Dear D.C., brace for the arrival of 25,000 Amazonians.
For over a year, Amazon dominated news cycles for what could have been an internal corporate discussion. The company accepted 238 proposals from cities vying to be the home of “HQ2,” and four months later narrowed the pile of proposals down to 20 cities. In an unexpected turn of events, after 10 months of additional speculation, Amazon named two cities the home of HQ2, and one of them is in the greater D.C.-area.
This announcement from Amazon invoked emotionally charged responses from people across the country. Some worry about how two already crowded regions will absorb the growth from an Amazon headquarters, while others are excited by the opportunity Amazon will bring. Having lived in Seattle – or “Amazon Land” – from 2016 to 2018, here’s a preview of what D.C. can expect with Amazon’s growth near our nation’s capital.
- A Growing Tech Community. D.C. is certainly becoming a growing tech hub. Investors, tech companies and incubators scatter the region. However, Amazon brings promise of D.C. becoming an even stronger tech community. In Seattle, we regularly see startups with founders who boast experience at Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing. We can expect similar innovation in D.C. – and as a tech PR firm, RH Strategic couldn’t be more excited for this growth. Further, we’ve seen more technology reporters and media outlets – like GeekWire – crop up to cover the news coming out of the region. While D.C. reporters typically cover policy and public affairs, we can anticipate that more reporters with a technology beat will put a stake in the ground here.
- Transportation Innovation. Currently graced with a congested community, the D.C.-area already experiences significant traffic and crowded public transportation. As Seattle experienced with the growth of Amazon, D.C. should anticipate increased congestion from the growing number of people in the community. We’re already seeing creative solutions for transportation in the D.C. area, like the recent explosion of shared scooters and bikes as well as more innovations like the Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola proposal. These types of solutions will likely sprout more regularly as the region grows.
- The Amazon “Woof Pack.” With Amazon comes a dog-friendly culture. The Millennial phenomenon of treating a pet as a child is certainly prevalent throughout Seattle. From dog-friendly restaurants, corner stores and coffee shops to high-end dog lounges, Seattle is overflowing with love for its favorite four-legged animal. That admiration will likely transfer to the greater D.C.-area. To compete for talent, we can expect that D.C. offices will welcome pets into the workplace and build doggie decks and pet relief areas to accommodate man’s best friend. To compete for customers, we can expect D.C.-area bars and restaurants to host a regular cadence of “yappy hours.” And to compete for tenants, we can expect apartment buildings to become more dog-friendly with amenities like rooftop dog walks, pet wash stations and treats behind the concierge desk.
Like it or not, Amazon is coming to D.C. and I’m excited about the culture and opportunity it will bring. And so is my dog, Teddy!
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm providing strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, public sector and healthcare markets.