Friday 20 September 2019

Amazon says second HQ to be split between New York and Virginia

Each base will create 25,000 new jobs.

Crystal City, in Arlington, Virginia (AP)
Crystal City, in Arlington, Virginia (AP)

By Joseph Pisani

Amazon has said it will split its much-anticipated second headquarters between New York and northern Virginia.

Each base will create 25,000 jobs.

In addition, the Seattle-based online retailer said it will open an operations hub in Nashville, Tennessee, creating another 5,000 jobs in America.

Its New York location will be in the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens, while its Virginia offices will be in a part of Arlington which Amazon is calling National Landing, an area around Reagan National Airport that encompasses Crystal City and Potomac Yard.

The decision ends intense competition between North American cities to win Amazon and its promise of 50,000 new jobs.

The New York HQ will be in Queens (AP)

Some locations tried to stand out with stunts, but Amazon made clear that it really wanted incentives, such as tax breaks and grants.

The company received 238 proposals before narrowing the list to 20 in January.

With Long Island City and National Landing, the company is choosing two waterfront communities away from overcrowded business districts, giving Amazon space to grow.

New York, already a financial and media powerhouse, has been trying to attract more tech workers.

Northern Virginia has been looking to fill its 1980s-era buildings after thousands of federal employees moved elsewhere.

Amazon is referring to the two new locations as headquarters even though with 25,000 jobs each, they would have fewer workers than its Seattle hometown that houses more than 40,000 employees.

Amazon said Seattle will remain as one of Amazon’s three headquarters.

The extra space will help the rapidly growing company. Launched in 1995 as an online bookstore, Amazon now produces movies, makes voice-activated Echo devices, runs the Whole Foods grocery chain, offers online services to businesses and designs its own brands of furniture, clothing and nappies.

Crystal City is hoping to fill its 1980s-era buildings (AP)

There were early signs that Amazon had its sights set on New York and northern Virginia. Among its 20 finalists, the company had selected two locations in the New York metro area and three in the DC area.

Being near the US capital could help Amazon with lobbying efforts as the company, and other fast-growing tech giants, face rising scrutiny from politicians.

On top of this, CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has a home in Washington DC, and he personally owns The Washington Post.

Amazon’s workforce has ballooned to more than 610,000 worldwide, and that is expected to increase as it builds more warehouses across the country to keep up with online orders.

The company recently announced that it would pay all its workers at least 15 dollars an hour (£11.60), but the employees at its second headquarters will be paid a lot more.

PA Media

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