Turns out Newark won’t be the next site of Amazon’s new headquarters.
The city had been among 20 finalists out of nearly 300 cities vying for the new headquarters after Amazon plunked down its request for proposals in 2017. The online retail giant announced today that it had selected not one, but two locations for is new headquarters: Long Island City, Queens and Crystal City, Virginia. The company said that 50,000 well-paying jobs can be expected at its new headquarters over 10 years (the company employs 610,000 people worldwide). Amazon is scheduled to begin hiring at both new locations in 2019.
Amazon also announced that Nashville, Tenn. will be the location of its new “Operations Center of Excellence,” which the company says will bring 5,000 jobs.
Newark partnered with the State of New Jersey to offer an aggressive package of tax cuts to court Amazon, with the state offering $5 billion in tax incentives and Newark kicking in another $2 billion. Newark also hosted a multitude of Amazon team members for a day of site tours and roundtable meetings this summer. It was reported that Amazon revisited Newark in October, during the runup to its final decision.
Amazon cited Long Island City’s heterogenous cultural scene, local transportation access and proximity to two international airports–JFK and LaGuardia–as among the reasons they chose the Queens neighborhood. Crystal City, they said, was boosted by its location three miles from downtown Washington, D.C. and inventory of residents buildings, hotels and retail space.
Average wages in the two new corporate headquarters, said Amazon, will exceed $150,000 per year.
While the Amazon headquarters was seen as a massive potential “get” by some, the bid process was criticized by others as a perverse incentive for states and municipalities to fork over millions to a behemoth private sector retailer, and has been cited as a potential strain on localities. There are already reports of residents and housing advocates in the newly announced HQ2 cities expressing concern about the toll the new headquarters might take on housing, infrastructure and other local resources.
And there are already questions about how Amazon will change the local character of the company’s new host cities. Already, the company is receiving backlash for “a newly branded neighborhood encompassing Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard” they’re calling “National Landing.”
While Newark wasn’t chosen as one of the new headquarters, the city’s inclusion on Amazon’s short list is being hailed as a victory in and of itself in terms of marketing the city as a potential destination for other large employers. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also said it could make Newark a potential destination for overflow residential. “Newark and New Jersey may not be getting HQ2, but our proximity to Queens means we’re certainly going to benefit,” he said, according to a statement. A person commuting from Newark Penn Station would face an approximately 50 minute commute to Long Island City during the morning rush hour, according to Google Maps.
What does it mean for Newark’s prospects that the city wasn’t named one of Amazon’s new headquarters? Leave a comment below!