Amazon HQ2 Goes to 2 Cities

Earlier this week, rumors ran rampant that not one, but two cities will be “awarded” residence of Amazon’s second national headquarters. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the internet behemoth might split the workforce, economic boom, and associated housing and infrastructural strain between two metro areas. Now it appears those rumors were true, with Long Island City, New York, and Crystal City, Virginia, beating the other members of the “short list” to receive half of the original prize.

While it means that each city will add about 25,000 direct employees and Amazon jobs, the influx of growth coming into the market could still create a sizable economic boom for the winning market. Earlier this week, WSJ reported Amazon was “in final talks” with officials in three cities: Crystal City, Virginia (which is close to Washington D.C.); Dallas, Texas, and Long Island City, New York.

A number of critics of the company called the entire HQ2 process a “bait-and-switch” and “a farce,” noting that the selection process dominated the news cycles for months while enabling Amazon to collect plenty of information from just about every major city in the country about what a strong Amazon presence would be worth to it.

Other analysts say the move is simply in keeping with how Amazon leadership views the company. “What we see is Amazon evolving into a corporation whose headquarters is virtual and whose physical presence will span the globe. Instead of being headquartered in one place and moving to a second headquarters, Amazon is going to be, and be thought of as, everywhere,” said director of Seattle University’s Berle Center on Corporations, Law, and Society Charles O’Kelley. He added, “The word ‘headquarters’ is a nontechnical, nonlegal term, but it plays well in the press to talk like this. It was a great P.R. move in all kinds of ways.”

Some analysts say Amazon did the right thing by splitting HQ2 and dividing the areas of the country where it would pull tech talent, specifically, from the population. However, given that D.C. and New York City both already have large pools of such talent, critics say the company could have made a bigger impact had it moved elsewhere.

Does the divided HQ2 surprise you? What do you think about Amazon’s dual selections?