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The strategy would allow the company to access even more top tech talent.
SEATTLE — With Amazon’s closely watched second-headquarters site-selection courtship process nearing an end, it appears that two of the finalist bids will split the company’s HQ2 and the 50,000 employees planned for the company’s expansion beyond its booming hometown in the Pacific Northwest.
That’s according to The Wall Street Journal, which characterized Amazon’s move as “a surprise decision that will spread the impact of a massive new office across a pair of communities.” The Journal’s source said the strategy would allow the company to access even more tech talent.
The New York Times, meanwhile, reported Monday night reported that Amazon is nearing HQ2 deals for sites in Crystal City, located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. in Arlington County, Virginia; and in Long Island City, Queens, a short subway ride under the East River from Grand Central Terminal and midtown Manhattan.
Amazon executives met two weeks ago with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the governor’s Manhattan office, said one of the people briefed on the process, adding that the state had offered potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies. Executives met separately with Mayor Bill de Blasio, a person briefed on that discussion said.
The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, reported Friday that the company was close to finalizing a HQ2 deal involving Crystal City, which is located close to Reagan National Airport and is served by the Blue and Yellow lines of the D.C. Metrorail system.
Amazon has been anticipated to make its HQ2 announcement by the end of 2018. But as Seattle-based GeekWire notes, with “the steady stream of leaks tied to the search over the past week, it’s possible Amazon will accelerate its announcement timeline.”
The Seattle Times reported Monday that a “person familiar with Amazon’s HQ2 selection process” said the company was “wary of of repeating its experience in its first hometown, a sentiment that could weigh against putting the full planned complement of HQ2 workers in one of the smaller candidates on Amazon’s shortlist of 20 finalists.”
The company’s Seattle employee headcount, as The Seattle Times noted, swelled from 5,000 in 2010 to 45,000 today. As construction cranes tower adjacent to Amazon’s campus in the South Lake Union and Denny Triangle areas, Amazon’s footprint continues growing in Seattle’s central business district.
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.