Amazon Confirms Selection of New York and Virginia for HQ2

Seattle-based Amazon finally announced that it has selected two locations for its next major corporate outposts. Referring to the planned sites as headquarters, the company will eventually bring 25,000 employees to both Long Island City in Queens, New York and the Crystal City area in Arlington, Virginia, outside of Washington DC. Amazon also revealed plans to build a third facility in Nashville, Tennessee — an operations facility that will house 5,000 employees. The new headquarters are expected to cost $5 billion in construction and investments.

According to Amazon, the company could receive $2.4 billion in tax incentives from New York, Virginia and Tennessee.

“Up to $1.2 billion of that will come from New York state’s Excelsior program, a discretionary tax credit,” reports The New York Times. “In Virginia, the company could receive up to $550 million in cash incentives from the state. Both programs are tied to the number of jobs the company creates — if Amazon’s hiring falls short of projections, the incentive payments will be smaller.”

The announcement concludes the widely-publicized 14-month competition between cities looking to attract the tech giant and the promise of new jobs and an expanded tech community. “Critics warned against using public money to help one of the most valuable companies in the world, and of the potential for higher housing costs and traffic problems,” notes NYT.

Amazon and other tech giants are facing increased political scrutiny for a range of reasons, but Amazon “is becoming geographically entrenched across America — offering it potential grass-roots support — as it also becomes formidable in a number of sectors such as retail, government contracting and entertainment,” explains The Washington Post. “Amazon is now the second-largest employer in the United States after Walmart, giving it access to more lawmakers, mayors and public officials whom it can try to influence and whose support it can try to enlist.”

“Increasingly, Amazon will be challenged as being the big Goliath,” suggested Thomas Cooke of Georgetown University. “Attention will turn to Washington DC, and certainly Capitol Hill … I can’t think of a better location to be in to fight those battles than to be in Washington.”

Amazon announced yesterday that it plans to start hiring in New York, Virginia and Tennessee next year. “In all three locations, the average salary for new employees will exceed $150,000 per year,” CNBC reports. “That six-figure salary looks very different in Nashville, though, where $150,000 will stretch much further than in New York City or Arlington.”

Amazon, Google Poised for Race to Hire High-Tech Talent, The Wall Street Journal, 11/13/18
Dominating Retail? Yes. Reviving a City? No Thanks, The New York Times, 11/13/18
Amazon Chases Skilled Work Forces, Not Low Taxes and Light Regulations, USA Today, 11/13/18

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