Editorial, Opinion

EDITORIAL: Amazon talks are encouraging for Boston

Speculation about the potential location for Amazon’s second headquarters has been going ever since the company announced its plans to expand last fall. Ever since word got out that Boston was being seriously considered as a candidate, Bostonians have been making their pitches about why company should come to their beloved city.

It seems like a few days can hardly pass without new articles on the headquarters coming out with an update or report or speculation about the situation. Most recently, a report from The Conference Board suggested that Boston and D.C. are most likely to win the bid.  

In anticipation of the potential move, local officials like Mayor Martin Walsh have spent time working out the logistics for what the city would look like if Amazon HQ2 were to be constructed here, and speaking about all of the reasons why the company should make Boston its new home.

And Amazon’s headquarters here could very well have positive effects for the city, particularly in stimulating economic growth. Boston would be the face for Amazon on the East Coast, which could change the city’s image to that of a tech hub.

But as with many prolonged conversations, these talks have drifted away from constructive dialogue and have evolved into people repeating the same things over and over again. It’s important to note that Amazon will be making its decision sometime this year, but has not specified when. However, this hasn’t stopped environmentalists and economists from analyzing the consequences of the move in unending detail.

As people look more and more into the company and what it represents, this could be productive in holding the company accountable for questionable actions in the future. Amazon has made many headlines in the past year, especially as it acquired the healthy grocery chain Whole Foods in August 2017. It seems like everyone uses Amazon services, and if it continues this domination, it will feel like they’ll control virtually everything. For a business with so much influence and market power, it’s good that people are looking into the company more closely and are learning more about the company’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, who recently became the richest person in the world.

Even though the Amazon talks have been going on for a while, the issues that are being brought up are important things to be discussing. Gathering information on the environmental impacts of an enormous headquarters shows that we’re making progress in being environmentally-conscious. Regardless of whether or not Amazon decides to set up shop here, these deliberations can make other companies who want to move to Boston in the future think more about their environmental trace and implement policies to improve sustainability.

Amazon’s consideration of Boston for HQ2 has also made the city think more closely about its identity. Talks about Boston become a tech magnet and becoming one of the nation’s leading technology leaders are promising. After all, Boston is known for being a leader in medicine and is home to a plethora of prestigious universities that all conduct groundbreaking research. This could provide Boston with a much-needed boost and attract residents to permanently live here.

The more we bring to the conversation, the more city leaders will be prepared for the arrival of this giant’s headquarters should it move here. They can anticipate and plan for any transportation changes that need to take place and will be able to better understand the challenges such a huge company could bring.

Perhaps these talks — even if they do seem redundant and even futile at times — are important. It’s an exciting time for Bostonians, and at the very least, this is a conversation that brings people together to think about their city. There’s no way to know what Amazon intends to do, but there is no harm in speculating for a bright future — one that could usher in a new age of growth and development to Boston.

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