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Long Island City, New York

Amazon HQ2 could split between New York and Virginia

Amazon plans to split its major second headquarters in North America between Queens, New York, and Arlington County, Virginia, according to reports.

After spending a year looking for a home for HQ2, the retail giant now intends to set up two bases, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

Long Island City – a burgeoning riverside neighbourhood in the New York borough of Queens – and the Crystal City area close to Washington DC are Amazon's chosen locations, according to the New York Times, which spoke with two people "briefed on the discussions".

New York governor to do "everything" to secure HQ2

New York state is making major efforts to sway Amazon's decision, including offering "potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies".

Talks are already underway between Amazon executives, New York governor Andrew Cuomo – who comfortably won his third term yesterday – and mayor Bill de Blasio to secure Long Island City, the sources told the newspaper.

The Crystal City area close to Washington DC (this image) and New York's Long Island City (main image) will reportedly share Amazon's HQ2. Photograph by Splat 215

"I am doing everything I can," Cuomo told a group of reporters. "We have a great incentive package."

"I'll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that's what it takes," he added.

Amazon began the hunt for the HQ2 site, to accompany its first in Seattle, in September 2017. The aim was to find a metropolitan area with over one million occupants, within 45 minutes of a major airport and near to a highway.

Cities chosen for talent and connections

The recently revitalised Crystal City was quickly pegged as a strong contender due to its location across the Potomac River from downtown Washington DC, proximity to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and public transport links. It is also reportedly home to "one of the most educated work forces in the country".

Long Island City offers similar benefits: close to LaGuardia airport and connected to Manhattan by subway.

The bid to win the new headquarters was hotly contested, with hundreds of cities across the US, Mexico and Canada vying for the $5 billion (£3.8 billion) in investment and up to 50,000 high-paying jobs promised by Amazon. Both the money and jobs are now likely to be split between the different areas, although this is not yet confirmed.

New York City and various counties in the region of Northern Virginia were among 20 shortlisted by Amazon in January this year.

The company wants to secure more high-tech talent, which Crystal City and Long Island City would provide. Both are also already home to the largest Amazon workforces outside of Seattle.

Cuomo said securing the bid "would be a great economic boost" for New York City, but others are more skeptical of the potential impact. In an Opinion column for Dezeen, Aaron Betsky concluded that it might not offer as many benefits as the competitors currently think.

Main image is by Joe Mabel.