Amazon plans to split its second headquarters evenly between two locations rather than picking one city, according to a person familiar with the matter, a surprise decision that will spread the impact of a massive new office across a pair of communities.
The driving force behind the decision to build two equal offices for “HQ2”—in addition to the company’s headquarters in Seattle—is to allow it to recruit more of the best tech talent, according to the person familiar with the company’s plans. The move will also ease potential issues with housing, transit and other areas where adding tens of thousands of workers could cause problems.
Amazon is in advanced talks with multiple cities but hasn’t made a final decision on which two locations it will pick, according to people familiar with the matter.
An announcement could come as soon as this week, people familiar with the matter said.
In the ferocious attempt to woo Amazon, finalist cities and states have offered tax-incentive packages—Newark and New Jersey, for instance, proposed $7 billion in incentives—not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on pricey site-selection consultants, advertising campaigns and quirky publicity stunts. The decision to split the locations would give Amazon access to more than one such incentive package
But the plan to halve one of the biggest proposed economic developments in years could also be viewed as a letdown for the 20 locales that Amazon chose as finalists earlier this year. When Amazon initially announced plans for HQ2 more than a year ago, it promised to bring as many as 50,000 employees and more than $5 billion in investments to the new location over nearly 20 years.