Split: Amazon plans for two HQ2 locations
In a surprise ending to a year-long search, Amazon plans to split its second headquarters between two cities, said Laura Stevens and Shayndi Raice in The Wall Street Journal. The online giant will likely divide the so-called HQ2 between New York and Arlington, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. Amazon, which has its home base in Seattle, in January narrowed its search to 20 cities, from an initial 238 proposals. Cities have competed with tax incentives of as much as $7 billion in a “ferocious attempt to woo Amazon.” Amazon has said HQ2 would house 50,000 employees; the new plan would split that into 25,000 in each locale.
This plan comes off as a “bait-and-switch,” said David Streitfeld in The New York Times. Amazon had a chance to do something transformative. Instead it created a media stunt, ending up with two East Coast cities that are already talent hubs. “Amazon could have pulled a new region of the country onto the ‘haves’ list,” says one entrepreneur who submitted a proposal for Oklahoma. In the end, the big winner in Amazon’s beauty contest is…Amazon. It’s culled tons of data about what cities would pay for its presence, and by setting up a national guessing game has cemented its brand as not just the everything store but also “the everything company.”