Amazon is set to announce it has selected New York and Northern Virginia for its new headquarter locations. The official announcement, set for Tuesday ends a year-long contest for the site.
The surprise split decision will see Amazon evenly split its second headquarters between New York’s Long Island City and Arlington County’s Crystal City neighborhoods; both locations are adjacent to their cities major hubs. The offices are expected to house up to 25,000 employees.
The year-long competition saw major cities woo tech giant
Amazon’s current headquarters are in Seattle, Washington. Amazon announced last year it would begin the search for new headquarters sparking an Olympics style competition between major US cities who wooed the Jeff Bezos owned company with promises of tax breaks, waterfront development, and high-speed internet infrastructure.
While the official announcement from both Amazon and the successful cities is yet to be made, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped hints during his weekly television appearance on Monday night. “We’re talking about the single biggest economic development deal in the history of New York City,” he said.
Google expands in New York
Amazon’s growth in New York puts it directly in competition with Google who is reportedly planning their own major push onto the Big Apple. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google umbrella company, Alphabet, will build office space for 12,000 new workers in New York.
Ruth Porat, Google financial chief confirmed the company plans to double its New York City staff of 7,000 over a decade while speaking at the Journal’s D. Live tech conference on Monday night. The addition of massive new business presence like Amazon is guaranteed to boost a cities economy.
Amazon headquarters a blessing and curse for cities
Looking at Seattle's history, there is no doubt the HQ of tech giants can also impact negatively; while there can be short-term growth for city officials and a small pool of reality developers and business owners.
Cities at a larger scale can suffer a sharp rise in housing prices and the cost of living. Many other impacts like loss of neighborhood identity are harder to measure.
There are more than 25,000 Amazon employees in Seattle, many of these are well-educated and well paid, earning over 100,000 USD per year. These are predominantly young, white males who have had an impact on a city that birth grunge rock.
Sustainable growth is key to happy communities
At the announcement of the HQ2 competition last year an open letter to Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos asked for the billionaire to make some commitments to the winning city that would ensure sustainable growth. "We love jobs, we love technology, and we love convenience — but what you’re looking for will impact every part of our cities," the letter said.
"We built these cities, and we want to make sure they remain ours." The letter was signed by organizations as diverse as Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) in LA to the Tenants Union of Washington State.