Amazon Plans to Split HQ2 Between New York, Northern Virginia
After conducting a yearlong search for a second headquarters, Amazon.com has switched gears and is now finalizing plans to have a total of 50,000 employees in two locations, according to people familiar with the decision-making process. The internet retail giant is nearing a deal to move to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, according to two of the people briefed on the discussions. Amazon is also close to a deal to move to the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., a Washington suburb, one of the people said. Amazon already has more employees in those two areas than anywhere else outside of Seattle, its home base, and the Bay Area. Amazon declined to comment on whether it had made any final decisions.
Total Retail's Take: After much anticipation and fanfare, Amazon's apparent decision this week to split its HQ2 between two locations has left many disappointed and feeling duped. The HQ2 search sent states and cities into a frenzied bidding war, offering tax incentives and other perks to lure the company and its promise of 50,000 jobs. But was it ever really an open competition? Not according to outspoken author, professor, public speaker Scott Galloway, who railed against Amazon and its HQ2 selection process, saying it was little more than a dog-and-pony show to drive up the asking price (i.e., tax breaks) from the preferred locations. Here's what Galloway had to say on his podcast, Pivot, which he co-hosts with tech business journalist Kara Swisher:
"I lease office space all the time for my businesses and I always tell my real estate agent, ‘We can lease any office in the world as long as I can walk there from where I live.’ Amazon is now talking about having three headquarters, Seattle, Crystal City and Long Island City. The Bezos’ also own three homes, and the average distance from those three homes to a headquarters is 6.4 miles. This was never a contest. It was a con meant to induce ridiculous terms that they then took to the cites all along that they knew they were going to be in.
"This just has ill will written all over it, and I think people started to figure out what was going on … it’s the Olympics on steroids. A lot of high-fives and ribbon cutting, and then 10 years later we realize it was a bad idea."