Amazon today announced that we have selected New York City and Arlington, Virginia, as the locations for our new headquarters. Amazon will invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters locations, with more than 25,000 employees each in New York City and Arlington. The new locations will join Seattle as the company’s three headquarters in North America. In addition, Amazon announced that it has selected Nashville for a new Center of Excellence for its Operations business, which is responsible for the company’s customer fulfillment, transportation, supply chain, and other similar activities. The Operations Center of Excellence in Nashville will create more than 5,000 jobs.
Amazon’s HQ2 search was not a contest but a con. Amazon will soon have 3 HQs. And guess what? The Bezos family owns homes in all 3 cities. And, you’ll never believe it, the new HQs (if you can call them that) will be within a bike ride, or quick Uber, from Bezos’s homes in DC and NYC. The middle finger on Amazon’s other hand came into full view when they announced they were awarding their HQ to not one, but two cities. So, really, the search, and hyped media topic, should have been called “Two More Offices.” Only that’s not compelling and doesn’t sell. Would that story have become a news obsession for the last 14 months, garnering Amazon hundreds of millions in unearned media?
Both New York and Virginia have agreed to not charge the second highest-valued public company on Earth billions of dollars in taxes and give them ridiculous and unnecessary incentives, despite the already-strained infrastructure in those cities. This, just a year after Wisconsin did the same to attract a Foxconn plant which, ultimately, will fall far short of economic expectations used to justify tax breaks and subsidies there, because of course it will.
See Also: Derek Thompson in an article for the Atlantic arguing for a law prohibiting, as he puts it, “this sort of corporate bribery”.
Update: Benjamin Freed:
Under agreement between Amazon and Virginia, the commonwealth will give the company written notice about any FOIA requests “to allow the Company to seek a protective order or other appropriate remedy”.
Even for the high level of incentives that could be expected for Amazon’s PR stunt, concessions like these are extraordinary and set a highly dangerous precedent.