Study: Amazon HQ2 pick would force Indy apartment building boom

The logo of US online retail giant Amazon is displayed on the Brieselang logistics center, west of Berlin on November 11, 2014. The center is one of nine in Germany. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A new study conducted by the Zillow Group predicts Indianapolis would need to embark on an apartment unit construction boom to meet the residential needs of thousands of employees should Amazon pick the city as the site for its second North American headquarters.

Indianapolis is one of 20 cities Amazon is considering for its $5 billion headquarters which would promises to add 50,000 high-paying jobs to the local economy of the metro area with the winning bid.

Among the smallest finalists, surrounded by the most rural acreage prime for housing development, Indianapolis is one of the most affordable cities on the Amazon list.

HotPads, a division of the Zillow Group, released a study that anticipates Indianapolis would need to add 1,960 apartment units for every year of Amazon’s anticipated seven-year build out to keep pace with the additional employees who would relocate to the city.

Currently, Indianapolis boasts 14,000 available rental units from in the metro area stretching as far northeast as Anderson at a current median rent of $1,235 per month.

That places Indianapolis in the top five of the cities that would need to explode their rental markets to meet Amazon’s needs, but that apartment growth is tempered by the affordable undeveloped land in central Indiana that could conceivably be home to new single-family housing communities.

An earlier Zillow study predicted Indianapolis would see a negligible increase in the monthly rate of apartment rental costs.

Raleigh, North Carolina, and Columbus, Ohio, would face the greatest challenges to build rental units as quickly as possible to hold the line on housing inflation while rents would accelerate the most in Nashville, Denver and the Los Angeles areas.

A separate study, released this summer by Prosperity Indiana and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, claimed Hoosiers need to earn an hourly housing wage of $15.56 to afford a two-bedroom apartment and utilities at a statewide fair market rent of $809.

Some analysts have listed Northern Virginia and Atlanta as the leading contenders for the final choice as Amazon’s second home, touting their access to large metro areas or proximity to political power.

Indianapolis’ bid to host the worldwide shipping and retail company has been shrouded in secrecy, spearheaded by the Indy Chamber of Commerce which, as a private entity, is not subjected to the state’s Open Records Act.

Other top 20 finalists have reportedly crafted bids that include billions of dollars in tax incentives.

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