Amazon chooses New York and Northern Virginia for additional headquarters

Gladys Abbott
November 13, 2018

Amazon has chose to split its new headquarters between New York City and a Washington suburb in Northern Virginia, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday night. It said the company was in advanced discussions with Crystal City, Dallas and New York City.

As NPR reported last week, Amazon's surprising decision to split HQ2 between the two is an anticlimactic ending for the much-publicized, Olympic-style search that lasted over a year and attracted 238 bids from across the USA and Canada.

The D.C. region was seen as a favorite to land the new headquarters, as many drew connections between founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and the nation's capital after he purchased the Washington Post and a mansion in D.C.'s prominent Kalorama neighborhood.

Construction and service work increased there, catering to the retailer, and the company says it helped attract other Fortune 500 businesses to Seattle.

The source, who is familiar with the matter, told Reuters that Amazon will also announce a significant investment in one other city, in addition to revealing the two HQ2 locations.

The project is expected to bring 25,000 jobs to each of the locations. While Seattle has experienced a boom in tax revenue and an influx of white-collar professionals due in part to Amazon's presence, the city has also struggled with skyrocketing property values that fueled an ongoing homelessness crisis.

It's unclear how large Amazon's outposts on the East Coast will ultimately grow.

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Reports to this effect first ran last week in the Journal and in The New York Times.

However, both metro areas already have some of the highest housing costs in the country and congested traffic. Each getting half of the 50,000 employees.

Amazon's publicly disclosed selection criteria for HQ2 had included a highly educated pool of potential workers, easy access to an worldwide airport as well as mass transit, and a business-friendly tax structure.

This has put a spotlight on the typically obscure negotiations for corporate development that go on between companiesand local officials.

The new sites in NY and Northern Virginia will add to Amazon's existing headquarters in Seattle, which consists of 8.1m sq ft over 33 buildings, with 24 restaurants and 40,000 employees.

Already, the NY project has drawn criticism from state Sen. In a New York Times op-ed, New York State Assembly member Ron Kim and Fordham professor Zephyr Teachout proclaimed "this whole tournament has been a sham". Dozens of cities competed to lure Amazon to their locales, offering tax breaks and other incentives in the process. Amazon has said it might consider some also-rans for other projects.

Amazon had stipulated that it wanted to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be within 45 minutes of an worldwide airport; have direct access to mass transit; and have room to expand.

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