Amazon's quest for a second North American headquarters has thrust 20 cities into a cutthroat "Hunger Games" style contest.
Today marks the opening of Amazon's new glass dome Spheres where workers are encouraged to meet with coworkers, ponder the world as Amazon knows it, or just cool out. There are no closed office spaces, with collaboration taking place along paths or in tree houses.
Amazon has invested $3.7 billion on buildings and infrastructure in Seattle from 2010 to summer 2017, a figure that has public officials competing for its HQ2 salivating. Amazon has said that it expects to invest more than $5 billion in construction of HQ2 and to create as many as 50,000 jobs. The finalists, from Boston and NY to Austin, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio, largely fit the bill of being big metropolises that can attract highly educated tech talent.
"These unique buildings are so much more than a handsome creative space for Amazon employees", Washington State governor Jay Inslee said in a statement.
Part of a $4bn expansion, the spheres are designed as communal working areas complete with benches and study spaces.
Amazon started the frenzied HQ2 contest last summer and plans to pick a victor later this year.
The Understory, which is the free visitor center at the base of the Spheres, is open to the public Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.to 7 p.m.