Amazon to split second headquarters between New York and Northern Virginia

The online retail giant is also adding an Operations Center of Excellence in Nashville

Amazon picks NYC and Virginia

(RNN) – Amazon has picked locations in New York City and Northern Virginia for its second and third headquarters, according to a report published late Monday in The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon officially announced it on Tuesday in its blog.

“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.”

The new headquarters, known as HQ2, will be split between New York’s Long Island City and Arlington County’s National Landing - an apparent rebranding of Crystal City. The plan will bring 25,000 full-time jobs to New York and 25,000 to northern Virginia.

Amazon is also bringing an Operations Center of Excellence to downtown Nashville, TN, bringing 5,000 jobs to Music City.

Hiring at the three locations will begin in 2019.

The company has been searching for a suitable location for HQ2 since the fall of 2017. More than 200 cities and regions applied for the headquarters. A list of 20 finalists was announced in January.

Amazon said in its announcement that it chose two sites for HQ2 because “We can recruit more top talent by being in two locations. These are fantastic cities that attract a lot of great talent.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who heralded the deal with a video posted to Twitter, said: “This is a big win for Virginia – I’m proud Amazon recognizes the tremendous assets the Commonwealth has to offer and plans to deepen its roots here.”

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser also saluted the deal, saying: “We will continue preparing residents with the skills and knowledge they need for the jobs of the future, including at Amazon." She also said the city will work on some of the challenges they face, including infrastructure."

She also called on leaders in the region “to come together and agree to a concrete goal for affordable and workplace housing.”

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio praised Amazon’s choice. “New York City is about to get tens of thousands of new, good paying jobs and Amazon is about to meet the most talented work force in the world in one of the most diverse places on the planet. Welcome to Queens, HQ2.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised Amazon’s move. “When I took office, I said we would build a new New York State – one that is fiscally responsible and fosters a business climate that is attractive to growing companies and the industries of tomorrow. We’ve delivered on those promises and more, and today, with Amazon committing to expand its headquarters in Long Island City, New York can proudly say that we have attracted one of the largest, most competitive economic development investments in U.S. history,” he was quoted as saying in Amazon’s news release.

“It has never been clearer that Tennessee is a great place to do business, and we continue to attract a wide variety of global companies that provide high-paying, quality jobs for our residents,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in part.

Some expressed reservations about the deal.

Queens city councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and state Sen. Michael Gianaris released a joint statement expressing their dismay, saying: “The burden should be ... on Amazon to prove it would be a responsible corporate neighbor." They also said, "We were not elected to serve as Amazon drones.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a U.S. representative-elect from New York, also said in a tweet on Tuesday, “We need to focus on good healthcare, living wages, affordable rent. Corporations that offer none of those things should be met with skepticism. It’s possible to establish economic opportunities for working families instead of a race-to-the-bottom competition.”

All of the areas that landed Amazon locations used tax credits and other boons to lure the company. For instance, Amazon will benefit from a refundable tax credit through New York State’s Excelsior Program of up to $1.2 billion over the next 10 years, incentives of $573 million gained from choosing its Virginia location and “performance-based direct incentives of up to $102 million” from the state of Tennessee.

The tax incentives New York state gave Amazon amount to “$48,000 per job for 25,000 jobs with an average wage of over $150,000,” according to the news release.

As part of the deal to land the Amazon development in “National Landing,” Virginia will invest “$195 million in infrastructure in the neighborhood" where the HQ2 will be located, Amazon said.

In coordination with Amazon’s announcement, Virginia Tech announced it is opening a new $1 billion Virginia Tech Innovation Campus at Amazon’s HQ2 site, according to the Roanoke Times.

In New York, Amazon “has agreed to donate space on its campus for a tech startup incubator and for use by artists and industrial businesses, and Amazon will donate a site for a new primary or intermediary public school. The company will also invest in infrastructure improvements and new green spaces.”

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