Is Amazon doubling down on HQ2?

Monday evening, the New York Times reported that Seattle-based Amazon was nearing a deal to place it's oft-debated "HQ2" in not one city, but two: Crystal City (Virginia) and Long Island City, New York.

An official statement has yet to come from either Amazon or the cities being mentioned this week, but we've curated a selection of articles we're reading that highlight the current state of the quest to bring Amazon's HQ2 to a new American city or region.

🏢 If you're looking to take a gamble on where HQ2 lands, real estate may be your best bet. Suffice it to say the REIT, which is a top landlord in Amazon’s target location of Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood and boasts a mixed-use portfolio of over 20 million square feet, has benefited from the buzz surrounding the HQ2 contest. JBG Smith shares hit an all-time high of $40.23 on Monday and have outperformed the vast majority of companies in Bloomberg’s REIT index. The stock is up 14% on the year compared to a 3% decline posted by the overall group.

Read more at Yahoo! Finance

🔎 So, what and where exactly is Crystal City? First, Arlington County government lists Crystal City as one of over a dozen neighborhoods within its purview. The name, according to the county, derives from that of an early residential building in the neighborhood, the Crystal House, which had a big crystal chandelier in its lobby. Other buildings in the previously industrial area followed suit.

Learn more about Virginia's Crystal City with his article from Curbed Washington D.C.

🚚 While the moving trucks aren't quite fueled up, the prospect that they could be heading to Crystal City has been the first topic brought up to local real estate agents. How will it change the city? How will it impact listings and prices? One thing seems certain: Prepare for surging property prices, lots of new jobs, and increased traffic.

Read more in CNBC

🤔 Historically, Long Island City was home to warehouses, strip clubs, dive bars and other seedy venues. But today, much of that has been torn down and replaced by high-rise luxury apartment buildings. Already, new tenants are moving in: Bloomingdale's is getting ready to move into a 550,000-square-foot office right up the street. JetBlue has a massive office nearby, too. And there are new residential buildings being constructed along every block.

Read more about how Amazon fits into Queens.


🍟Fast Food Searches for Employees in Unlikely Places
Are seniors the new teens for America's fast food establishments? With record low unemployment combined with a lackluster interest in fast food jobs by Gen Z, it sure seems that way.

Many of the jobs typically snatched up by teenagers at fast-food restaurants are now going to senior citizens. Thanks to a tight labor market and older Americans staying in the job market, fast-food chains have started recruiting through advertisements in publications geared toward older adults and at senior centers and churches. The movement toward older workers makes sense — companies get employees with years of work experience for the same wage they’d pay a teenager, says Bloomberg.

Read more in Bloomberg

📦The Value of Free Shipping
In a bid to gain consumer's dollars, a handful of retailers have started to announce free shipping for orders this holiday season.

With the temporary reprieve this holiday, it got one research team wondering about how shipping charges have changed consumer habits in a world that is dictated by Amazon, eCommerce and shipping.

This Harvard study highlights a strong link between an online retailer’s product assortment decisions and shipping policies in determining purchase outcomes and profits. Consumers are less sensitive to shipping fees than to product prices, but free shipping for orders above the minimum is a strong motivator for increasing average basket sizes.

Read more: Harvard Business School

😱Where Brain Drain Happens
Brain drain is the term used for the exodus of education, talent, and skills from a specific city or region.

This week, the annual Brain Drain Index revealed the cities that were most impacted by the departure of and the arrival of that talent.

Top Cities Experiencing Brain Drain:

Hanford, CA

Kankakee, Il

Charleston, WV

Wichita Falls, TX

St Joseph, MO

Top Cities Acquiring Brain Concentration:

Boulder, CO

Fort Collins, CO

San Jose, CA

Durham, NC

San Francisco, CA

Read more about the index findings at Bloomberg.

The Big Idea 🤔

🚀9 Most Technically Innovative Ecommerce Brands of 2018
In ecommerce, glitz and glam matter – a lot. In fact, brands that focus on the look & feel of their sites or who bring to market a whole new business model often grace the headlines of The New York Times, Fast Company and Forbes.

What gets overlooked, however, is technical innovation. After all, it’s a harder pitch.

Read More: BigCommerce

🚀7 Million Job Openings
The level of job openings in the U.S. edged lower in September but was still well ahead of the total number of people looking for work, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

Vacancies edged lower to just over 7 million, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

The JOLTS report measures the level of employment vacancies as well as those who have left their positions. The previous count, for August, showed a record high of 7.3 million openings, a number revised higher in the report Tuesday. Consensus estimates from FactSet had pointed to a slight decrease for September, but still at 7.125 million.

Read More: CNBC