Confirming rumours that have swirled for over a week, USA -based e-commerce giant Amazon has formally announced that Long Island City in New York City and National Landing in Arlington, Virginia will serve as the two sites for the company's second North American headquarters (HQ2).
Despite the new supply, prices are high.
In New York, Amazon would spend about $2.5 billion to create an 8.5 million square foot campus on the East River waterfront facing Manhattan from Long Island City, a location close to both LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports, with access to Manhattan via a 10-minute ferry ride and several subway lines.
"This is by far the biggest jobs deal in the history of New York City", said de Blasio, who added that the tax revenue from Amazon would "open up a huge number of doors for economic development" and help "keep this a city that supports everyone".
Amazon's search for a second headquarters captured the attention of almost every economic development agency in the country, with more than 200 submitting bids to land what had originally been described as 50,000 jobs and billions in investment.
In this case, the ability to recruit highly educated workers seemed to be the top concern, said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington.
Still, on the surface, the deal appears to be better than most. Both New York and Arlington will see roughly 25,000 new job openings.
Long Island City and Crystal City would meet Amazon's other requirements: be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be within 45 minutes of an worldwide airport; have direct access to mass transit; and have room to expand. Virginia's is the 26th, just above the $750 million deal Solar City secured to build a factory in Buffalo in 2014.
"Amazon is making enormous investments in warehousing, regional hubs and in retail stores".
Amazon will boost its presence around New York City and the nation's capital while also giving it more of a foothold in the centre of the country as it seeks to gain a recruiting edge over Silicon Valley tech companies. That's based on a tax credit of $3,000 for each new employee. That includes a cash grant of $23 million over 15 years based on the incremental growth of existing tax on hotel rooms. Views of listings in Crystal City, which is much smaller and will only have a portion of Amazon's offices in northern Virginia, were up 217 per cent year over year. This decision comes after more than a year of Amazon playing the options game, hearing what pretty much every city in America was willing to offer, behind closed doors, protected by the confidentiality of non-disclosure agreements.
But Amazon's final selections suggest that all the subsidies and giveaways probably weren't needed, some economists said.
Already, a NY state legislator has signaled he plans to introduce a bill to block the deal by phasing out the economic incentive statutes upon which the agreement is based.
"At the end of the day I think it's neutral", Webb said. "Even the biggest subsidies you can imagine really don't sway these kinds of decisions". "Instead, Amazon should pay its fair share of taxes for the privilege of locating in one of the greatest cities in the world, and taking advantage of all we have to offer".
Amazon executives were drawn to the sizable pools of well-educated and skilled workers in the two areas, which they chose over 18 other finalists with housing that has generally been less expensive.
"We just caught a huge breath of fresh air - it's like someone just resuscitated us", Austad said.
The announcement concludes a 14-month long national frenzy, in which communities went out of their way to capture Amazon's attention. On MARTA, the city of Atlanta's public-transportation system, an Amazon-only vehicle would have distributed the company's products.
"We won the real estate broker lotto", said Benaim.