Amazon Eyes Two-City Split For HQ2

Amazon might be choosing two locations for its second headquarters rather than picking just one city.

The Wall Street Journal cited a source who said the reason for the company’s decision to build two equal offices for HQ2 is to enable the recruitment of more top tech talent, as well as ease issues with housing, transit and other areas that adding tens of thousands of workers could bring to some locations. According to the source, Amazon would split the workforce with about 25,000 employees in each city.

It was reported over the weekend that the eCommerce giant was in late-stage discussions with a handful of communities, including Crystal City in northern Virginia, Dallas and New York City. One Amazon executive even slammed Crystal City for a report in The Washington Post, which claimed the city is so confident that it is Amazon’s pick that its top real estate developer, JBG Smith, has pulled some of its buildings off the leasing market, and local officials are making plans for a public announcement after the midterm elections.

This led Mike Grella, director of economic development for Amazon, to post on Twitter: “Memo to the genius leaking info about Crystal City, VA as #HQ2 selection. You’re not doing Crystal City, VA any favors. And stop treating the NDA you signed like a used napkin,” he said in reference to the nondisclosure agreements that Amazon required finalists to sign.

Jeff Finkle, president of the International Economic Development Council, a group that represents economic development officials across the country, said the decision to split HQ2 will also make it harder for any one community to claim bragging rights for being Amazon’s top choice.

“Many of these communities were hoping to brand themselves as the co-headquarters with Seattle,” he said. “I think it becomes just a regional office or a back office or a major office, but not a co-headquarters.”


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