Amazon Ends Search for HQ2 with Selection of Two New Corporate-Headquarter Cities
It’s been over a year since Amazon first announced it was expanding into a second headquarters location and now the wait is finally over. The list of finalists announced in January has been narrowed down to not one, but two locations: Long Island City in New York and Crystal City in Virginia. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the e-commerce giant has indicated they’ll split operations evenly between the two locations, “with as many as 25,000 employees in each” area.When they announced HQ2 in September 2017, Amazon promised to bring approximately 50,000 jobs to the chosen city and $5 billion in investment. The prospect of investment and economic growth via Amazon left cities scrambling for an opportunity for consideration, with a total of 238 candidates throwing their hats in the ring late last year. Many were surprised last week when rumors arose that the company was considering a split between two cities and Amazon drew some criticism from cities that said they would’ve tailored their bids differently had they known there would be two HQ2’s.So, why split the spoils? According to the Journal, executives decided that talent recruitment would be much more feasible if they split between two locations. In addition, the two-city approach will “help ease potential issues with housing, transit and other areas where adding tens of thousands of workers could cause problems.”
A Look at the Cities
Many were unsurprised by the District of Columbia selection, as Bezos owns a second home in the area and owns the Washington Post. The Journal says city highlights include its access to Washington D.C., the airport and public transportation. “Adding to its appeal, it is also largely in the hands of a single developer.”The Long Island City location is, as the Journal calls it, a “pit against rival Google,” which recently announced massive office expansion in New York City. The longtime industrial neighborhood is growing quickly and “is accessible by multiple subway lines, the Long Island Rail Road and two ferry stops.” It’s also close to two international airports.At the end of the day, Crystal City and Long Island City both stood out for their “access to mass transit, proximity to an airport with direct flights to and from Seattle and—perhaps most important—a pool of available tech talent nearby.”
Real Estate Implications
In another report, The Wall Street Journal proclaims “Amazon’s Move to Long Island City Sparks Condo Frenzy,” as home buyers and searches in the area have surged when Long Island City was first rumored to be selecting the location a week ago. According to data obtained by StreetEasy.com, searches “for residential property in the neighborhood surged 295% from the same period a week earlier.”Agents described the current climate in Long Island City, calling it “bedlam,” with one broker saying he “sold 20 apartments via text” and heard from clients he hadn’t worked with in years, all wanting to get ahead of the Amazon deal and a “sure bet” that property values will rise when the tech giant officially comes to town.