effect on the city/region. I only offered an opinion that Adam is showing a type of racism by showing preference of one minority over many others. Plus he seems to have a soft bigotry of low expectations about Black workers.

That said, I lived in the Pacific Northwest and have many family members in Sea/Tac. There are many reasons for the housing costs that have nothing to do with Amazon. Have you heard that some little known employers such as Microsoft and Boeing are there? Are you aware of the land constraints to the city placing pressure on development? How about the change in type of employment in the area moving from logging and trucking in the rural areas around Sea/Tac to the urban workforce? Correlation and causation are not the same thing.

We all see the world thru the filter we choose. Be curious and refuse to follow the crowd mentality. It will serve you well in life.


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Well, you were replying to my comment and not the original subject. To your numbers:
1. Polling data will always tell you that people think housing is too costly. Who ever answers that my rent is too low? There's a freaking political party in NYC called Rent is Too Damn High. Point disregarded.
2. Why choose 2010 as your starting point? Seems to be cherry picking this data. Let me see, wasn't there a major housing downturn and foreclosure crisis in 2009-2010? Nice time to start a housing cost upswing citation. I would be more interested with a last 10 year trend starting 2006-7 up to present. It would still be higher but not as dramatic.
3. "Walsh" does not build housing. He allows permitting thru a legal process. Developers build to suit the needs of what they believe the market will most desire at the time of completion. For a while luxury housing was the best bet. Now, look at Washington Street in JP--Middle income rental is what's hot. This is just the market--we do not have a centrally planned soviet style economy in Boston run by the Mayor's office.
4. Short term rentals are private parties exercising their property rights to engage in individual transactions to earn income. You may want to regulate this market, but doing so infringes on the property rights of the owners. Much like rent control, this has unintended consequences. Regulate carefully or you end up worse than you began.
5. The Seattle experience is not just about Amazon. Again, correlation does not prove causation.

On Puget Sound housing

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I have people in the South Sound area (I fly to Tacoma, not Seattle) but the article is about Seattle which, yes, is constrained by territory, but Boston faces the same issues (excepting that there is room for development in Pierce and Snohomish counties compared to greater Boston, but again a different issue.)

Also, what’s so wrong with being concerned with the loss of a city’s African American population? That high tech is lacking black folk is a given, so the thought of a sector pricing out an ethnic/racial group is concerning. Were Boston to get this, I would imagine the Latino population of East Boston, Revere, and Chelsea might be a little bit concerned

Small mind, small thoughts.

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Small mind, small thoughts. Luckily Jeff Bezos has a larger mind than you do. Top chef. Jeezus

A lot of the negativity is based on an assumption of stasis

I think if you were look around the most appealing suburbs, they skew to the older side. So a decent chunk of their population is going to age out of their current housing and that housing will be available. Per recent studies, millennial are totally fine with moving to the suburbs.


Certainly we would need to improve regional transit and housing but it's not like some Foxconn style mega factory including dormitories is being plopped down in Eastie.

That all said, I would be truly shocked if Amazon were to move here unless the appeal of MIT, etc.. is enough to offset the costs. Denver seems like the right call.

This is already happening

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This is already happening/happened in Boston.

shortage of apartments and condos with three bedrooms? Or when the diverse local community Amazon claims it wants discovers that Amazon's non-warehouse workforce is as white as any other tech company's?

What are they going to tell us next, that public transit will break down due to massive corporate welfare leaving inadequate funds for upkeep/expansion and that Boston will get congested with tech bros clogging the streets with ubers shuttling them any distance longer than 100 yards?

More smaller apartments

It's not a panacea but building more transit friendly smaller apartments would help provide more family housing. Take the Treadmark building (the one that burned in Dorchester) as an example. When done it will provide a bunch of efficiency and one bedroom units across the street from the red line and are more likely to be affordable to recent college grads, either to live on their own or as a couple. That can open up more 2-4 bedroom units in the two family homes and triple deckers around there for families.

It'll fix itself

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Baby boomers are clogging up the pipeline by not downsizing and staying in their long-time homes. In 5-10 years they won't have a choice as more and more leading edge boomers downsize because they don't have a choice physically or financially. And realistically, that's when they start bumping into the hard edge of the actuarial table also.

One flaw in that

Where do they move to? Part of the problem that some of my older friends have with downsizing is Boston's inventory of one and two bedroom apartments.

What you say is true - but solving that issue means taking a comprehensive look at who is going to want what when and filling in the gaps in inventory.

The other problem is that younger families don't necessarily want those boomer homes - boomers avoided places like Medford, Waltham, Malden, etc. That's why inner ring cities are straining to meet demand for apartments and houses.

Or when the diverse local

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Or when the diverse local community Amazon claims it wants discovers that Amazon's non-warehouse workforce is as white as any other tech company's?

Once more, minorities are minorities until it doesn't suit purpose. If you said non-black, you'd be right. Amazon's tech staff is largely non-black, because there aren't sufficient African Americans in the pipeline to fill the jobs. And Amazon didn't become successful by hiring incompetent black people to please the likes of you.