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What Would Happen If Amazon Brought 50,000 Workers to Your City? Ask Seattle

Amazon.com has driven an economic boom in Seattle, bestowing more than 40,000 jobs upon a city known for Starbucks coffee and Seahawks fandom. Its growth remade a neglected industrial swath north of downtown into a hub of young workers and fixed the region, along with Microsoft before it, as a premier locale for the Internet economy outside Silicon Valley.

Seattle is the fastest-growing big city in the United States, a company town with construction cranes busily erecting new apartments for newly arriving tech workers. Google and Facebook have joined Amazon in putting large offices there.

When Amazon made a surprise announcement that it planned to open a second headquarters with even more jobs, it set off an unprecedented race among cities to lure the tech giant their way. Amazon said it will need 8 million square feet in a second region, making it the biggest economic development target in decades, experts say. Bids were to be submitted by Oct. 19.

But as Seattleites will say, keeping up with the Internet juggernaut has not always been easy, providing a word of caution for officials from other cities willing to pursue the company at great expense.

Over the past decade, Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, have added new products and business units at a breakneck speed and expected public partners to keep pace.

In Seattle, that meant rehabbing an area of more than 350 acres at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars in ongoing transportation and infrastructure upgrades as well as expanding public transit, road networks, parks and utilities.

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Seattle is the fastest-growing big city in the United States, a company town with construction cranes busily erecting new apartments for newly arriving tech workers. Google and Facebook have joined Amazon in putting large offices there.

When Amazon made a surprise announcement that it planned to open a second headquarters with even more jobs, it set off an unprecedented race among cities to lure the tech giant their way. Amazon said it will need 8 million square feet in a second region, making it the biggest economic development target in decades, experts say. Bids were to be submitted by Oct. 19.

But as Seattleites will say, keeping up with the Internet juggernaut has not always been easy, providing a word of caution for officials from other cities willing to pursue the company at great expense.

Over the past decade, Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, have added new products and business units at a breakneck speed and expected public partners to keep pace.

In Seattle, that meant rehabbing an area of more than 350 acres at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars in ongoing transportation and infrastructure upgrades as well as expanding public transit, road networks, parks and utilities.

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