Northern VA map

By: Nick Gambino

After a 14-month search, Amazon has finally settled on the locations for its two new headquarters. Long Island City (in Queens, NY) and Crystal City (in Arlington, VA) are the lucky winners.

“We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” Jeff Bezos said. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come.”

Hundreds of cities tried to woo the trillion-dollar retail company and thought they had a legitimate chance. Cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Miami applied but were unsuccessful. Ultimately it was narrowed down to 20 countries, including the eventual “winners.”

Amazon claims the HQ2 project will result in 25,000 new jobs in each location and a huge boost to the local economy. It’s no wonder every city short of Mayberry was vying for the opportunity, many of which could have benefited greatly with a major turnaround in their current economic state.

Critics were quick to pop out of the woodwork to point out Amazon’s choice of two of the country’s richest cities. Long Island City (not technically in Long Island) is part of New York City, while Crystal City, right next to the Pentagon, is a mere pebble throw away from Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital is sure to benefit peripherally from the headquarters both in real estate and other economic stimulus.

Some critics are even claiming Amazon never seriously considered any other city, and merely had them apply so they could gain major insight into that city’s infrastructure plans and tax incentives. Though this is just conjecture.

Market Watch gleaned that Amazon chose Crystal City so they could rope in a $10 billion contract with the Pentagon. The JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) contract would make Amazon the sole provider of cloud services as well as a platform for Defense Department operations. With the passing of the Amazon Amendment, making the retail giant the number one place for online government purchasing, this would be another big contract for Amazon.

New York City is offering over $2 billion in tax breaks to the company, which I’m sure helped in the final decision. Deciding to place the site in the quieter borough of Queens will at least prevent further congestion in Manhattan. Though, critics of the company are worried about gentrification and skyrocketing real estate.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.