Amazon.com Inc. will announce Tuesday that it has selected New York and Northern Virginia for its second headquarters, a source told Reuters, which ended a more than a year-long competition that has seen a frenzied supply of stores across North America.
Amazon’s plan to divide its second headquarters, dubbed “HQ2,” evenly between two cities will increase its presence in New York and the nation’s capital as it seeks to gain a recruiting edge over Silicon Valley tech companies.
The source, who is familiar with the matter, told Reuters that Amazon will also announce a significant investment in another city, in addition to revealing the two HQ2 locations.
The company had originally said, in September 2017, that it would spend more than $ 5 billion and add 50,000 workers in one location for its second headquarters.
Since then, it has received more than 200 proposals from cities and states that promise billions of dollars in tax breaks and other incentives in exchange for Amazon’s “HQ2.”
The tender locations also provided infrastructure, manpower and other data that could be useful in other ways for the world’s largest online retailer.
Among the finalists with whom Amazon had advanced talks were Dallas, Long Island City in New York and Arlington near Washington, DC, Reuters reported, citing sources.
The New York Times reported last week that Amazon was finalizing plans to select Long Island City, New York and the Crystal City area in Arlington, Virginia.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Amazon had made the decision.
Amazon did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Pros and cons
The headquarters split will give Amazon more diversity for recruiting and could also help lessen congestion and cost-of-living increases that would have accompanied a larger office.
The company has already had to solve similar problems on its urban campus of more than 45,000 people in Seattle.
An affordable housing crisis there prompted the city council to adopt a major business tax in May, which Amazon helped overturn in a subsequent city council vote.
The particular neighborhoods chosen by Amazon for its “HQ2” offer lower rents and more attractive zoning than nearby central business districts, according to a Brookings Institution report.
However, the split could also mean that the economic benefits for the hosts will be muted relative to expectations, especially given the size of the selected cities compared to some of the other contenders.
The two areas already have relatively low unemployment rates, and Fitch Ratings has noted that even a full HQ2 represents only 1.5 percent of the Washington area and 0.5 percent of the New York-area workforce.
Some critics have pushed for more transparency from cities and states in the bidding process, warning that the benefits of hosting a massive Amazon office cannot outweigh the incentives and other taxpayer-funded costs.
New York City Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned Amazon’s planned investment Monday night in a series of tweets.
“Amazon is a multi-billion dollar company. The thought that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax benefits at a time when our metro is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely troubling to consumers. residents here, “he said. wrote.
“When we talk about bringing jobs to the community, we need to dig deeper: – Has the company promised to hire the existing community? – What is the quality of the jobs + how many are promised? Are these low-wage or high-wage jobs? “Are there benefits? Can people collectively bargain? “
Amazon says it has helped boost Seattle’s economy indirectly by $ 38 billion between 2010 and 2016. Construction and service work increased there, catering to the retailer, and the company says it helped attract other Fortune 500 companies to Seattle
Amazon has already received more than $ 1.6 billion in state and local public subsidies in the United States since 2000, and most of that after 2012, according to a database by the Washington-based government watchdog. , Good Jobs First.
Some of the awards may not yet be in effect, and the awards can take many forms, from tax refunds and reductions to grants, loans, infrastructure assistance, and training rebates.