Did Amazon’s Monumental HQ2 Choices Surprise You?

After 14 months of waiting, Amazon has finally announced the new locations for its East Coast headquarters. Rather than one central hub, the online-retail behemoth decided to split into two: Long Island City in Queens, N.Y., and Crystal City in Arlington, Va.–just outside of Washington. The company also plans to open a smaller location in Nashville, Tenn., which will become its Center of Excellence for its Operations business, which handles the company’s customer fulfillment, transportation, supply chain and other similar items.

Amazon plans to invest roughly $5 billion to construct the locations, and each building will house 25,000 employees (Nashville will have 5,000 employees).

“We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”

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According to its website, Amazon was looking for a location with strong local and regional talent–particularly in software development and related fields. The site also notes that economic incentives played a part in the decision.

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Margaret O’Mara, a historian at the University of Washington told the New York Times that the headquarters selection process was a “genius” move meant to extract more incentives from the vying locations.

“This has been a hallmark of Amazon and other tech companies since the very beginning,” she said. “They have been unwilling to pay any tax unless they absolutely have to, and they have leveraged their market power and the psychic place they hold to get away with it.”

Danielle King
Danielle Westermann Kinghttp://
Danielle Westermann King is a former staff writer for HRE.