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State, local officials bet on Suffolk Downs in race for Amazon bid

The Globe reports. Why not throw Wonderland in, too, while they're at it?

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Are they going to extend Blue Line service to get workers from the further out city into this facility? I know the Silver Line is going to help, but there will be a need to get people from Lynn and Revere to this place, too.

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Also connect red line and blue line

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What?

That doesn't bring in people from Lynn or Revere, which are far closer.

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As they are drawing mainly highly paid tech talent which as of now is pretty centered along the Red Line (and South Station). Why I am a big proponent of extending the Blue Line to Lynn, I fail to see how that helps Amazon for the demographic they are going to be hiring, although I would say it would benefit the city as a whole by quite a bit.

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With their pay scales and hours, even tech people will want to be in Lynn or Revere or Chelsea.

That said, I think you are confusing this with the tech facility that they are putting on the Red Line near South Station.

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I know quite a few people actually, all tech, all well over 6 figures, all quite happy after years. I think you are confusing HQ2 with a fulfillment center - not a corporate HQ where most are going to earning six figures.

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I saw the Globe's corporate cheerleader Shirley Leong on Greater Boston this week giving the same pitch but substituting Amazon for Olympics and i thought what a horrible newspaper. Tonight I encountered the Globe's Evan Horowitz analysis. He disagrees:

BostonGlobe:

Dear Amazon, here's our offer: Not one dime.

Boston doesn’t need Amazon, and Amazon doesn’t need our tax dollars, so maybe we should dispense with the inducements and put in the simplest possible bid for the new Amazon headquarters: Come to Boston because it’s a great city, with smart residents, thriving communities, and just about everything else Amazon could need for a successful second home.

Would it be risky to go this route? Maybe, but Boston can afford to lose this bidding war, if it comes to that. The metro area is already thriving, with rising incomes, low unemployment, high demand for housing, and companies jumping at the chance to relocate. Amazon might be the cherry on top, but sundaes are good even without cherries.

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You are confusing the HQ2 building with distribution centers. The average pay for employees in HQ2 will be 100,000 according to their documentation. The REAL problem to mitigate is the immediate affect it would have on the cost of housing in the area. According to the documentation a majority of the workers enjoy walking, biking and short commutes to work... which would put real estate prices in Revere, Chelsea Winthrop , East Boston and yes Lynn through the roof with this location. 50k is a lot of people to absorb.

This is not an argument for or against the proposal but we need to recognize what we are dealing with before trying to mitigate. I have read all the documentation and I can see both the benefits and the downfalls. If it happens there need to be plans in place to mitigate the issues.

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You mean centered working or centered living? There are a ton of high-tech types working in the seaport area these days, but very few living there. The transit is going to be needed from where employees live to Amazon Downs, not from where other people work to Amazon Downs.

I'm sure if people could get a one-seat ride to a job in high tech from somewhere less expensive, they'd move.

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That is a conundrum. Maybe they'll rely on the 3 T stops in the City which would get you there in 5 minutes, as well as the network of buses that all take you to the stations. Brought to you by the same clear thinking that wants to spend billions to extend the BL to Lyn, when they already have the CR.

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Frequently running busses between Wonderland and Lynn Central Square are such an obvious solution, only an organization as clueless as The would fail to implement it.

Right now, there's just a smattering of infrequent bus routes between the two transit hubs, each of which travel circuitous routes to distant Marblehead and Salem. As a result, busses are often delayed and unreliable. Passengers often wait 30 minutes to more than an hour for a bus, and even longer at night or on weekends! When a bus finally does arrive, the demand for service is so great, they're frequently packed beyond capacity.

It makes no sense to send every bus from Wonderland all the way to Marblehead or Salem, when the majority of passengers ride no farther than downtown Lynn. Instead, those routes should simply terminate at Lynn Central Square, where passengers can transfer to the Commuter Rail, or a frequently running bus directly to the Blue Line.

Ideally, service between Wonderland and Lynn should run with the same frequency as the Blue Line, so passengers coming off the train will always find a bus ready to board. At a minimum, no more than two trains of passengers should have to wait for a bus to arrive. This should hold true for weekdays as well as weekends and holidays, when Route-1A is just as likely to be jammed with weekend/holiday/tourist/vacation traffic.

Few would doubt that extending the Blue Line to Lynn or Salem, would alleviate traffic and benefit North Shore communities. Most people are in favor of it, but don't believe it'll ever happen. The next best thing (sigh) is Bus-Rapid-Transit. I have issues with many aspects of the Silver Line Bus-Transit line, but I also think Cybah's new Bus-Rapid-Transit Silver Line to Chelsea will provide much better service for his route, as could a Lynn-Wonderland BRT for that busy corridor.

The pedestrian-hostile Lynnway doesn't really need to be six lanes wide, so an improvement project to add dedicated bus and bicycle lanes would be easy and inexpensive to do. Busses would need to share the four lanes of the Edwards Bridge across the Saugus River, but then at some point, enter an exclusive busway along the MBTA-owned property — the so-called "Narrow Gauge" Right-of-Way, long planned as the route for the Blue Line extension.

The biggest piece of construction would involve the Revere Street bridge over Diamond Creek. It needs to be rebuilt longer, and a little higher, so there's room for the busway to pass underneath, parallel to the creek. That project might also untangle the awkward Ocean Avenue intersection, by simply providing a loop under the bridge for southbound traffic. Being able to bypass the congested intersection of Revere Street and Route-1A would also be the exclusive busway's biggest advantage!

Finally, the busway would need a special terminus at Wonderland Station, elevated above the Blue Line tail tracks, with a loop terminating at Wonderland Plaza. The plaza level is served by elevators and stairs leading to both platforms (and the grand pedestrian bridge to the beach), so it would be the most ideal location for passengers heading in any direction.

All of this would cost a tiny fraction of what it would cost to extend the Blue Line's heavy-rail, electrified, rapid-transit line to Lynn. More importantly, while a Blue Line extension to Lynn is an unlikely-to-happen dream, a Bus-Rapid-Transit extension to Lynn is a realistic alternative. If this is the best you can do, then why not do it?

Meanwhile, regular old busses should be running frequently between Wonderland and Lynn. They wouldn't just serve the needs of current passengers, once there's a reliable way to continue north from the Blue Line, more and more people will find it practical and preferable to driving on Route-1A, spurring even more demand for ultimately upgrading the route to real Bus-Rapid-Transit.

The could do this tomorrow.

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It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to alleviate Revere's traffic congestion, by connecting the Blue Line with a new Commuter Rail station. Whatever is built on the old Wonderland Greyhound property should include some sort of plaza or concourse, providing a direct, weather-protected walkway between the two stations.

Naturally, it's also a spectacular retail opportunity, as passengers traveling between the two lines would find it extremely convenient to dine or shop (and/or pickup Amazon purchases) on their way to or from work.

It's not really possible to widen Routes 1A, 16, or 60 to gain traffic capacity, so the only practical way to keep congestion from getting much worse, is to increase options for mass transit.

It would be foolish for Revere officials not to insist that whatever is developed at the Wonderland parcel include a convenient connection from the Blue Line to the Commuter Rail.
IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/wonderland-cr.jpg)

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There is/was actually a plan to build a commuter rail station near Wonderland. I remember it was on the MBTA's older site, but I can't seem to find it on their newly designed site.
Also this image shows the location of the planned station
http://www.waterfrontsquarema.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/access_heli...

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I like the idea, I really do. But who are the people who would be using this? If you have to get on the CR you are already headed into town. Why switch to the BL unless you are going to the airport or muling from Lynn to Maverick?

City of Sinners wouldn't stop insisting they need the BL, as they need a train they can stumble on to, not something where they have to read a schedule and make plans.

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How would you make this connection, Elmer?

A monorail, perhaps?

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some sort of plaza or concourse, providing a direct, weather-protected walkway between the two stations.

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Sure. Good length for a covered walkway. Lots of people will use that.

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That's not that far of a walk if it's a nice and interesting place to walk.

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This has to go through the state legislature too,
Jeff Bezos who owns the Washington post might have some opposition from the state's Republican Party officials.

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You think the Republican Party officials who actually run the state (you know, like Charlie Baker?)l. are going to care? Whose administration do you think is working on attracting Amazon here?

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Baker team is doing a number on making a shit load of money for the state on lottery scratch tickets may I say losing lottery scratch offs, suckers are buying more losing scratch off tickets under his administration, lottery had much more winning tickets when Patrick was in office.

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Land is wildly expensive in Boston and we don't have a lot of it. Why not build an Amazon HQ in Detroit? Tons of space, many people desperate for a job and I'm sure it would be cheaper to do business there. I just don't get why Amazon would want to build here...

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Amazon isn't just a retailer - it's a technology company (it earns a ton from Amazon Web Services, for example). So why not stick a lot off your people in the middle of a key technology area?

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However, what was shown on local news was
mainly an enormous warehouse which doesn't imply several hundred skilled tech employment opportunities.

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As its not a warehouse, its their second major headquarters, and we are talking about thousands to tens of thousands of highly skilled tech jobs.

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If the estimates of employing up to 50,000 people are correct, I'm wondering if most of the jobs would be administrative rather than highly skilled technical.

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They want a campus to accommodate growth and they want to be in a major city. Are both elements a requirement and does wonderland qualify?

The city is saying it will propose multiple plans. The gov says he want to propose one.

People in Seattle blame Amazon for their housing crisis. I don't know if that is a fair assessment but I'm sure their growth put more stress on that resource and exacerbated gentrification and housing inflation. Will we, as part of the bid process or subsequently, model Amazon-effect on housing costs and displacement in greater Boston?

Amazon wants huge tax abatement and huge public infrastructure investment. And they--GE,Amazon,Olympics--demand it of our elected governments. GreaterBostonians want affordable housing, excellent well-funded public schools and good transportation.

When an Amazon comes along and gets a sweat deal on 100s of millions of infrastructure spending and tax abatement (so that we don't benefit in future with increased revenue for public resources) GreaterBostonians rightly feel f*cked-over by the government they fund and the officials they elected.

We all lose the race to the bottom. We should offer $0 tax abatement and instead offer more infrastructure investment. God knows we need it.

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Till this forces out low-mid income minority's from Eastie.

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Will their commute be if they start working for Amazon. Amazon isn't exactly a high paying employer, especially if there are going to be distribution center features to this campus.

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There is no distribution center - HQ2 is mainly for highly skilled tech jobs, execs, and other higher up positions.

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That's not a tech building.

Also, why would they be building out 1,000 or so jobs in Fort Point for the techies if they might be doing this? Doesn't make sense.

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The RFP, and what they have already said? Amazon has offices in Cambridge and Fort Point - still a drop in the bucket to what this will be, plus Amazon is OK with Urban campuses that might not all be completely connected to each other? What do you think a corporate HQ is? A bunch of warehouses?

BTW, are you talking about the picture of Suffolk down in the linked Globe article?

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-With their Seattle one. Yes, why would you put a "fulfillment center" (warehouse for non-dbs) in down-town Boston or even close to it? That's why they built a huge warehouse in Fall River last year. The jobs in FP are specifically for Alexa (they'll need more). A separate division but it shows that they think Boston is a good place to do business.

The problem is that whenever there's a news story about Amazon the news stations just grab stock footage of people putting things in cardboard boxes. Readers also interpret it that way too.That's not what this would be.

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negative 5 years. What you speak of is already happening...without Amazon's help.

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Amazon is already doing that in Fort Point. Something like 900 mostly tech folks?

This is a different sort of facility from that group.

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GE is hiring nearly 900 tech employees? Source please.

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If Amazon were building a great big manufacturing facility, then Detroit.

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I try to be as pro-development as possible, but this seems like way too big of a proposal for Boston (where are the 50,000 employees supposed to live?) and there are a lot of other cities that either need the jobs (Detroit and Cleveland spring to mind, but others are hurting, too) or have the available capacity to handle the influx (I'm looking at you, Denver.) If anything, were I Bezos I'd want some place centrally located. In short, not Boston.

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They won't bring that many people in ... THEY WILL EMPLOY that many people. Sure, some will be transferred but most will be people who already live here.

In all likelihood, Suffolk Downs is attractive because it is close to where the working class labor pool in the Boston Area is - Chelsea, East Boston, Revere, Lynn, etc.

See also: NECCO and Dunkin Donuts.

As for centrally located, Boston is centrally located if you want to work the European market. And Detroit? Shitty public transportation - the wealthy have gutted the city one too far for that. Denver? The only places they could find the land they want are not on transit.

For the people they do bring in, their spouses will be able to find jobs here. I know people who have moved to some of these other places that you mention - doesn't work so well. If you have ever had to relocate as a two job couple (most families) you would know how challenging this could be.

Speaking of candy and donuts ... care to puff puff pass?

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Metro Boston unemployment is pretty low (4% unemployment as of July) versus the metro areas of Detroit (6.5%), Cleveland (6.6%.) To put it another way, ignoring skill set needs and assuming no inward or outward migration, Amazon is looking to employ about half of all the people looking for work in the area (109,439 estimated.) Half!

Also, Detroit is starting up service on their first light rail line (okay, it's the only one planned, but it's a lot better than the strange circular thing downtown) and Denver has demonstrated that they will build transit to where people live and work. They've gone through several periods of transit construction in the period since the GLX was proposed, so I give them a lot more faith than I give Boston to make sure Route 1A and the Blue Line both don't get overwhelmed.

I'm not begrudging any community for trying, and as long as Boston doesn't have to give out incentives, they are right to ask, but this is a huge project.

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You realize that is over a 10-20 year rollout, right? That we lose thousands of graduating students to elsewhere every year, and have an existing large pool of senior talent, too. Centrally located? Most people are saying they want the opposite as an easy bridge into Europe (as Seattle is to Asia).

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But a lack of jobs is not why.

The first thing that people forget is that we have an inflow of college students. Why wouldn't those swarms of kids from the Tri-State area want to go home after graduating? But let's ignore that. The main reason, even more than the bars and clubs closing at 2AM, is that the cost of living in Boston is too high to be able to live as college grads think they should be able to live.

Then there are the jobs that Bezos is talking about. Talk to some people and you'd think these are going to be lower income jobs, like the warehouse folk. College grads aren't going to be jumping to take those. Talk to other people and they say they are all tech jobs, high paying jobs. Those kinds of jobs haven't made the Bay Area any more affordable, and the skill sets are specific, so the average college grad might not be making out with if Boston wins the race.

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CoL is too high? You realize the people we are talking to are flocking to SF/the Valley, and NYC right? It is 100% the jobs - we only have so many entry level positions in tech here with many companies focusing on senior engineers. If you are right out of college getting into a company here is actually competitive, vs in the other cities I mentioned with companies that love right out of college kids.

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They flock to North Carolina and Texas, where the living is cheaper and the jobs are there.

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For the decades I have spent in hiring/building engineering teams across various companies here in Boston (and NYC, and SF), you are wrong. Graduates would stay if we had more jobs for them here - you are talking 70-100k+ right out of school. These people aren't going to North Carolina (joke), or Texas - although Austin is a nice little town, I will give Texas that.

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But you do realize that a few students graduate from college without getting an engineering degree.

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And you realize Amazon is looking specifically for tech and tech workers, right? And that they want to be near schools with tech graduates to siphon them off at the source?

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Let's let the non engineers be pushed out more and more, but I hope you'll stop bitching about them leaving. And sure, they overall economy won't be affected by a need for 5,000 engineers a year in the area.

On the other hand, when we become Silicon Valley East, I already own my house, so costs shouldn't change too much for me.

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The key thing is not whether the labor is educated where the enterprise is, what's key is that the labor can find housing where they want to live within a reasonable commute to work if that's (a commute) is what's required from their job.

We have lots of nice places to live in greater Boston but the nice housing is very expensive. If this Amazon thing happens, old housing will be redeveloped and residents will be priced out only because we don't build affordable at the rate we raze it.

My first job out of college was not in the town I went to college. I interviewed for jobs in metro NYC and metro Boston. I'm still here in Boston decades later. Boston is my home.

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What does this have to do with the price of apples, errr, I mean what we are discussing? Total shift of everything there when you are wrong, but, hey, whatever. 5k engineers a year? Pulling more out of your ass I guess. BTW, we already were the original "Silicon Valley", its juts all coming back in a cycle. As for pushing people out, well, we weren't discussing that, and we can and are building housing at a rate that can accommodate 50k new people over 2 decades, and as already pointed out we have enough leaving students (going to NYC/SF/The Valley) for the positions that Amazon wants to sustain them (and keep more graduates local), and that the people we are talking about are not leaving Boston due to cost of living or leaving to North Carolina or Texas in droves. In other words, Boston makes the most sense for Amazon to come to given the criteria in their RFP, and we can pretty easily accommodate them without them taking over the entire city (see: Seattle).

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They're one of the cities not listed as being in the running. Also, I understand that thanks to Trump and his racist bullshit, Canada is also in the serious running.

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Might go down if you lived out on the blue line.

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N/t

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Boston's Eeyore's are out again.

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Just like the Olympics.

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lay off teachers, close schools, displace Allston hipsters, abandon our Arts community, have heliports everywhere,...

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Silicon Valley, as personified by Amazon today, wants nothing to do with a large scale operation like this one in Boston. Too much corruption, unpredictable weather and the biggest factor ? Aging infrastructure and shakedown artists that call themselves servants of the people.

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