Amazon will announce New York City and Northern Virginia as the winners of its year-long search for a second headquarters as early as Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday night, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
In addition, other cities “may also receive major sites,” the newspaper reported.
The report, not yet confirmed by Amazon, is the latest sign that the company will split the $5 billion project and its promised 50,000 jobs among multiple sites. Earlier reports of the plan to split the project prompted criticism of the company, given the massive response from cities around the country to its original request for proposals for the massive new headquarters.
“It never was about a second headquarters,” said urbanist Richard Florida in a recent interview with GeekWire. “I think this was always about sourcing, siting much more than just a single headquarters,” added Florida, who has criticized Amazon’s quest for tax incentives as part of the search. He said he believed “Amazon played this perfectly.”
“The people who played this poorly were the mayors and governors and economic developers across America who got down on their hands and knees and gave Amazon reams of data, reams of information, crowdsourced them the richest site selection database and economic development database in history and offered them incentives,” he said. “Amazon played this right. I’ve been saying this for a long time. These mayors know one another. They should’ve stood together. They should have said, ‘We’re not having this,’ but they caved, and so they were played like a fiddle. These communities all across America were played like a fiddle.”
GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg filed this report today from Crystal City, the Arlington, Va., neighborhood believed to be Amazon’s likely home in Virginia. Even before the official announcement, demand for office space and homes in the city has started to rise in response to the rumors of Amazon’s decision, according to developers and real estate agents in the city.
In the Seattle region, the company’s first hometown, the news of the likely split has been welcomed by leaders who were previously concerned about the HQ2 plan.
“I’d call those branch offices,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan last week. “That would be good news.”
The field was narrowed to 20 cities earlier this year from the original group of 238 applicants. Amazon will announce that it’s splitting HQ2 evenly between Crystal City and Long Island City in New York City, the WSJ reported, saying executives concluded that multiple sites would provide access to different talent pools while reducing the impact on housing and transit.
Developing story, more to come.