Second Amazon headquarters a tale of two cities

Jermaine Castillo
November 7, 2018

News reports in recent days have said that the Seattle company has selected Northern Virginia and the NY borough of Queens to develop dual headquarters facilities that will employ 50,000 people.

Sources familiar with the matter tell The New York Times that Amazon has shifted gears and is now finalizing plans to build two new headquarters, one in Queens and another in the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia.

Amazon declined to comment when asked about the status of HQ2 negotiations, why it is reportedly splitting it to two locations and the criticism over the potential picks. Amazon received applications from 238 cities, which it narrowed to a list of 20 finalists.

50,000 new jobs into a single market.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, in 2012. Specifically, the Post reported that Crystal City, just outside Washington, D.C., is the frontrunner.

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Assume each employee makes an average of $100,000 a year, and we're talking about two communities that will wind up getting an extra $2.5 billion a year economic infusion each year based on salaries alone.

There has been recent conflicting reports on where Amazon will park it.

After it became clear finding a city that could lure 50,000 highly-paid tech workers wasn't as easy as it had thought, the Seattle company plans to add two new headquarters instead of one, both to spread the wealth and to give it access to the widest possible array of technical talent. Amazon has said the HQ2 project will come with a $5 billion investment.

WRAL TechWire heard a similar report several weeks ago but was unable to confirm the story.

Outside Amazon's headquarters in Seattle.

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Amazon expects to make its decision by the end of the year. And a big part of Amazon's hunt for the so-called HQ2 always seemed about generating favorable publicity for the trillion-dollar Godzilla's monster holiday season.

But, as one Wall Street Journal source noted, Amazon is "anything but predictable", meaning the company might go in a different direction altogether. "As a leading innovator across a range of industries, Amazon will draw other companies that want to poach its well-trained talent and who want to tap into the resources of the company".

"Usually, across the board, when you're dealing with a company and you've made proposals, they will let you know one way or another", Cooper said, speaking after a routine N.C. Council of State meeting.

I'd love to see some of that innovative energy applied to helping neighborhood businesses and smaller retailers - those most threatened by Amazon's relentless march - embrace new technology and thrive.

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