Tech companies need to do more in planning their moves into a city to keep negative impacts on a city top of mind: Opposing view

When a tech company like Amazon moves into a city, or even when there are rumblings of such an occurrence, real estate prices begin creeping up steadily. Over time, increased development causes prices to skyrocket to levels that are beyond the reach of the city’s residents.

These new housing projects are almost certainly being laid out for the new tech executives who will be drawn to the new city, and the local residents are callously cast aside. For this reason, it is not at all surprising that community groups would react with alarm.

Yes, some nontechnology professionals in these new cities are equally well paid and capable of affording these new housing units. But the majority of the locals cannot afford them, and that is an unacceptable level of disregard.

It is somewhat of a cruel, mixed blessing where the presence of a tech giant brings cities new investments, newly created jobs and a mostly positively enhanced reputation.

But the tech companies need to do far more in planning their moves into a city to keep their inevitably negative impacts on a city top of mind.

It is unwise and somewhat ironic that a technology company, one supposed to be in the business of providing solutions, cannot enter a city to set up shop without creating a chaotic mess, which can quickly accelerate into a full blown crisis.

OUR VIEW: Lots of high-paying jobs? Not in my backyard!

Amazon distribution center in Las Vegas. (Photo: Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

As a commercial real estate and finance professional, I know how quick and efficient it would be to create and put in place an effective plan for each tech company’s entrance into a new city — a plan that is more thoughtful toward the city’s residents.

As a result, I almost cringe when I think of the many cities that have suffered from these grand entrances of tech companies that ought to be almost completely positive experiences.

Robert J. Watkins, an Atlanta-based financial and real estate expert, is the CEO of the Conquer Worldwide financial services firm.

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