MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Luring Amazon’s second headquarters to South Florida would be a dream come true, but it might also be a nightmare when it comes to traffic and real estate prices.
“There’s an affordability issue when it comes to real estate,” said Bill Hardin, a business professor at Florida International University. “This may exacerbate that but we’ve had that problem for the past 15 years and a lot of people are concerned about that.”
Thursday, Amazon released the 20 cities making the final cut for its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, and South Florida made the list.
The Miami proposal encompasses the tri-county area, meaning if selected, the new HQ2 could be built anywhere from Homestead to Jupiter. There are eight possible locations; five are in Miami-Dade, two are in Broward and one is in Palm Beach.
According to Zillow, the median price of a home in Miami-Dade is more than $279,000. It is more than $243,000 in Broward and $261,000 in Palm Beach.
An influx in Amazon employees could boost housing prices, similar to what happened in Seattle, which is home to Amazon’s world headquarters, where the cost of housing has skyrocketed.
“The median price of a home here in Seattle is now over $700,000 so Amazon is not the only driver but it is a big driver,” said Graham Johnson, reporter at CBS Seattle.
With 20 names on its list, Amazon is looking for a metropolitan area of more than a million people that is a hub for tech talent.
The world’s largest internet retailer proposes spending five billion dollars to build HQ2, and create up to fifty-thousand high-paying jobs that average one-hundred thousand dollars.
But the economic bonanza comes with a catch. Besides stressing the housing market, it will bring increased traffic congestion and may leave some parts of the community behind, as evidenced by Seattle’s growing homeless problem.
“More and more people who work for Amazon are moving here and people who have lived in Seattle a long time are feeling squeezed out by all this,” Johnson said.
Civic leaders trying to lure Amazon aren’t focused on the negative right now.
“I think we do have the workforce, the infrastructure and the ability to deliver for Amazon,” professor Hardin said and added, “So we’re ready.”
Experts say other cities should learn from Seattle’s experience, and invest in affordable housing, better roads and mass transportation.
Amazon says they plan to invest over $5 billion in construction and expect their HQ2 will grow as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs over the years. They add that they expect it will become the full equal to their current headquarters in Seattle.
Amazon expects to make a final decision on its HQ2 location sometime this year.