While much of the world was distracted by the novel coronavirus pandemic in 2020, one of the biggest stories was unfolding far from the news headlines. Amazon announced in March that they would finally be expanding their headquarters in order to accommodate their explosive global growth.
The internet retail giant has decided to build a new headquarters in the U.S., which will be their largest ever. The project, named Alexa, will be located in Nashville, Tennessee, and will feature nine floors of employee spaces, two food courts, a pool, and over 100,000 sq. ft. of office space. It’s expected to cost over a billion dollars to complete.
The campus would house 15,000 employees and is set to open in 2023. While the company’s rapid growth has been fueled by algorithmic selling and popularizing of online shopping, they have decided to reorient some of their businesses towards creating innovative companies that can grow their own eco-systems.
Nashville, Tennessee, was one of the first U.S. cities to be seriously considered as a potential site for Amazon’s new headquarters. The city’s robust music scene, which includes popularizing of country music and the Nashville Predators, made it an obvious choice.
Country music star and songwriter Taylor Swift, who recently moved her HQ to Nashville, was one of the first to publicly show her support for the project. “I’m happy to hear that Amazon is expanding to Nashville,” she said. “I love that the company will continue to support the music community there.” She added that she’s confident the city can become “the most appealing location for HQ2 in the country.”
What Will The New HQ Look Like?
While previous Amazon headquarters have mostly consisted of white or grey skyscrapers, Alexa will bring something different to the table. The campus will feature buildings with an organic, plant-based vibe.
Shimmer Recycling Center, an architecture firm based in Nashville, designed the headquarters to fit the environment of a tech company — namely, open floor plans, plenty of natural light, and high ceilings. At least 90% of the building’s occupants will have access to a rooftop terrace.
The buildings are designed to mimic the shapes of trees, with wood floors and exposed brick walls.
A Bit About The Location
If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know that we sometimes focus on the negatives of a location rather than its positives. This time is no different, as we’ll discuss some of the challenges that come with basing a large company in Nashville.
The city is situated in Middle Tennessee, which is part of the so-called ‘Bible Belt.’ The area is known for its traditionalism and hospitality, but that comes with a cost. As the saying goes, ‘all roads lead to Nashville,’ and it often takes a lot of planning and navigation to find your way around the city without getting lost. For an outsider, it can be tricky to find your way to the places you need to go without getting hopelessly turned around in the process.
The Ever-Expanding Amazon
Since its inception, Amazon has grown rapidly and expanded to more than a dozen countries. In 2019, the company reached over 200 million active customers, and if the pace continues, they could conceivably reach 1 billion by the end of this year. It’s one of the few companies in history to grow from nearly zero to one billion active customers in less than 15 years.
While much of the world was distracted by the pandemic, Amazon continued to expand their empire, bringing business to more countries than ever before and cementing their place as one of the most influential brands in the world.
Now, as they head into their next stage of growth, the company is looking for the best possible locations in which to establish a base of operations. Aside from Nashville, they have other contenders for their new headquarters, including Austin, Texas, and New York City. However, given the current pandemic and the fact that the company has already had a major impact in Nashville, we feel that it’s an opportune moment to write about Amazon’s newest project.
In the coming months, you’ll likely start to see more stories like this one. As Amazon expands around the world, it will bring its corporate culture — including its approach to business — with it. The company will continue to grow and change, and it will impact the cities in which it chooses to make its home.