Amazon HQ Is Going to NYC and Arlington, Virginia

Devin Lawrence
November 15, 2018

"These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come", said Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, who last year called for proposals for an "HQ2" with equivalent status to Seattle, in the northwestern USA state of Washington.

The site of Amazon's other new headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia, is not in an opportunity zone, nor is the site of another major Amazon office in Nashville, Tennessee, that was also announced Tuesday.

Nonetheless, the extra space will help the rapidly growing company.

Maryland and New Jersey each dangled more than $7 billion in tax credits and other sweeteners in hopes of securing a single "full equal" headquarters to Amazon's Seattle home. Watch their remarks in the player above.

The decision would end an intense competition between North American cities to win Amazon and its promise of 50,000 new jobs. Boston said it would set up an "Amazon Task Force" of city employees who would work on Amazon's behalf.

Let's hope the potential economic boost for NY isn't fly-by-night. Up to $1.2 billion of that will come from NY state's Excelsior program, a discretionary tax credit.

Others voiced worries that the influx of workers would drive up housing costs, crowd highways and otherwise strain local resources, as Amazon's expansion has in its hometown of Seattle, where it employs more than 45,000 people. "The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here", she wrote.

According to NY officials the combined incentives offered for the Queens site total almost $3 billion, including both direct grants and tax breaks and commitments to improvements related to the project.

Amazon, which started as an online bookstore two decades ago, has grown to a behemoth that had almost $180 billion in revenue previous year. It also makes movies and TV shows, runs an advertising business and offers cloud computing services to corporations and government agencies.

One Twitter user uncovered that some of the investment Amazon says they will be providing for the local community had already been planned for the site. Roughly one-third of residents in Washington, D.C., and 40 percent in NY pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing, the groups, which include LeRoy's Good Jobs First, pointed out.

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In 1990, Citibank completed 1 Court Square, a 49-story, 1.5 million-square-foot tower, to create low-priced space for back-office workers.

Arlington is directly across the Potomac River from Washington.

The funds, which have to be appropriated by the Virginia General Assembly, are created to decrease slightly in value if more than 10% of the new hires are focused on federal government contracts. Being near the nation's capital could help Amazon with lobbying efforts as the company faces rising scrutiny from politicians.

He added: "While other locations may be disappointed not to have secured Amazon's favour, it does not mean they will miss out entirely".

The new outposts won't appear overnight.

The city in recent years has used its highly educated workforce to fuel a roaring economy and was widely considered a top contender for Amazon's so-called HQ2.

The company confirmed on Tuesday it had selected the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens and National Landing in Arlington, close to Washington DC, with each getting 25,000 jobs as part of a $5bn total investment. In offering incentives to Amazon, he said, NY and Virginia are effectively subsidizing a big, incumbent company at the expense of local businesses and start-ups.

Amazon could receive more than $2 billion in tax incentives in NY and Virginia, the company said in its HQ2 announcement. It plans to hold company-wide events at the new locations, including shareholder meetings. Among its 20 finalists, the company had selected two locations in the NY metro area and three in the D.C. area.

Obviously, the outrage over subsidizing a company as rich as Amazon is only exacerbated by the fact CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest man on the planet.

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