Amazon's growing pains in Seattle offer lessons to new hosts

ABC News | 11/13/2018 | Staff
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As Amazon turns its attention to setting up new homes in Long Island City, New York and Arlington, Virginia, experts and historians in Seattle say both places can expect a delicate relationship with the world's hottest online retailer.

The communities will be subject to outsized influence from a company used to getting what it wants and unfazed by blame, fairly or not, for widespread changes all around.

Look - Pacific - Northwest - Amazon - Seattle

Just look to the Pacific Northwest, where both Amazon and Seattle have transformed dramatically together and sometimes at odds over the past 24 years, prompting resentment among a certain crowd of wistful "mossback" natives.

But there is a key difference.

New - York - City - Picks - Company

The New York city and DC-area picks allow the company to strategically sidestep and diffuse many of the growing pains Amazon has been accused of inflicting on its Seattle hometown. That's because the pending moves will shift Amazon from the "MVP" employer role it plays here, to a mere "VIP" employer position in two of America's largest, most robust locales.

A Fitch Ratings analysis notes that 25,000 Amazon jobs would amount to less than 1 percent of the labor force in either New York's or DC's metropolitan statistical area. Both also already have a large concentration of personal incomes in the six-figure bracket.

Seattle - Amazon - Workforce - Employees - Footprint

In Seattle, Amazon's workforce has grown from 5,000 to 45,000 employees since 2010, while its physical footprint in the downtown core grew from 1 million to 8 million square feet today.

Matthew Gardner, chief economist with the Windermere Real Estate company in Seattle, estimates that Amazon's crew of highly-educated, well-paid techies makes up about 15 percent of downtown Seattle's total workers.

Amazon - Seattle - Home - South - Lake

Amazon says it spent $4 billion developing its Seattle home after claiming the once-sleepy South Lake Union warehouse district that's unofficially rebranded "Amazonia" because of the company's 44-building (and counting) development spree.

The company says it has infused...
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