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Amazon’s HQ threat resurfaces bitter Boeing memories

(File, AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Negative Amazon.com rhetoric fizzled out when Seattle leaders heard the online retail giant was setting its sights outside of the Emerald City for a second headquarters.

“All of the sudden we are talking about Amazon in the most glowing of ways as opposed to, say, oh my god, Amazon is taking over the world,” business analyst Jill Schlesinger told Seattle’s Morning News.

Now, instead of criticizing the company for being the cause of Seattle’s affordability problems, people are praising Amazon for creating more jobs and scaling back on the negativity, Schlesinger points out.

Rightly so.

The idea of Amazon finding another city outside of Washington for a second headquarters should remind anyone who was living here in the early 2000s of the decisions made by Boeing that caused many to feel betrayed. In 2001, the aerospace giant moved its headquarters to Chicago. The company also opened a second 787 assembly and delivery facility in South Carolina.

Perhaps Amazon is trying to flex its muscle by pointing out that it could just as easily take off and find another city to call home.

Socialist Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant had some tougher words for the online retail giant.

“Amazon’s quest for a second massive corporate base is reminiscent of Boeing’s ongoing efforts to ship jobs out of the Seattle area and hold us hostage,” she said after the news of a second headquarters was announced.

Schlesinger says Amazon likely won’t shut down in Seattle. But there has been a “real problem in finding adequate space.”

Amazon had more than 341,000 employees company-wide by the end of 2016, adding 110,000 over the previous year — its fastest growth in employment ever. Currently, Amazon has a stated goal of adding 100,000 more employees between 2017-18. The latest numbers indicate that Amazon now has a total of 382,000 workers.

The company occupies 8.1 million square feet across 33 buildings. You can get an idea of just how much space Amazon takes up in Seattle here.

Schlesinger believes Amazon has already selected where its second headquarters will be located and says this may be more of a PR stunt.

“I think this is all nonsense,” she said. “Maybe I’m wrong, but in the back of my head … doesn’t Whole Foods have a nice big headquarters in Austin?

“I think there is something already afoot…”

The New York Times did an analysis of where the second headquarters will end up — Denver.

Whatever city is selected, the winner will receive $5 billion in investment and 50,000 new jobs over two decades.

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