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The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Amazon decided back in September that it was going to split its second North American headquarters location - dubbed HQ2 - between two different cities.

Which it did - choosing New York’s Long Island City, just across the East River from Manhattan in the borough of Queens, and Arlington, Virginia, in the Crystal City neighborhood, adjacent to National Airport and just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. And which it announced on November 13, more that two months after it made the decision.

There was, the story notes, advance warning that this could be Amazon’s decision: “The decision to split HQ2 was foreshadowed in company's original Sept. 7, 2017 request for proposals: ‘Amazon may select one or more proposals and negotiate with the parties submitting such proposals before making an award decision’.”

The Journal writes that “splitting the growth between two cities may help the company avoid some of the challenges related to affordable housing and transportation that it has faced in Seattle as the city has struggled to keep up with the company's rapid growth.”

But, the story points out, “It also may have helped Amazon score more incentives. While northern Virginia cut its incentives package in half to reflect the split, it's unclear if New York City altered its bid after learning of the split decision.”
KC's View:
There will be upsides for Amazon and the locations it chose. There almost certainly will be downsides, as well. But I think that Amazon did what any major company would do in making this decision.

There are folks out there who think the whole thing was rigged, that Amazon had no intention of going to a smaller city or the midwest. I don’t know if this is true … but I’m sure there were cultural considerations as well as economic concerns. (I always argued that whatever location Amazon chose, it would be in a blue state or area … because many of the people it would want and need to hire would perceive a red state as being hostile to their beliefs and priorities.)

I would’ve loved to have seen Detroit be chosen. (It didn’t even make the list of 20 finalists.) In the beginning, I was betting on Boston. But at least as long as Amazon continues to grow, it has tons of information about communities around the country that may be hospitable to it … and those communities know a lot more now about what they need to do if they are going to be attractive to 21st century technology companies.

That sounds to me like an upside.