After over a year of searching, Amazon has officially chosen the two sites that will house the company’s new headquarters – known as ‘HQ2’. Queens, NY and Arlington, VA – Long Island City and Crystal City, specifically – were selected amongst the considerable amount of cities that had thrown their hats into the ring, including many that publicly attempted to influence the corporate titan with billion-dollar tax breaks and even the renaming of a town to ‘Amazon’.
Ultimately, CEO Jeff Bezos and his company decided on two major metro areas on the east coast. Both cities fulfilled Amazon’s criteria for candidates: population over 1 million, close proximity to a major airport, and a strong university system. The decision will see the company invest $5 billion across the two locations, creating over 50,000 jobs in the process.
In a statement, Bezos said:
“We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia. These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come.”
According to Deadline, The two locations will offer more than $2 billion in tax incentives for Amazon – a $1.2 billion tax credit from New York and $500 million in cash incentives from Virgina.
While once an old manufacturing town, Long Island City is currently one of the fastest-developing neighborhoods in New York. City officials, though, have voiced reservations regarding this new deal, including their dismay with corporate tax breaks for the multi-billion dollar company. Congressmember-elect for NY-14, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, being among the most vocal:
According to Bloomberg, Victor Hoskins, head of Arlington county’s economic development agency, claims that Amazon chose Crystal City for its educated workforce, transit system, and room for growth, rather than tax incentives. Amazon wanted to ensure space for its new offices as well as ease of transportation for its thousands of new employees. Though, the county will still be giving Amazon a portion of hotel taxes, a number that is expected to be around $23 million over the next 15 years
Being in two of the largest metro areas on the east coast, these two cities may be more apt to deal with such growth than Amazon’s current home-city of Seattle – where there exists tension between the corporate giant and city officials. Some politicians there blame the company for increasing property values and gridlock on their highways. There’s no doubt that such an influx of wealth and jobs will have an affect on any city, but Amazon has sent a subtle message to Seattle by proving that, if their relationship continues to deteriorate, they have no problem operating their business elsewhere.
On a smaller note, Amazon will also be opening an operations center in Nashville that will create more than 5,000 jobs for the city.
AMZN shares are up $23.14 as of writing this article.