Amazon Reportedly Changes Plans: Now Settling On Finalists For HQ2 - And HQ3

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For Amazon, the HQ2 fanfare has added to a year of striking growth and significant milestones. An affordable housing crisis there prompted the city council to adopt a head tax on businesses in May, which Amazon helped overturn in a subsequent city council vote.

Amazon is reportedly planning to split its second headquarters between the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York, and the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia.

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Two sources familiar with the process confirmed to USA TODAY that Amazon has made the decision to shift its placement of a second headquarters co-equal with Seattle from one city to two. So in the meantime, I moved on to the next question, asking people in tech and commercial real estate this: Assuming Amazon doesn't give the final rose to Boston, why not? First, it was looking for a second headquarters because it has a ferocious need for more talent than it can convince to move to Seattle. But one expert argues-controversially-that the simplest solution is the company just building a new city from scratch instead. "When you get into the clutter of Queens and Manhattan and that area, and you've got a little bit of busyness in the Arlington area because of D.C., it's not sure what the advantage is to Amazon of having a headquarters there, other than just being close to D.C. if they want to talk to regulators, and close to NYC because it's the biggest city in the country", Clouse said. Jed Kolko, the chief economist at job site Indeed, said that choosing NY and the D.C. area would "be a much less radical move than many imagined" and another example of "rich places getting richer".

This is a path Amazon has been going down for nearly 10 years. A location like Oatlands, Virginia, is also close enough to D.C. that people could go there for entertainment.

Maryland has offered incentives added up to about $8.5 billion, according to The Washington Post. Hessan is chairman of the digital market research firm C Space, based in Boston. Since announcing its short list in January, Amazon has given virtually no publicupdates beyond reiterating that a decision would be made this year. He also was "puzzled by the idea of picking one location and growing it to 50,000 people". Amazon has said the HQ2 project will come with a $5 billion investment.

And losing HQ2 isn't a awful thing for Boston - for many reasons.

"I'll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that's what it takes", the report cited Cuomo as saying. The company recently announced that it would pay all its workers at least $15 an hour, but the employees at its second headquarters will be paid a lot more - Amazon says they'll make an average of more than $100,000 a year.

All those developments - plus losing HQ2 - makes Boston a "double victor", in Wilcox's view.

After the hullabaloo over HQ2 fades, Wilcox said "Boston faces the same strategic challenge we did before: Either become one of the world's top three cities for innovation or fade into irrelevance". It's part of the campus of 44 Amazon buildings, with more under construction.

"These large companies are really getting constrained where people where people are commuting two hours and living five to a house", he says. It simply isn't in its DNA to engage with the local business ecosystem, in either Seattle or Boston - unless there is something obviously in it for Amazon - like recruiting employees or persuading software developers to use technologies such as Alexa.

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