Austin Dodges the Amazon Bullet
HQ2 going somewhere (anywhere) else
The frankly ridiculous saga of Amazon's HQ2 expansion is this week coming to a ridiculous climax; amid a flurry of frantic leaks and scoops, the online retailer-and-more appears to have split its behemoth project in half, with up to 25,000 jobs going both to New York City (specifically Queens) and Crystal City in Northern Virginia. Austin has been on The List to compete for the final rose from Jeff Bezos, because Austin is always on such lists, and because Amazon already has about 1,000 employees here, not counting its high-profile acquisition of Whole Foods Market. Politically, though, in a metro area with near-full employment, a legit housing shortage, and wholly inadequate infrastructure even for the people and jobs already here, enthusiasm for HQ2 has been well under control. While the Chamber of Commerce duly provided an Austin proposal at the beginning of Amazon's avaricious quest for local bribes, the city itself remained publicly diffident: "I don't know that we want to be [Amazon's second home]," Mayor Steve Adler told the Texas Tribune back in March. Adler also asked Bezos and Co. to "see Austin's challenges as an opportunity," which is not a great way to get a second date; compare to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who told Amazon "we're easy" and "we're all in." Not easy enough, it seems.