Through the looking glass: Amazon is expanding to cities that provide an array of transportation options, access to large talent pools of skilled employees, and also to a place that happens to be very near the Capitol building and Pentagon. The long process of finding a secondary headquarters is now over, but analysis of why Amazon has made its decisions is only beginning.
Just over a week ago, we learned that Amazon's second headquarters may end up being split between two different locations. This has now been confirmed. An official announcement from Amazon is expected very soon. Amazon's HQ2 will reside in Long Island City, New York as well as Crystal City, Virginia.
Offices in these locations will hold up to 25,000 employees. Both locations are very near water providing plenty of opportunity for port access. Aside from having logistics advantages, both locations are also surrounded by large populations of skilled potential employees.
Crystal City has been on a decline from Department of Defense contractors leaving. Remaining in close proximity to the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, and numerous metro stations provide Amazon several strategic benefits. Given that Amazon is still after the $10 billion JEDI contract for its web services division, closer proximity to the Capital certainly will not hurt.
Long Island City is currently the fastest-growing community within New York City. More than 16,000 new apartments have sprung up since early 2006. Proximity to the Long Island Rail Road as well as La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International airports allow for ease of travel. Similar to Crystal City, Long Island City will not be very friendly to commuters that intend to drive to work everyday through heavy traffic.
Compared to Amazon's current headquarters in Seattle that is home to 45,000 employees, the secondary locations may not be the shining gem cities had once hoped to attract. However, the east coast cities still will stand to gain further attention from tech giants. As Silicon Valley remains expensive and occasionally exhibits groupthink mentality, diversifying by heading east provides new opportunities and ideas.
Details of the selections should become available once Amazon pushes out its official statement regarding HQ2.