Amazon HQ2: Two Day Gentrification Guaranteed

Newark. Yes, it’s impoverished and crime-ridden. Like most failing cities, it has crappy schools, a crumbling infrastructure, and inadequate public transit. But it’s also got an international airport, a walkable downtown with cool old buildings, and it’s less than a half-hour to NYC’s Penn Station.  

The importance of this last point cannot be understated. One by one, never-going-to-turn places near Manhattan—the Bronx, Mt. Vernon, Jersey City, Hoboken, and others—are or have been gentrified by middle and upper middle refugees in search of bigger homes and cheaper costs of living. Why not Newark? (Yes, we know about the murders.)

Its good bones and geographic advantages are not lost on Amazon, who put Newark on its list for HQ2, along with usual suspects like DC, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, etc. To sweeten the possible deal, the city and state are (controversially) putting up $7B in tax incentives to make the move more attractive.

It’s not that others haven’t seen this potential. They have.  But without an anchor tenant, lenders have been mostly unwilling to settle in Newark’s sketchy streets. An Amazon move would surely change that in a big way.

So you (maybe) heard it here first: invest in Newark.

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