Proposed $5 billion Amazon headquarters could thrive in Tech Valley

Julio Rodriguez

Amazon's second headquarters between Albany and Rensselaer could bring with Iran employment increase of up to 50,000 full time jobs. COURTESY OF AMAZON PROMENADE - CENTER FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH

Amazon’s second headquarters between Albany and Rensselaer could bring with Iran employment increase of up to 50,000 full time jobs.

The capital region could potentially be home to Amazon’s second planned headquarters, which would link newly-installed infrastructure between Rensselaer and Albany.

On Oct. 19, The Center for Economic Growth submitted a proposal to Amazon’s public competition, titled HQ2. The proposal details a plan to develop a technological hub similar to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

The proposal, titled Amazon Promenade, would install 2 million square feet of office space on a 25-acre site in Albany and an additional 6 million square feet on 75 acres directly across the Hudson in Rensselaer.

“Amazon encourages its leaders to ‘think big,’ and here in New York’s Capital Region – the heart of Tech Valley – we’ve consistently put that principle to practice. Thinking big is in our blood and in our history, starting with Thomas Edison in Schenectady,” said chair of the CEG Board of Directors and the University of Albany’s vice president of health sciences Laura Schweitzer.

CEG identified sites that satisfy requirements for the competition. If approved, the capital region would see 500,000 square feet of building space installed by 2019 and another 8 million square feet beyond 2027.

“Amazon has an opportunity to establish a waterfront headquarters along the river that turned America into an international commercial power and in thriving downtown that offers the live-work-play options that its talented workforce love in Seattle,” said CEG president and CEO Andrew Kennedy.

The CEG’s bid promises to employ up to 50,000 full-time employees. The potential project could pull new minds from areas far outside of the eight-county reach of the capital region. However, the project will also attract and utilize workers already living and working in the capital region.

The 15-county Tech Valley region has a population of 1,860,410 and a labor force of 920,393. The labor force is also well-educated in degree programs in high demand at Amazon. With nearly a third of the region’s adults 25 years and older, 31.4 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment positions in computer and information technology are projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.

These occupations are expected to add about 488,500 new jobs, from about 3.9 million jobs to about 4.4 million jobs, from 2014 to 2024.

The increased popularity of the occupation is due to a greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data and the continued demand for mobile computing.

The project could provide employment opportunities to Hudson Valley graduates, specifically students in the forthcoming operations management technology program. The program would be offered around the same time as the first phase of the Amazon Promenade’s projected completion in 2019.

The program will be offered after the completion of the Gene F. Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing Skills, which is projected to be completed by summer 2019.

Operations management technology will enable students to enter the workforce directly after completion of the program. The program will also aim to fill the shortage of skilled workers at manufacturing firms.

CEG has prepared a bid in conjunction with local community partners. As a result, the partners have made pledges to improve and guarantee efficient collaboration between partners and Amazon.

They also plan on establishing improved public transportation and seek to develop curriculum in Amazon’s target field of computer science and business with capital region institutions of higher learning.

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