Amazon has ended its search for its new headquarters—but not without walking away with an immense trove of data about cities across the country and massive incentives.
The final two locations for Amazon’s new offices are Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens, New York, directly across from Manhattan and National Landing in Arlington, Va., (which will include areas of Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard), close to Washington, D.C.
Amazon stated that the company will invest $2.5 billion and create 25,000 new jobs in each area. The average wage for these jobs is $150,000. As part of the deals, Amazon is receiving a $1.25 billion incentive in New York to create those jobs and will receive $573 million in Virginia. Both incentives are dependent on Amazon fulfilling these commitments.
In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said, “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.”
Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia echoed a similar sentiment and 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.”
In New York, Amazon has promised to “donate” a portion of its campus for a tech incubator and artist space, “donate” an area for a new elementary or middle school and “invest in infrastructure improvements and new green spaces.”
Over in Virginia, the state is planning on improving two metro stations in the area, creating a pedestrian bridge to connect the place with Reagan National Airport and more. Virginia Tech will also create a “Tech Innovation Campus” close to Amazon’s new office for master and doctoral students focusing on computer science and software engineering.
However, despite all these promises, a number of details stick out—including pushback.
Amazon is also expanding its Seattle presence, which will cover 14 million square feet, whereas New York and Virginia will only have 4 million square feet—so, these two new offices are still not nearly as big as the company’s original home.
Lawmakers in the New York area such as State Sen. Michael Gianaris and City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer put out a joint statement saying they have “serious reservations about the reported deal to bring Amazon to LIC.” The two, along with other organizations such Make the Road NY are holding a meeting on Nov. 14 to oppose the Amazon expansion into Queens.
There’s also concern about whether rent prices will increase, pushing out low-income residents and whether New York City’s troubled transportation system can handle the influx of 25,000 new people. The announcement has already spurred a condo buying uptick—while housing advocates also note the new headquarters is next door to the United States’ largest public housing complex—Queensbridge. Similar tech hubs like San Francisco and Seattle have experiences issues with these sectors, with the former experiencing a housing crisis.
Over in Virginia, aside from combining three different areas into one name (a move made by Arlington and Alexandria), there is also a concern over transportation issues as the Metro is shutting down service south of Reagan National Airport next summer. However, elected officials are a bit more sanguine over the move.
“We in Alexandria could not be more excited and proud for Amazon to call National Landing home,” said Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg in a statement. “Throughout this process, we have worked with our colleagues in Arlington to highlight the collective strengths of our communities—our workforce, education, infrastructure and our unparalleled quality of life—all of which will be strengthened by this new investment from Amazon, the Commonwealth and our localities.”
Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol issued a similar statement, saying: “We are proud that Amazon has selected National Landing for a major new headquarters. This is, above all, a validation of our community’s commitment to sustainability, transit-oriented development, affordable housing and diversity.”
Additionally, Amazon also announced plans to create 5,000 new jobs in Nashville, Tenn., by developing a new operations center. Hiring for all locations begins next year.
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