With local celebrities praising our state's great features on camera, a new website is building the case for Amazon to build its second headquarters in Colorado.It very well might be the competition of the century, with government officials across the country offering bribes and incentives to lure e-commerce giant Amazon to their city. The company has announced its plans to build a second headquarters location (HQ2), requesting proposals from cities interested in working with them to create a mutually beneficial relationship. But whether or not the "winning" city or state (which will be announced next year) will truly be a winner? That is still to be determined. Colorado joined in the bidding, pitching eight different sites that meet Amazon's proposal requirements -- though the specifics of the bid have not been made public. Insiders say the proposal (which was emailed and then overnighted to Seattle before the deadline) was more modest and subdued than what other places proposed; Georgia even offered to name one of their cities "Amazon," and Arizona tried to send the company a massive cactus, which was ultimately rejected. (Nobody wants your prickly cacti, Arizona).
Colorado’s proposal does not lead with incentives. It leads with talent,” said Sam Bailey, with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. “Ultimately, 50,000 jobs shouldn’t be led with incentives but a community that has the resources to support it.”The website, coloradolovesamazon.com, is stacked with promotional video after video from Governor John Hickenlooper, Broncos superstars Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr., local business leaders, community leaders, university chancellors, and even citizens (yes, you can upload your own video or image), all freely publicizing what makes Colorado so great. From work to innovation, from green initiatives to opportunities for play, videos and photographs cover all manners of subjects, touting Colorado's well-deserved praises. [caption id="attachment_25756" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Image courtesy of Lonely Planet[/caption] Miller loves the weather and the mountains; DIA's CEO Kim Day loves the way Colorado is always looking forward, anticipating the future. Kelly Brough, the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, loves the way Coloradans are strong -- able to accomplish whatever they want.
Whether you moved here for a job, fell in love with our state’s 'spirit' or threw a dart and ended up here – we want to know why you think Colorado is the best America has to offer. For work. For play. For life. And we want to make sure everyone gets the message and spread the love. (Including a certain Seattle-based megacorp.)" -- coloradolovesamazon.comIn short, we don't need to offer Amazon any bribes or even public incentives. Because Colorado is perfect -- all on its own. You know it. I know it. We all know it. As Hickenlooper says in his video snippet on the website, we all suffer from "topophilia," or "love of place."
And it seems that everyone involved in putting together the proposal is well aware of Colorado's intrinsic value:
We all have the understanding that Colorado can offer Amazon a complete package. We don’t have to compensate with some of the things that other cities are offering. We have a high quality of life, a highly educated workforce, and, of course, we meet the criteria of the RFP,” Andrea Tilliss of the Aurora Economic Development Council told The Denver Post. “This is one unique thing Colorado has and Aurora has. We do not put bags of money on the table and push it across and say, ‘Go.'"Colorado is obviously the best place for Amazon. But the real question is this: Is Amazon the best thing for Colorado? HQ2 is expected to bring 50,000 jobs to the winning city, over a span of 10 to 15 years. That would be a game changer. Obviously, it would spur tons of economic growth -- just like the first Amazon headquarters did for Seattle. But at what cost?
The growth a company like Amazon could bring to Denver has raised concerns about whether or not we're prepared to handle it. Increased population would cause traffic to spin even further out of control. Apartment rents would rise an estimated eight percent, potentially driving other non-Amazon-working residents from the area. Could sudden, massive growth cause Denver to implode? What happens to the Colorado lifestyle we've worked so hard (through irony, lies, etc.) to protect? I mean, three of our Front Range cities recently made the list of National Geographic's top 25 happiest cities. Would we be thwarting that well-documented happiness? Would winning the bid mean, well ... that Denver actually loses? Here's an interesting thought:
Most would acknowledge the extraordinary prosperity that Amazon has brought to Seattle since Jeff Bezos and his startup arrived in 1994. But they are also keenly aware of the costs, not least the nation’s fastest-rising housing prices, appalling traffic, and a painful erosion of urban identity. What was once a quirkily mellow, solidly middle-class city now feels like a stressed-out, two-tier town with a thin layer of wealthy young techies atop a base of anxious wage workers. As one City Council member put it, HQ2 may give Seattle 'a little breathing room' to cope with a decade of raging, Amazon-fueled growth."Did you catch that? Seattle's looking for a break. Back in September, even The New York Times picked Denver as the best choice for HQ2. And they're absolutely right. The Amazon decision makers would be crazy to pick anywhere else. So, post a video or photograph on the Colorado Loves Amazon website, if you must. Tell everyone how awesome it is to live here in great descriptive detail. Sing Colorado's praises. But 20 years down the road? When a sprawling e-commerce compound has sucked the charm and life out of our gorgeous state? When Amazon is searching for an HQ3 location to ease the burden on a stressed-out Colorado? Don't say I didn't warn you. It scares me. Because we're absolutely going to "win."
What do you think? Have you looked at the Colorado Loves Amazon website? Are you going to contribute your video or image? Would Amazon's HQ2 be a good or bad thing for Colorado? Weigh in below!