Amazon Trying to Finalize Plans to Open HQ2 in LIC

Amazon Trying to Finalize Plans to Open HQ2 in LIC

In the end, Amazon went for pragmatic, not dramatic.

The surprise decision to divide the second headquarters between two cities that already have a considerable Amazon presence is an anticlimactic ending for the much-hyped, Olympic-style search.

Two days earlier, The Washington Post (owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos) reported that Amazon is in "advanced talks" about putting its second headquarters, nicknamed HQ2, in Northern Virginia.

The newspapers cited unnamed people familiar with the matter in their reports. Since announcing its short list in January, Amazon has given virtually no publicupdates beyond reiterating that a decision would be made this year.

Amazon's decision to set up another headquarters set off an intense competition to win the company and its promise of 50,000 new jobs. More than a quarter of its US tech and managerial workers are already based outside Seattle. And some tech workers are unlikely to want to live in a sanitized neighborhood with no history or restaurants and stores that have opened organically rather than by design, though Sperling argues that the lack of a commute and a lower cost of living could tempt employees. For example, Amazon's Atlanta offices focus on fulfillment technologies, while Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania hosts machine translation research.

"If HQ2 came to NY, with its influx of tech workers, the campus could exacerbate several problems that already plague the city, including high housing prices, overpopulation, and gridlock - all things Seattle, Amazon's home, has seen since the company arrived in the late 1990s", Business Insider's Leanna Garfield reported in January 2018.

What are cities offering Amazon?

By the time the deadline hit five weeks later, 238 proposals were submitted. In total, Amazon received proposals from 238 cities previous year and reduced the list down to 20 finalists in January.

Naturally, cities queued up to offer enticing incentives, including large subsidies, in order to lure the retail giant into selecting their area as Amazon's new home.

An Amazon executive took a swipe at the Washington Post report on Saturday.

Seattle's tech-fueled economy led to rent increases that helped exacerbate a local problem of homelessness. As the Times reported, there have been 41 new apartment buildings built in Long Island City since 2010, and a year ago, more new apartments were built in Long Island City than in any other neighborhood in New York City.

Anxiety about what Amazon's arrival might mean in the finalist cities is high in some circles.

Amazon already has more employees in those two areas than anywhere else except its current sole home base of Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area, the Times points out. New York's 1,800 Amazon employees are mainly in fashion, publishing, and advertising, while the 2,500 Arlington-area employees are mainly in corporate and technical roles.

"The Amazon jobs are just the tip of the iceberg", said Jeffrey Schulman, a marketing professor at the University of Washington business school who has studied the company's effects on Seattle. While those kinds of jobs would be fantastic to have in the future, "we need to add housing and transport first", added Wilcox, who previously ran the Billerica company E Ink, which supplies screens for Amazon's Kindle readers.

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