Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Amazon selects New York City, Arlington, as HQ2 sites

Amazon selects New York City, Arlington, as HQ2 sites

The HQ2 announcement came with something of a consolation prize for Nashville, Tennessee, which will house an operations center expected to bring as many as 5,000 jobs.

The New York City neighborhood hand-picked by Amazon to house one-half of its new headquarters qualifies as a federal "opportunity zone", a classification created by President Trump's tax reform law previous year that offers incentives like capital gains tax breaks to developers who are investing in low-income areas.

New York's 7-train is already known for crush loads; just wait until swarms of lanyard wearing lackeys hit Long Island City's primary subway line.

"We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia", Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

Did Amazon just create a brand new neighborhood for its second headquarters?

Amazon will begin hiring employees for all three sites in 2019.

In each case, the deal is largely the same - Amazon has reached performance-based direct incentive agreements with each city.

However, Amazon eventually chose to split the jobs and investment between two different locations.

Around 100 people on Wednesday protested against Amazon's impending arrival in New York's borough of Queens, condemning $3 billion in tax breaks and incentives, and anxious ordinary families will be pushed out by gentrification. A smaller complex, with up to 5,000 workers focused on logistics, will go to Nashville.

Wages at the Long Island City and Arlington offices are expected to average out to approximately $150,000 United States dollars (roughly $193,693 CAD). But a local backlash threatens to spur investigations into how the deal got done and whether it will benefit the city. "One of the things that makes housing so expensive here is that we have areas that are not zoned for higher levels of density". And then there's the money these jobs bring with them. As part of their platform to woo Amazon, they're offering the tech giant billions of dollars in tax breaks and cash grants. "A governor and a mayor who claim to be progressive Democrats throwing almost $3 billion at the richest man in the world and then promising a secretive grease-the-wheels process that avoids "messy" public votes and hearings that might muck up the works".

But the retailer made it clear that it was tax incentives and grants that is was looking for.

Stonecrest in Georgia, offered to rename some of its land to "the city of Amazon".

"I think they had this in mind from day one", Richard Florida, a University of Toronto urban studies professor who tracked the HQ2 process, told CBS News.

Lang's analysis of 13 large USA commercial real estate markets revealed that the suburban Edgeless City contained 40 per cent of the office space in the surveyed cities, including NY and Washington, D.C. However, the average across 13 markets hid some of the diversity - whereas 57 per cent of the regional office space in NY was in the primary downtown area, only 29 per cent of the office space in Washington, D.C., was similarly situated.

In choosing those two sites, Amazon emphasized the ability to attract "world-class talent", as well as access to airports and public transportation.

"It's not just the Amazon jobs". Amazon has armed itself with unprecedented amounts of recon, data and insight on what these cities were willing to offer, and where these cities see themselves heading in the foreseeable future.

But most experts agree that Amazon's arrival marks a paradigm shift.

Amazon has done well, here, from the perspective of its shareholders.

Jennah Goldman, an Arlington resident who designs custom clothing, was especially pleased to hear the news of her new neighbor.

"New York's following its usual practices", Bartik said. "I don't know how they calculated it, and what they actually calculated", Cuomo said.

The headquarters announcement on Tuesday drew the ire of Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in addition to other New York Democrats. In the 1980s and '90s, she said, companies were taking a risk by expanding in Queens or Brooklyn, and tax breaks provided an important inducement. "Shuffling working class people out of a community does not improve their quality of life".

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