Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Amazon.com moving downtown?

The rumor has been out there lately that Amazon.com, which currently operates a large call center in Grand Forks' industrial park, is considering moving to the downtown area of the city. The city has reportedly been in talks with a potential tenant that is interested in moving into the old Civic Auditorium downtown. Could this be the building that Amazon is eyeing for such a move?

In a June 28 Growth Fund committee metting, Klaus Thiessen - president of the Grand Forks Economic Development Corporation - mentioned "the possibility of Amazon moving downtown". Read the minutes here. Thiessen's statement comes after committee member and city council member Doug Christensen asks about possible upcoming projects that the Growth Fund Committee may be approached with.

I would personally love seeing several hundred people working downtown on a daily basis. It couldn't hurt the stores or restaurants down there and may increase demand for housing.

I would be interested to know why Amazon is possibly considering a move like this. Better access for its employees? Better visibility?

I would expect to hear more about this soon...

22 comments:

Tu-Uyen said...

I've heard that they're feeling the pressure with LM expanding in the Noah's Ark building. (They're upstairs and LM's down stairs.) Maybe they'd like more room to stretch.

Nice research on the meeting minutes.

Anonymous said...

Along the lines of businesses moving and coming to town has anyone heard a rumor that a Texas Roadhouse is building in Grand Forks? A friend of mine who works in city hall heard they applied for a fire/burglar alarm permit with the city?

JGS said...

You're correct Anonymouse. All it took was a little bit of searching the internet. The Texas Roundhouse website is seeking Management posions in Grand Forks, ND.

Managing Partner:

* Houston, TX
* Memphis, TN
* Austin/San Antonio, TX
* Louisville, KY
* Northwestern United States
* Central, PA
* NY State
* Montgomery, AL
* Grand Forks, ND
* Louisiana
* Chicago, IL
* Indianapolis, IN

JGS said...

As for the possible Amazon.com move. I really hope they do move. It would be a good thing for the downtown and it could get a few more people eating in downtown.

If Amazon.com does move though, I hope they reconstruct that building, in a way. That building looks so outdated it needs something done before they move there, imo.

Anonymous said...

The current Amazon building is incredibly inefficient, and it's clear the building was put up too quickly. The cost of moving the facility will be enormous (networking costs alone are huge, and that doesn't consider any other costs). If the city were to ask Amazon to break the lease, it will most likely cost quite a bit in eco dev. dollars. There's no way that Amazon would willingly make the move and pay for it itself.

GrandForksGuy said...

Good work Anonymous and JGS...I had heard nothing of a Texas Roadhouse coming to town. I know that they are building a new one on 13th Avenue in Fargo and it will be opening soon and I believe there is also a new one in Bismarck.

Any ideas on where this place might locate in GF?

GrandForksGuy said...

I can't imagine Amazon going to the Civc Auditorium and not doing a major overhaul on the place. I see a greatly modernized structure if such a move takes place.

One thing...would there be enough parking downtown for the hundreds of workers Amazon employs? I must say, having a lack of parking spaces downtown isn't the worst thing in the world. It seems to show growth and development in an area that has for too long been stagnant.

JGS said...

Last Anonymous:

Actually, the Civic Auditorium already has the IT equipment wired in the building. So Amazon.com wouldn't have a problem getting their networking setup.

As for the remodeling, now that will be a few bucks our of their pockets. But it sure would be well worth it.

GFG:

Isn't the reason moving Central students parking over near the river, going to be apart of the new tenant in the Civic Auditorium? You would think this is the reason, because where are all these 100+ employees going to park if it is in fact Amazon.com. They're going to have to expand that lot or construct yet another ramp for their company.

GrandForksGuy said...

You're right, JGS...I was forgetting about the plan to move Central students. Still, I wonder if there will be enough parking available downtown.

According to Tu-Uyen's article today, the problem with parking downtown isn't a real lack of spaces but a perceived lack of spaces. I'm thinking that in a few years it won't be just a perceived shortage but a real shortage.

Anonymous said...

How many employees at Amazon? Just wondering. You here everything from 100 to 500.

Thanks.

vcsuvike said...

According to Grand Forks Economic Development they employ about 450 people. http://www.grandforks.org/ That number may be outdated because they have been adding people slowly over the past year.

PartTime said...

Hell! Why don't they (Amazon) just put up a 20 story highrise office building with an attached parking ramp? Have our downtown start to look like a downtown..............realisticly though, 450+ employees? even with remodeling the old Civic Auditorium, the building doesn't seem like it would be big enough, especially for further growth of the company.

Tu-Uyen said...

It'd be big enough if they were all packed in cubicles and working in shifts.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how many Amazon employs?
I don't consider the EDC a reliable source.

Thanks.

JGS said...

450 people is pretty accurate. Although, according to ndjobs.com, they're still seeking 150 emplyees. So who knows. But the number is high.

JGS said...

Excuse me, jobsnd.com

vcsuvike said...

I think Amazon would be a good tenant for the empty corporate buildings in downtown. I visited with Jeff Bezos when he spoke at Marketplace in Fargo in January. He mentioned they would like to continue adding jobs in Grand Forks because they've been very impressed with the people.

GrandForksGuy said...

The corporate buildings downtown wouldn't have enough space for Amazon. The tallest of the two corporate buildings is full. The smaller building to the north has been totally empty, but now one whole floor is going to become the new office of Social Security. What's left? A couple of floors in the smaller building...not enough for Amazon.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Amazon pays for top priced commericial space for their call centers. Why would you? In fact, in those good old days during the tech. rainbow, they were able to bend over small towns like Grand Forks for buildings, land, etc.

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Victor said...

So this info is now active, that amazon.com moved to the downtown area of the city.
So this info is from 2006, what happened in the end. Any more info on this topic ?

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