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Old 09-18-2017, 09:30 AM   #301
SouthEnder88
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Originally Posted by bobthebuilder View Post
I think SST would be great for Amazon, but there are some hurdles that make it less than a sure shot.

Edit: Just read the BisNow article that big picture linked to that says that 6M SF is possible at USPS, so maybe the gap isn't that wide. I was referencing an old image for the 2.5M SF number I got.
It's kind of interesting to think you basically hit ~7M SF with better density at USPS plus the Hines SST component (factoring the phase 3 office part into the equation). I'm sure BOS doesn't want to assume anything with the USPS since it's been 15 years of chatter, but it does seem like they're closer than ever on a move to Southie. I hope they don't put all the eggs in the Suffolk Downs basket with this pitch.
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:38 AM   #302
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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I'm not sure this is entirely fair - Philly has a vision, same as Boston does. Their project is no more real than SSX and Dot Ave. They have more high-def renders, sure, but that doesn't equate to real development.
That's not strictly true. The first towers in the area have already been built.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cira_Centre
http://ciracentresouth.com/
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:58 AM   #303
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

I have to think the best area is the North Station to Congress Street Garage corridor. The most efficient way to get Amazon employees in as early as possible is to keep going vertical on the North Station office tower! It's already out of the ground, and likely upwards of 2 years ahead of SST at this point. The next phase of the expansion would be into the Congress Street Garage office tower (potentially revised into an even taller iteration, hopefully with the same design) and then what would be a widely anticipated replacement of the god awful O'Neill building.

The best case for SST is a selfish one. Amazon signing on would likely fix the proportions back to the old design. Otherwise I don't think the timing or growth potential measures up to the North Station area.
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Old 09-18-2017, 12:52 PM   #304
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Originally Posted by Scalziand View Post
That's not strictly true. The first towers in the area have already been built.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cira_Centre
http://ciracentresouth.com/
By the same token, you could say there's a few tall buildings already near South Station, too.
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:46 PM   #305
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Originally Posted by Rover View Post
More on Philly:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Philadelphia

Land is so cheap because you have a greater chance of getting murdered there than any other city with 1M people. One of the most violent large cities in the US.
How about instead of posting Wikipedia links, you take a trip to Philly?

This fear-mongering based on crime stats is one of the reasons so many great US cities fell into decline in the first place. Would be great if this forum, of all places, didn't perpetuate that stereotype.
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:16 PM   #306
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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How about instead of posting Wikipedia links, you take a trip to Philly?

This fear-mongering based on crime stats is one of the reasons so many great US cities fell into decline in the first place. Would be great if this forum, of all places, didn't perpetuate that stereotype.
What makes you think I haven't? Do you dispute that Philly has the highest violent crime rate of any 1M+ city in the country? As the saying goes, you're entitled to your opinion. You aren't entitled to your own facts.

So, in the spirit of fairness, what problems does Boston have. 1) Bad transit system but people are saying all transit systems are pretty bad. 2) Sky high housing prices which puts the city at a disadvantage except for places like NY, SF, and DC, and finally 3) Northeastern U and its alums, which I fear we're stuck with.

BUT, Boston is not a dump, has one of the lowest crime rates of any large city in the US, and tends to have a workforce amongst the most educated based on various criteria. Lastly, which I think is underreported, but if Amazon is maxed out on the available talent in Seattle, one would think they'd need a similar sized or larger city to locate in. On a combined statistical area view that leaves only 12 cities and some good choices (Denver) and not so good (Pittsburgh) might struggle to find enough workers for Amazon's purposes.
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:35 PM   #307
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Originally Posted by Rover View Post
What makes you think I haven't? Do you dispute that Philly has the highest violent crime rate of any 1M+ city in the country? As the saying goes, you're entitled to your opinion. You aren't entitled to your own facts.

So, in the spirit of fairness, what problems does Boston have. 1) Bad transit system but people are saying all transit systems are pretty bad. 2) Sky high housing prices which puts the city at a disadvantage except for places like NY, SF, and DC, and finally 3) Northeastern U and its alums, which I fear we're stuck with.

BUT, Boston is not a dump, has one of the lowest crime rates of any large city in the US, and tends to have a workforce amongst the most educated based on various criteria. Lastly, which I think is underreported, but if Amazon is maxed out on the available talent in Seattle, one would think they'd need a similar sized or larger city to locate in. On a combined statistical area view that leaves only 12 cities and some good choices (Denver) and not so good (Pittsburgh) might struggle to find enough workers for Amazon's purposes.
I think what lex is pointing out is that your whole line of reasoning is irrelevant, not that your facts aren't true. So what if Philly has 3x the national murder rate? Are people jumping out of alleys to stab each other in the street? No. Amazon employees (upper-middle and upper-class white-collar workers) have no higher likelihood of being murdered in Philly than anywhere else. Your chance of being murdered by a stranger is arbitrarily close to zero. Even if Phily's 3x multiplier extended to (extremely rare) stranger violence - 3 times zero is still zero.

Now, if you want to make the case that we need to get our act together as a society and help the impoverished and underprivileged communities of Philly (and elsewhere) that suffer from a terrible cycle of violence, rather than exacerbating the cycle, then maybe we have something to talk about. But that would still not be relevant to Amazon's decision of where to locate their new HQ2.
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:52 PM   #308
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

equilibria, touche!!!

Amazon has three new towers in Seattle, two built, one under construction. All about 37 floors. There is some indication these are primarily for administrative functions, and less for software, tech functions. There are two smaller towers proposed on adjacent blocks, but these may be up in the air, as Amazon's new focus is HQ2.

A new six story office building Amazon is building in Seattle will have tech offices on the top three floors and a homeless shelter on the bottom three.

The 11 formerly leased buildings for the South Lake Union 'campus' it bought from Paul Allen are on 11-15 acres, and have 1.6 million sq. ft. So less density than the proposed Volpe buildout.

From the RFP
Quote:
HQ2 could be, but does not have to be:
• An urban or downtown campus
• A similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus [I guess this is South Lake Union campus]
• A development-prepped site. We want to encourage states/provinces and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options,

Amazon is considering greenfield sites, infill sites, existing buildings, or a combination for the Project. If existing buildings are available that can be retrofitted/expanded within an acceptable budget and time schedule, Amazon may consider this option; however, the company acknowledges that existing buildings may not be available to meet its requirements. As such, Amazon will prioritize certified or shovel-ready greenfield sites and infill opportunities with appropriate infrastructure and ability to meet the Project’s timeline and development demands, as set forth below.

Amazon will consider the following site/building categories for the Project:
1. Existing buildings of at least 500,000+ sq. ft., meeting the core requirements described above and that are expandable or have additional options for development nearby.
2. A greenfield site of approximately 100 acres certified or pad ready, with utility infrastructure in place. The sites do not have to be contiguous, but should be in proximity to each other to foster a sense of place and be pedestrian-friendly.
3. Other infill, existing buildings, including opportunities for renovation/redevelopment and greenfield sites, meeting the proximity and logistics requirements of the Project. This can also be a combination of the above.
4. Please also consider the overall proximity of the buildings at full build-out as you are making recommendations.
....
Amazon is committed to sustainability efforts. Amazon’s buildings in its current Seattle campus are sustainable and energy-efficient. The buildings’ interiors feature salvaged and locally sourced woods, energy-efficient lighting, composting and recycling alternatives as well as public plazas and pockets of green space. Twenty of the buildings in our Seattle campus were built using LEED standards. Additionally, Amazon’s newest buildings use a ‘District Energy’ system that utilizes recycled heat from a nearby non-Amazon data center to heat millions of square feet of office space – a system that is about 4x more efficient than traditional heating. This system is designed to allow Amazon to warm just over 4 million square feet of office space on Amazon’s four-block campus, saving 80 million kilowatt-hours over 20 years, or about 4 million kilowatt-hours a year. We also invest in large solar and wind operations and were the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the U.S. in 2016. Amazon will develop HQ2 with a dedication to sustainability
.....
The Project requires an expeditious timetable for the location decision and the commencement of construction. Given this, sites with the requisite access, utility infrastructure, and zoning are critical. Please outline the permitting process and estimated timetable to initiate Phase I of our operations. [Phase 1 is 2019, and 500,000 square feet.]
An assessment in the Harvard Business Review (authors are from Brookings)

Quote:
....
• Connected and sustainable placemaking. The Amazon RFP reads like an urban planner’s dream, brimming with calls for energy efficient buildings, recycling services, public plazas, green space, and access to multiple modes of transportation. While Amazon will apparently consider greenfield sites as well as existing developments for its new headquarters, it emphasizes its interest in promoting walkability and connectivity between densely clustered buildings through “sidewalks, bike lanes, trams, metro, bus, light rail, train, and additional creative options.”
....
• Culture and diversity. Promoting an inclusive culture matters to Amazon. The RFP specifically calls for “the presence and support of a diverse population,” along with excellent higher education institutions and functioning local governance.
https://hbr.org/2017/09/what-amazons...ture-of-cities



^^^ Google's new office in South Lake Union. Under construction. Typical tech landscraper. 600,000 square feet of office. The two towers are residential. Google is poaching employees from Amazon. Google generally pays more.
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Old 09-18-2017, 03:54 PM   #309
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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This seems like a particularly good analysis...

Boston cracks the top 3...Denver has the lead...

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...pgtype=article
This NYTimes article really does make a lot of sense! I do believe that there is land availability in Boston and that the mayor, if it does come down to a few cities and Boston is one of them, that he will deal. I would even suggest that with all the available land in the
Seaport owned by MassPort, if Amazon were really serious about Boston, that the state and city would definitely pressure MassPort to open up the land even though it's supposed to be reserved for port activities. Just my thoughts.
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Old 09-18-2017, 06:27 PM   #310
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

Please explain to me how you fit 8 million square feet of office space between Bulfinch Crossing and the Hub.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:28 PM   #311
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

^ Step 1. Demolish State Services Center
Step.2 Build ~4m sq ft of office space.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:50 PM   #312
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

^ if were talking about demo, lets just get rid of south bay center, and amazon can take over that area
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:10 PM   #313
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Originally Posted by JohnAKeith View Post
Please explain to me how you fit 8 million square feet of office space between Bulfinch Crossing and the Hub.
It doesn't need to all be there, remember. Once we're talking about downtown, you can let Amazon fill Bulfinch, The Hub, a building or two in the Financial District, maybe some North Point buildings with the Orange/Green connection and corporate shuttles.

I'm thinking of this less as 8 million SF or office, and more as 500k SF of office in one tower to start, with nearby opportunities identified for more. They're talking about 2027 and after. A lot will happen by then. Amazon is smart enough to know they can't (and probably don't want to) reserve lots of open dirt for a decade for whenever they're ready to build.

Any downtown site in any major city probably has enough "office space" around it for decades down the road. This won't be decided on that basis. It's one reason why a focus on Suffolk Downs isn't the best idea. As a satellite site, maybe, but not as the core of the proposal.
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:47 PM   #314
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

Yah, I don't believe there is any city with a well developed public transportation infrastructure that has easily available 8m sf of continuous space easily available in the city center. Amazon will probably have to look at multiple buildings if they want to locate in any city center, unless it's in a more spread out city without strong public transportation.
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:50 PM   #315
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Originally Posted by Equilibria View Post
... you can let Amazon fill Bulfinch, The Hub, a building or two in the Financial District, maybe some North Point buildings with the Orange/Green connection and corporate shuttles...
As an owner and board member at Northpoint, I find the prospects appealing.

We still have quite a bit of space for work and residential buildings (and the double transit heads is nice). I suspect everything would need to go back through the Cambridge planning authority, though, because the work/res mix might need tweaking. The Orange line is pretty packed already by College, but our bike routes, North Bank Bridge, and the upcoming Washington Street Bridge would provide enhanced access.

I've said in other NP threads that we're drawn for low rise, not high (like much of Kendall), but even expanding the development's outer ring buildings' heights (none of which are planned to be built for at least 3-5 years) to 300 ft from 220-240-ish would make a marked difference.

If spy through our windows, DivCo West is literally formatting transit lines and utilities as in a game of SimCity, so the time is nigh. Of course, that's also the downside, right? It took years to settle on the infrastructure; much might be difficult to change.
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Old 09-18-2017, 10:03 PM   #316
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

The more I think about it, the more I'd say not to get to hung up on that 8M SF number. This initial RFP is technically only for "phase 1", which is 500k-1M sf, according to their phase breakdown. In fact, all of the first 3 phases only amount to a maximum of 5M SF, which is very doable over 10 years. It would appear the big numbers they're throwing out there (8M SF, $5B in investments, 50k jobs, when their existing HQ doesn't even have 40k)are really just to entice the biggest incentives they can get. Desperate cities will do desperate things.

The more I look at it, the more I like SST. Especially since they already have 150,000 SF across the channel. I'm sure that will factor into their decision at least a little. Using SST as the home base, they could also gobble up floors in One Financial Center as they become available (~29,000 SF/Floor, total 1.3M SF).
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Old 09-19-2017, 05:46 AM   #317
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

And if Amazon decides that HQ2 is going to house its robotics team, or its drone team, or its autonomous vehicle team, or its medical devices team, or its space travel team, or any other future technology teams, these teams are going to fit well in a tower?

(Bloomberg had an article yesterday on Boston being the world leader in developing autonomous vessels; it seems no other city comes close.)

A (The?) main future focus of Amazon appears to be artificial intelligence.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...azon-s-success

Read the full letter to shareholders.
https://www.geekwire.com/2017/full-t...day-2-company/

There was a post citing Boeing as an example of a technology company with its HQ in a tower. True enough, but Boeing doesn't do engineering in its Chicago tower.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:15 AM   #318
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/featu...sail-in-boston

Why would Boston be a frontrunner for Amazon? As ole Bill might say, "It's the
Brains, stupid!"
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:27 AM   #319
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

The top universities for Artificial Intelligence programs

Global ranking, 10 ranked, by field weighted citation impact (which should be the best objective ranking) and score. U. S. universities shown.

1. MIT 3.57
2. Carnegie Mellon 2.53
5. University of Southern California 2.35

https://www.timeshighereducation.com...ng-ai-research

USN&WR ranking in 2014 for best AI program
1. Stanford
2. Carnegie Mellon
3. MIT
5. Univ of Washington
12. UMass Amherst

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate...gence-rankings

USN&WR ranking in 2014 for best computer systems program
1. Cal Berkeley
2. MIT
3. Stanford
4. Carnegie Mellon

USN&WR ranking in 2014 for best Programming language program
1. Carnegie Mellon
2. Cal Berkeley
3. Stanford
4. MIT
5. Princeton
11. Harvard
13. Northeastern

USN&WR ranking in 2014 for best computer theory program
1. Cal Berkeley
2. MIT
3. Stanford
4. Princeton
5. Carnegie Mellon
7. Harvard
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:30 AM   #320
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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And if Amazon decides that HQ2 is going to house its robotics team, or its drone team, or its autonomous vehicle team, or its medical devices team, or its space travel team, or any other future technology teams, these teams are going to fit well in a tower?
8 million is a lot of square feet. Amazon already owns a low-rise building in Fort Point, and could acquire more space there or in Charlestown or Cambridge for things like this.

My argument is that we shouldn't get caught up on exactly where to put Amazon. They want 500,000 initial square feet of office space, which in an urban area will inevitably be tall. After that, it's all a decade away. Let them negotiate their own property.

If Boston wins this, it's because of Harvard, MIT, and the ecosystem around them (including flights to Europe/Asia, a cosmopolitan/tolerant environment, etc.), not because we offer the best site.

If Amazon wants to be in a city that pumps out tech innovations and offers clustering benefits (and many things in the RFP indicate that they do), there's the Bay Area, Boston, LA, and the field.
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