Amazon Makes It Official: Selects New York City, Arlington For New Headquarters

Gladys Abbott
November 15, 2018

Amazon laid out its plans for two of the biggest economic development projects in the country on Tuesday, announcing that it will put major corporate outposts in New York City and Arlington, Va. Instead, it went with two of the nation's largest and most powerful metropolitan areas. Both New York and Arlington will see roughly 25,000 new job openings.

"If they see there's a crunch for talent, they're going to have to be more competitive and obviously the easiest way to be more competitive is to pay people more", she said.

Amazon - which initially launched a nationwide search for a single, region-transforming campus to supplement its Seattle base- said it made a decision to opt for two sites to gain greater access to brainpower. "These are fantastic cities that attract a lot of great talent", it said. Michael Gianaris and New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Democrats who represent the Long Island City area, in a joint statement.

The US online giant is to invest some $5 billion (€4.4 billion) in the two sites. It also makes movies and TV shows, runs an advertising business and offers cloud computing services to corporations and government agencies.

In the bid to lure Amazon, Dallas didn't promise the $2.1 billion level of financial incentives the company stands to get from NY and Virginia.

The new locations will join Seattle as the company's three headquarters in North America. In theory at least, the NY and Washington subway systems can ease housing price pressures by enabling workers to spread out. Google already has more than 7,000 workers in the city and, according to media reports, is looking to add 12,000 more in coming years.

The Washington area has long seemed like an obvious choice for Amazon, which has rapidly expanded its influence operation in the capital as its diverse business lines came under the eye of dozens of government agencies.

The funds, which have to be appropriated by the Virginia General Assembly, are created to decrease slightly in value if more than 10% of the new hires are focused on federal government contracts. The move could mean tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and millions in community investments, which would be a boon to any city.

"We like to win, and we're used to winning, so while we are disappointed, we understand Amazon's decision is one they believe is best for their company at this time", said Mike Rosa, senior vice president of economic development at the Dallas Regional Chamber.

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The new outposts won't appear overnight.

The new Washington headquarters will be located in National Landing, in Arlington, Virginia, and the New York City headquarters will be in the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens. Garreau defined Edge Cities as suburban places with new developments of five million square feet or more of office space, 600,000 sq. ft. or more of retail space, and a total number of jobs that exceeds the number of bedrooms.

NY promised Amazon $1.525 billion in incentives, including $1.2 billion over the next 10 years as part of the state's Excelsior tax credit.

"I don't know if this current market can handle this increased market all on its own", added the recruiter, speculating that in addition to potentially poaching workers from other local companies, Amazon will likely relocate employees from Seattle and new hires to the area, as well as offer other hires the ability to work remotely. It plans to hold company-wide events at the new locations, including shareholder meetings. Among its 20 finalists, the company had selected two locations in the NY metro area and three in the D.C. area.

Amazon, in a news release announcing its new headquarters Tuesday, said it intends to apply for those incentives, but did not quantify them.

Obviously, the outrage over subsidizing a company as rich as Amazon is only exacerbated by the fact CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest man on the planet.

That compares with a much larger average figure of $658,000 per job for other large deals, said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

It said Nashville, Tennessee would become Amazon's new East Coast hub of operations, creating another 5,000 positions.

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