Every year, 5 billion packages are shipped worldwide by Amazon, and that number is growing rapidly.
Few companies compete with Amazon when it comes to shipping speed, price, and magnitude of selection. This has allowed the company to grow at an exponential rate.
“I think it’s all about convenience and [everyone is] always looking for ways to do things more efficiently,” said Shaun Thompson, an environmental science teacher at Riverside.
“They’re growing so much because they’re not paying their workers enough,” sophomore Chloe Monson said.
Raleigh, NC was a major prospect for Amazon’s new ‘HQ2’. The second headquarters for the internet giant would act as a hub for software creation, logistics, and administration. To get on this prestigious selection list, cities had to meet certain requirements. It must be a metropolitan area with over one million people. It has to generally be close to everything: an airport, main highways, and about 8 million square feet in space to expand in the future. This would match or even surpass the size of the company’s first HQ in Seattle.
“I would say that [Amazon] is not an integral part of society, but it is an integral part of the economy,” sophomore Eli Edds said.
Amazon’s goal was to create 50,000 new tech-based jobs at this new headquarters. The company thought splitting its second headquarters into two locations would solve some of the anticipated housing and traffic problems that their hiring spree might create. In the span of two months, 238 cities were selected as candidates for the HQ2. When the top 20 finalists came out, Raleigh was on the list. Some Amazon executives stressed that the Raleigh location would end up spanning the entire Triangle.
“It will span all over the Triangle,” one exec. said.
In the end, Amazon executives chose to split the HQ between Arlington, Virginia, near Washington DC, and Queens, New York.
Both locations will see drastic changes over the next few years. This begs the question, is it good or bad to host Amazon’s second headquarters?
On one hand, it could bring phenomenal growth to the area, 25,000 jobs, improvement to infrastructure. One group even claims it could be worth $17 billion worth of growth in the surrounding area.
“Amazon’s HQ2 is the greatest economic development opportunity in a generation,” Maryland governor, Larry Hogan said in a statement to the press.
On the other hand, it could cause a significant increase in gentrification, traffic, and housing prices.
In Seattle, where Amazon’s first headquarters is located, housing prices went up nearly 17 percent in ten years, three times the inflation rate of what the rest of the country was experiencing according to Zillow.
Gentrification is also a big problem. According to the city of Seattle, in just seven years, 167,000 additional beds were needed to support the thousands of tech-based jobs in Seattle, pushing out some of the lower-income families in the area, something that is already beginning to happen in Durham and throughout the Triangle.
“[I think] it would have further helped the rejuvenation of Raleigh, but I also think it could have caused a greater divide between those not in the middle class,” Thompson said.
The Triangle’s infrastructure is already struggling with population growth and emigration, according to TRIP, a national transportation resource group. Despite this, North Carolina was prepared to allot two and a quarter billion dollars in incentives for the internet giant. Bringing 25,000 more jobs to the already crowded streets of Raleigh and Durham.
“If Amazon were to settle here, public transport in the area would have to improve,” Thompson said.