Tech talent pool lures Amazon HQ2, HQ3 to New York and Virginia
- Amazon chose New York City and Arlington, Virginia as the locations for its coveted second and third headquarters, according to a company announcement Tuesday.
- The company plans to split its headquarters between the two Northeastern locations, promising about 25,000 workers at each site. The company also announced it selected Nashville for a "new Center of Excellence" for its Operations business, which will bring more than 5,000 jobs.
- The D.C. metro area headquarters will be located at "National Landing," which consists of renovated buildings between Pentagon City and Crystal City in Arlington and Potomac Yard in Alexandria, VA. NYC's will be in the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens. Hiring for both locations is expected to begin in 2019.
By selecting NYC and NoVa, Amazon is entering a familiar tech ecosystem. The Northern Virginia, Washington areas are the closest representation of Seattle, Amazon's current headquarters, according to an analysis of Stack Overflow traffic.
Northern Virginia, Washington and Montgomery County, Maryland made the list, drawing early suspicion that the D.C. metro area was leading the pack. Northern Virginia is home to a growing cybersecurity corridor, spitting distance from the Capitol and a quick driving distance to Data Center Alley in Loudoun County, VA, where more than 70% of the world’s internet traffic passes through on a daily basis.
Also, having headquarters situated on the East and West coast give Amazon a bicoastal reach in the tech industry. It also gives Amazon a direct line to the nation's capital, where policy and regulations impacting the tech industry are made.
But the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast gives Amazon transient liberties among other major tech hubs on its list of 20 city finalists, like Boston and Philadelphia. Proximity to airports like New York's La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International Airport and NoVa's Ronald Reagan National Airport, provides convenient transportation options.
NYC has eight subway lines, 13 bus lines, the commuter rail, bike-sharing services and ferries, contributing Amazon's decision to choose the location, according to the announcement. National Landing is about three miles from downtown Washington with metro access, commuter rail access and the airport in walking distance.
Locals, however, are more critical of the move, citing recent shutdowns of the public transit systems due to maintenance, and fearing further delays. Regardless of local frustrations, metropolitan cities like New York City cluster tech talent together.
New York had the most people employed in tech in year-end 2017 than any other city with nearly 425,000, according to a Cushman and Wakefield report. The D.C. metro area ranked second with abut 321,000 employed technology professionals.
The $5 billion campus deal will bring jobs and revenue into both cities and the surrounding areas. The initial focus will be on construction, and after that the 50,000 promised jobs — many intended for tech workers — will flow in. More jobs will follow as the economic boon ripples through the local economy and drives investment in housing, infrastructure and more.