HQ2:14 Months and 2 Cities Later

After a year-long competition, Amazon has finally announced their location for their second headquarters, HQ2. In a turn of events, Amazon did not just announce one location, but two. The multi-billion dollar company plans on splitting their new base between New York City and Arlington County in Northern Virginia.  

Both locations are expected to split HQ2 equally. CNET reports each location is expected to land 25,000 jobs of the promised 50,000 jobs. The jobs are only a  part of the promised return for New York’s $1.525 billion and Virginia’s $573 million in incentives for Amazon to choose their city.

New York and Virginia weren’t the only cities that were part of Tuesday’s announcement. Nashville, Tenn. will also be home to a new smaller Amazon facility that will bring 5,000 new jobs to the city. The plant will be a “center of excellence” according to CNET which means it will handle customer fulfillment, transportation and other activities.

Amazon began the hunt for a second headquarters in Sept of last year. Cities had until October to pitch a proposal for their city to the company. In January a list of 20 finalists was announced, cities such as Atlanta, Boston, Miami and even Raleigh. An Amazon team then visited each finalist throughout the spring and summer.

Cities such as Raleigh were offering Amazon their largest incentive packages ever, worth $277 million to try to convince them their city was the right fit.

Greg Leroy, the executive director of Good Jobs First, told WIRED Magazine that Amazon is only the sixth company he recalls facilitating a public bidding war. Telsa’s public bidding war in 2014 netted them $1.3 billion compared to Amazon’s nearly $2.2 billion for HQ2. Apple was awarded $1 billion to open a data center in Iowa in 2017 and Foxconn received $4 billion for a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin.

Amazon’s move brought how major companies have benefitted from taxpayers funds to the front page day after day. WIRED Magazine reports local politicians can spend up to an estimated $90 billion to lure corporations to the states. This time the negotiations were happening in the limelight instead of behind closed doors.

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