Editorial: Amazon HQ2 fiasco carries lessons for Bay Area

themercurynews – excerpt

It’s imperative that communities and tech firms build healthy relationships and work together to resolve differences…

The Bay Area and the tech industry have much to learn from Amazon’s New York headquarters debacle, which ended last week when the tech giant backed out of the deal to put its HQ2 in Queens.

The main lesson: When it comes to major developments of this nature, it’s all about relationships. Especially in an era when housing costs are spinning out of control…

Google has already agreed to be a full partner in building the city’s long-desired transit village in the Diridon Station area. If all continues as planned, the area will be a gathering place for all, with a mixture of retail, entertainment, public spaces and housing that will benefit the entire community. Google has also agreed in principle to a package of community benefits that will include affordable housing.

It’s still possible that the relationship could unravel. Nearly 200 protesters jammed City Hall and eight were arrested when the City Council approved the sale of more than $100 million in land to Google in December. Critics fear the project will push vulnerable people out of the city. It will be important that Google and the City Council continue to engage the community as they try to reach agreement on the specifics of what the community benefits package should include.

As with any relationship, expect disagreements. How issues that arise are approached will make all the difference. Amazon and New York City provided a model for how to make a worthy project turn into a full-blown debacle…(more)

Anyone for storming the gates?


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