NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon has set its sights on two of the nation’s largest and most powerful metro areas, announcing Tuesday it had chosen a buzzy New York neighborhood and a suburb of Washington for its new East Coast headquarters.
The online shopping giant ended its 14-monthlong competition for second headquarters by selecting Long Island City, Queens, and Arlington, Virginia, as the joint winners. Both are waterfront communities away from overcrowded business districts, giving Amazon space to grow.
Amazon could have picked a city looking to be revitalized, like Newark, New Jersey. Instead, it decided to be in two of the nation’s centers of power.
The reason Amazon gave: they are best suited to attract the high-skilled workers the company wants.
The two sites will each get 25,000 jobs that Amazon said will pay an average of $150,000 a year.
The company will receive more than $2 billion in tax credits and other incentives. New York is forking over more than $1.5 billion, while Virginia and Arlington are offering about a third of that — $573 million. The hope is that Amazon will attract other companies and ultimately boost the local economies. But while many see it as an opportunity, not everyone is sold on the idea.
“Offering massive corporate welfare from scarce public resources to one of the wealthiest corporations in the world at a time of great need in our state is just wrong,” said New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris and New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Democrats who represent the Long Island City area, in a joint statement.
Amazon, which started as an online bookstore two decades ago, has grown to a behemoth that had nearly $180 billion in revenue last year. It now owns wellknown brands, including grocer Whole Foods and online shoe-seller Zappos. It also makes movies and TV shows, runs an advertising business and offers cloud computing services to corporations and government agencies.
The company has more than 610,000 employees worldwide, making it the second largest U.S.-based, publicly-traded employer behind Walmart.
But it was the prospect of 50,000 jobs that led 238 communities across North America to pitch Amazon on why they should be home to the next headquarters.
New York is the nation’s financial and media powerhouse and has been working to attract technology companies. Google already has more than 7,000 workers in the city and, according to media reports, is looking to add 12,000 more in coming years.
Arlington is directly across the Potomac River from Washington. Large government contractors have offices and lobbying operations there. However, many of its 1980s-era office buildings have vacancies after thousands of federal employees moved elsewhere. Being near the nation’s capital could help Amazon with lobbying efforts as the company faces rising scrutiny from politicians.
Amazon said it will spend $5 billion between both locations on construction and other projects.