By Roger Kim
Jeff Bezos and Amazon made the headlines recently. On Friday morning, October 27, 2017, Jeff Bezos became the richest man in the world with his net worth valued at $90 billion. The surge in Amazon stock’s price to $1067 added nearly $7 billion to his wealth overnight after Amazon’s robust earnings report. This puts Bezos past Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world. However, this isn’t the first time that Bezos has passed Bill Gates, who held the number 1 spot for years. He first became the richest man in July 2017, but it only lasted a day. On July 27, Amazon’s share price briefly topped $1,050, and Bezos’ paper fortune soared past $90 billion. Given Amazon’s dominance in so many markets, Bezos is likely to pull further ahead in the race for the richest man.
In related news, on October 19, Amazon received a whopping 238 proposals from cities and regions in 54 states, provinces, districts, and territories across North America, all competing to be the home of Amazon Headquarters, HQ2, the $5 billion, 50,000 employee co-headquarters the company wants to build over the next two decades. The overwhelming and creative proposals came from most major cities and some less known cities as well.
Amazon prefers for its new headquarters to be in a metropolitan area of at least one million people or zoned to build up to 8 million square feet of office space. In order to meet Amazon’s criteria, cities submitted their independent or joint bids to make strong cases. The bids came from Baltimore, the District of Columbia, New York City, Boston, Dallas, New Jersey, the Phoenix metropolitan area, San Francisco Bay Area cities, Chicago, Huntington Beach, Long Beach of California, Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas of Missouri, Buffalo, Rochester of New York, and a joint international bid from Detroit-Windsor of Michigan and Ontario, Canada.
Just seven states including Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota did not submit bids. Some local governments say that the company’s campus would be too large even for their biggest metro areas. These concerns are not without reason. In its first headquarters in Seattle, Amazon has spurred an influx of residents, higher housing prices, and increased traffic. Since 2000, Seattle’s metro area has added 99,000 new jobs, with 30% of them in tech, contributing to a construction boom.
Amazon is expected to make its decision sometime in 2018.