|Long Island City, New York|
|Crystal City, Virginia|
It is expected that Amazon will announce today that its new headquarters will be split between Crystal City, Virginia and Long Island City, New York, handing Virginia governor Ralph Northam a major economic victory. The other victor is the Long Island City portion of New York City which has already seen amazing redevelopment and gentrification over the last 20 years. When the announcement comes, it will underscore the reality that red states are making themselves increasingly unattractive to progressive corporations and businesses that want educated populations that are welcoming to a diverse work force. A piece in the New York Times looks at Amazon's decision and its likely economic impact. Here are highlights (the Washington Post also has a piece here):
After conducting a yearlong search for a second home, Amazon has finalized plans to have about 50,000 employees in two locations, according to a person familiar with the decision-making process.The company has decided to move to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, and to the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., a Washington suburb, the person said. Amazon, which plans to officially announce the decision on Tuesday, already has more employees in those two areas than anywhere else outside of Seattle, its home base, and the Bay Area.
The need to hire tens of thousands of high-tech workers has been the driving force behind the search, leading many to expect it to land in a major East Coast metropolitan area. Many experts had pointed to Crystal City as a front-runner, because of its strong public transit, educated work force and proximity to Washington.
About 1,800 people in advertising, fashion and publishing already work for Amazon in New York, and roughly 2,500 corporate and technical employees work in Northern Virginia and Washington.
Amazon announced plans for a second headquarters in September 2017, saying that the company was growing faster than it could hire in its hometown, Seattle. The company said it would invest more than $5 billion over almost two decades in a second headquarters, hiring as many as 50,000 full-time employees that would earn more than $100,000 a year on average.
HQ2 would be the “full equal to our current campus in Seattle,” the company said. Picking multiple sites allows it to tap into two pools of talented labor and perhaps avoid being blamed for all of the housing and traffic woes of dominating a single area. It could also give the company greater leverage in negotiating tax incentives, experts said.
The HQ2 search sent states and cities into a frenzied bidding war. Some hired McKinsey & Company and other outside consultants to help them with their bids, investing heavily in courting Amazon and its promise of 50,000 jobs. Even half of that would amount to one of the largest corporate location deals on record, according to Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, which tracks corporate subsidies. “These are very big numbers,” he said.
As Amazon’s search dragged on, residents in many of the 20 finalist cities worried about the impact such a massive project could have on housing and traffic, as well as what potential tax incentives could cost the community. The decision to split HQ2 into two sites could alleviate some of that resistance.
The piece in the Post notes as follows:Seattle has been one of the fastest growing cities in the country, in part because of Amazon’s growth. The company has about 45,000 employees in the city, and the company said it needed to hire more employees than the city could attract or absorb.
The choice of Crystal City in Arlington County as one of the winners could cement Northern Virginia’s reputation as a magnet for business and potentially reshape the Washington region into an eastern outpost of Silicon Valley over the next decade.
The decision hands Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and local leaders the largest economic-development prize in a generation — one promising billions of dollars in capital investments alone — but could also put pressure on the region’s already steep housing prices, congested roads, and yawning divide between wealthy and low-income residents.
It also would represent a victory for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who had joked that he would change his name to “Amazon Cuomo” if necessary to land the project.