Seattle blogger warns of negative impacts of Amazon's second headquarters

Posted at 4:59 PM, Oct 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-05 20:28:50-04

DENVER -- While there are plenty of obvious reasons why Denver wants Amazon's second headquarters, a Seattle blogger is warning cities to "tap the brakes for a second."

"I wrote my piece mainly to warn cities that see nothing but dollar signs, and jobs, and people to think about their quality of life before they're so quick to want such a thing," said GeekWire reporter Kurt Schlosser.

Schlosser has lived in Seattle for 21 years and seen both the positive and negative impacts of Amazon's first headquarters being built in the heart of Downtown.

"It has transformed Seattle seemingly overnight, the traffic, the amount of people," he said.

Which is why Schlosser said he wrote this article,  "Be careful what you wish for, Amazon suitors, a lot will change with the tech giant in your city."

"It's too much, there's thirty thousand people that work for Amazon in the city and it's a lot of people," he said.

Before Amazon's headquarters was built in downtown Seattle eight years ago, U.S. Department of Transportation data shows highways were jammed with traffic for around five hours a day.

Once Amazon built its headquarters in the city traffic has gone from bad to worse.

By April 2016, DOT data shows Seattle gridlock lasted for about seven hours and thirty minutes.

Schlosser believes Amazon is a big part of that.

"While 50,000 people creates a nice influx of money and generates other ways into the economy. It doesn't create roads overnight," he said.

Schlosser said the Amazon effect is also trickling into other parts of Seattle's economy like affordable housing and high rent prices.

"Year over year price increases are astronomical like in the 12% range," he said.

With traffic already bad in Denver, and home prices already sky high -- you have to wonder, is Denver really ready for Amazon's HQ2?

"It's a lot of traffic it's a lot of cars, it's a lot of stress on your infrastructure," said Schlosser. "If a city already wants Amazon, and thinks they can land Amazon. Hopefully that city, about 20 years ago, started thinking about transportation and affordable housing."