Amazon has selected New York City (the Long Island City neighborhood of the borough of Queens) and Arlington,Virginia (the Crystal City neighborhood, across the Potomac from Washington, DC) for its HQ2.
In agreements with the local and state governments, Amazon stipulates that the two locations will house at least 25,000 employees each. The new sites will require $5 billion in construction and other investments.
Direct access to rail, train, subway/metro, bus routes (mass transit) at site has been a core preference of Amazon, stipulated in the Amazon HQ2 RFP.
Significantly, Amazon’s HQ2 RFP stipulates that it will develop HQ2 with a dedication to sustainability:
Sustainability: Amazon is committed to sustainability efforts. Amazon’s buildings in its current Seattle campus are sustainable and energy efficient. The buildings’ interiors feature salvaged and locally sourced woods, energy efficient lighting, composting and recycling alternatives as well as public plazas and pockets of green space. Twenty of the buildings in our Seattle campus were built using LEED standards. Additionally, Amazon’s newest buildings use a ‘District Energy’ system that utilizes recycled heat from a nearby non-Amazon data center to heat millions of square feet of office space – a system that is about 4x more efficient than traditional heating. This system is designed to allow Amazon to warm just over 4 million square feet of office space on Amazon’s four-block campus, saving 80 million kilowatt hours over 20 years, or about 4 million kilowatt-hours a year. We also invest in large solar and wind operations and were the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the U.S. in 2016.
Amazon will develop HQ2 with a dedication to sustainability.
Of the cities selected, Emily Badger of The New York Times observes:
“Tech companies feed on highly educated and specialized workers, specifically dense clusters of them where workers and companies interacting with one another are more likely to produce new ideas. Washington and New York, as it turns out, are two of the most highly educated regions in the country, with already large pools of tech workers.
“Drop a big Amazon headquarters into Washington or New York, and economists expect the 50,000 workers there to be more productive than if the same 50,000 jobs were dropped into Indianapolis. Simply putting them in New York, near so many other tech workers, increases the likelihood that Amazon invents more services, connects to more markets, makes more money.
“Those added benefits are so strong, economists say, that it’s worth it to companies like Amazon to pay more — a lot more — for office space and employee salaries in New York City.
“‘If you are in the business of making new things — whether it’s a new product, or a new way of delivering things, or a new service — and it’s something that is unique, and it keeps changing and it needs updating, the most important factor of all is human capital,” said Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s not like making soap, or like making textiles.’”
“Amazon Announces New York and Virginia as HQ2 Picks,” Karen Weise, Technology | The New York Times, 13 November 2018
“In Superstar Cities, the Rich Get Richer, and They Get Amazon,” Emily Badger, The New York Times, 7 November 2018