They say that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. But what if saying that in the first place was itself a bad idea?
In the rush to meet the deadline to attract Amazon’s second headquarters and its 50,000 employees for the so-called “HQ2” project, groups from cities including Austin have put together bids to catch the Seattle corporate behemoth’s eye. Some are just sad (really, a surf board, Long Beach?), others are a little bit more out-there, such as Frisco’s offer to build its town out around Amazon.
While we don’t yet know the details of the bid the Austin Chamber of Commerce put together, we’ve uncovered from secret, possibly sketchy, maybe nonexistent sources that there were several rejected ideas that never made it into the proposal. These could be completely made up! (OK, there’s a 100 percent probability they are made up.)
Regardless, in the spirit of keeping Austin weird(ish), here are some of those rejected ideas:
A kingdom for cat-loving Amazonians
An Internet-driven business that doesn’t appreciate cats, who have given us all so much joy online, is probably not going to succeed. One rejected proposal, from an unidentified local business owner, suggests building out a luxurious Amazon office building above a pre-existing local cat café in East Austin. Catazon HQ2 would feature a rooftop terrace catnip garden, dangling feathers across the exterior, catwalks to allow felines to access all levels of the complex and a self-cleaning multipurpose kitty litter box/parking lot with enough room for 5,000 vehicles and 10,000 cats, depending on their size and, um, output. The rooftop bar would be called “Pick o’ the Litter.”
Movie stardom for Jeff Bezos
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is not known as an attention hog, but who wouldn’t want a juicy role in a splashy action movie as a charismatic villain? If HQ2 comes to Austin, local filmmaker Robert Rodriguez will agree to cast the surprisingly buff Bezos in the role of “Kindle Bookman,” a scheming businessman trying to tear down Machete’s home and gentrify the neighborhood in a new film, “Machete Prime.”
Come Vaughan down, Amazon!
The city will replace the head of the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue with the head of Jeff Bezos, complete with new hat. There are two options, really: Lop off Stevie’s head and replace with the bronze visage of our new retail overlord gazing upon the newly named Amazonian Shores Park. Or one could simply go to town on Stevie with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch and reshape the legendary guitarist’s mug with that of Mr. Bezos. The city is also open to renaming Stevie's landmark album “Bezos Flood."
‘Alexa, join our music scene’
Every guitar and bass amplifier in Austin will be retrofitted with Alexa voice controls, whether the player wants it or not. No more of this pesky going to local guitar shops for a new tube or transistor or cord. Austin music fans, get used to hearing "Alexa order new strings" from the Continental Club stage.
You like books? We got bookshelves
Sure, the city of Austin and invested millions and millions of dollars in the new Central Library, but who needs a new beautiful Central Library when you could turn it into the world’s best-looking Amazon warehouse? Under this proposal, this future jam downtown Austin would be converted into just another Amazon warehouse complete with extremely tired workers, searingly infinite shelves and lots and lots of bubble wrap. As you might imagine, it will not be open to the public. Ever. For any reason. But it will have absolutely incredible windows and stairs.
Austin Prime streaming
Texas film incentives may have been slashed over the years, but Austin is willing to roll out the red carpet for the next slate of Amazon original programming. "The Man in the High Castle goes to Texas!" A new season of “Transparent” that takes place entirely at The Domain and won’t at all be affected by bathroom bills from the Texas legislature! And what will obviously be the most important new program: "Austin Stories: 20 Years Later.” To supplement this idea, the city of Austin agrees to force 20 percent of Austin’s population to watch Golden Globe-winning “Mozart in the Jungle,” instead of just saying they plan to watch it someday.
Bats and drones, working together
Here at the Austin American-Statesman, let’s just say we have the inside track when it comes to having accesss to millions of high-flying, go-getting creatures of the night. Yes, we may not technically own Austin’s free-tail bats, but we know where to find them and we have a plan to supplement Amazon’s adorable drone program with nature’s original drone army: lots and lots of sonar-wielding bats. There must be some way to get all these bats and all these drones on the same page to create the world’s greatest and fangiest delivery service. Build HQ2 on Lady Bird Lake and a practically unlimited supply of cheap bat labor will be at your disposal. Oh, and uh, please buy the American-Statesman while you’re at it.