Amazon picks NY and Northern Virginia for HQ2, report says

Jermaine Castillo
November 14, 2018

Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O will on Tuesday announce it has selected NY and Northern Virginia for its second headquarters, a source told Reuters, ending a more than year-long contest that has seen frenzied bidding from locales across North America. After narrowing it down to 20, company representatives visited each city.

According to an Amazon press release, one half of the so-called HQ2 will soon land in Long Island City, where it will purportedly create 25,000 jobs in exchange for a cool $1.5 billion in state incentives.

It was reported earlier this month that Amazon was examining the option of creating two separate 25,000-person campuses, in part due to the need to hire enough tech talent and partly to ease housing and traffic concerns.

As with New York, Amazon must meet certain job-creation and salary benchmarks in order to receive the full amounts of the grants. The announcement and investment strategy made no mention of Amazon.

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Ocasio-Cortez joined a skeptical chorus that already includes state senator Michael Gianaris and Queens City Council Member Jimmy van Bramer, who have voiced their opposition to any tax breaks for Amazon.

The company had originally said, in September 2017, that it would spend more than $5 billion and add up to 50,000 workers at a single location for its second headquarters.

In its statement, Amazon said that while incentives were a factor in the company's decision to choose the two locations, "attracting top talent was the leading driver".

Last January, almost three months after 238 cities submitted bids for the project, Amazon narrowed down its list of potential headquarters cites to 20 finalists.

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The move will boost Amazon's presence around New York City and the nation's capital, while also giving it more of a foothold in the center of the country as it seeks to gain a recruiting edge over Silicon Valley tech companies. Two HQ2 projects would also ensure that Seattle remains Amazon's definitive headquarters. "It is unfathomable that we would sign a $3 billion check to Amazon in the face of these challenges". We've seen that major investments like these can bring not only thousands of direct jobs but also lead to job growth in other industries. Stephane Kasriel, the CEO of the freelancing platform Upwork and the co-chair of the World Economic Forum initiative, chalks up the concentration of jobs in big cities to a lack of imagination.

Launched in 1995 as a site that mostly sells books, Amazon now produces movies, makes voice-activated Echo devices, runs the Whole Foods grocery chain, offers online services to businesses and designs its own brands of furniture, clothing and diapers.

The company's push to build a second home base highlights how massively Amazon has expanded during its 20-plus year history.

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