The Bidding War

September 2017 is when Amazon announced they would entertaining bids for a new home for their second headquarters. 238 proposals were submitted.1 This new headquarters would be for some of the top Amazon employees, boasting an average salary of $100k for its employees.2 This would create a large hub of activity and recognition for the city which homed HQ2.

Amazon looked for a larger city or with a large metropolitan area nearby, close proximity to an airport, and a competitive workforce.

Sites want Amazon because of all it would bring. Amazon specifically looked at places that could be expanded and grow which means more infrastructure and business outside of the company itself.3 This would bring an unbelievable amount of economic growth and ideally prosperity. One of the key component of Amazon’s search and what they were looking for is that the headquarters would need a highly skilled workforce. This is a positive for the city which would become its home because it would bring a higher educated and skilled workforce to the area.

Amazon offering over $5 Billion in incentives and 25,000 new jobs from the company alone turned into an all out bidding war. States and cities were doing incredible, and hilarious, stunts in order to get Amazon to come to them.

One of the concept designs for a Northern City of Amazon HQ2

The highest bid was New Jersey, which was offering over $7 Billion in benefits.4 The New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, was also willing to sign a bill into law that would cap subsidies for the company.

Stonecrest, Georgia offered to rename the city to “Amazon City” in hopes of getting Amazon to set their HQ2 build there.5

Amazon did want to make sure this new site would become a sort of village with public transportation nearby and shopping centers with easy access. Dallas, Texas proposed a $15 Billion bullet train that would be designed to serve the Amazon HQ2.6

A Concept Design of the Bullet Train in Dallas, Texas

Amazon eventually decided on New York City and Crystal City in Virginia in 2018, deciding both cities would split what Amazon was promising, and in later 2018 Amazon dropped New York City. Crystal City became the sole home for Amazon HQ2.

Why Virginia?

Virginia’s initial bid was equal to $1 Billion in tax incentives, money, and land incentives. During the bidding process Virginia decreased their initial bid to $573 million in tax breaks, $123 million in cash, and millions in workers benefits. Virginia wanted to create a welcoming and talented environment for Amazon to choose from.7

Virginia Tech and the state of Virginia decided to build a $1 Billion campus specifically designed for tech and business innovation near HQ2.8 The surrounding counties, Arlington and Alexandria agreed to put in millions of dollars to have the best public transportation for the new area, the current metro system in Crystal City is planning new stops to better cater to Amazon HQ2.

Crystal City was an attractive choice because of its location to D.C. and desire for growth. Virginia was named the best state for businesses in 2018 and hosts a wide variety of candidates and a strong work force. Virginia is strong when keeping and sustaining businesses and also has a large consumer base to grow the economy. This is what Amazon wanted because the company wanted an established city but also add to the economic landscape and have their own mark. Amazon also wanted a place for businesses would have an easy time coming to the new city and thriving. This is something which Amazon is receiving in Virginia. The areas around HQ2, which is currently in production, are already building much more infrastructure. This includes apartments, condos, restaurants, entertainment, and public transportation which would make the area a thriving, livable environment to live in. 9

Amazon wanted large space to expand, public transportation, access to a large city, and a competitive work force to build HQ2, Crystal City, Virginia was the perfect fit for all of the requirements. Along with fitting all the requirements, Virginia’s welcoming tax incentives and pro-business laws made the perfect fit for Amazon to build its second headquarters.

  1. Daniel Geiger, 2017, “ SITING AMAZON; The e-tailer has pledged $5 billion and 50,000 jobs to the city that wins its second headquarters. New York has no shortage of interested bidders,” Crain’s New York Business, Oct 26, 2017
  2. Daniel Geiger, 2017, “ SITING AMAZON; The e-tailer has pledged $5 billion and 50,000 jobs to the city that wins its second headquarters. New York has no shortage of interested bidders,” Crain’s New York Business, Oct 26, 2017
  3. Daniel Geiger, 2017, “ SITING AMAZON; The e-tailer has pledged $5 billion and 50,000 jobs to the city that wins its second headquarters. New York has no shortage of interested bidders,” Crain’s New York Business, Oct 26, 2017
  4. Chuck Slothover, 2017, “Cities Respond in Droves to Amazon’s RFP for Second Headquarters,” Daily Journal of Commerce (Oct 24), https://umw.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.umw.idm.oclc.org/trade-journals/cities-respond-droves-amazons-rfp-second/docview/1957051901/se-2?accountid=12299
  5. Chuck Slothover, 2017, “Cities Respond in Droves to Amazon’s RFP for Second Headquarters,” Daily Journal of Commerce (Oct 24), https://umw.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.umw.idm.oclc.org/trade-journals/cities-respond-droves-amazons-rfp-second/docview/1957051901/se-2?accountid=12299
  6. Chuck Slothover, 2017, “Cities Respond in Droves to Amazon’s RFP for Second Headquarters,” Daily Journal of Commerce (Oct 24), https://umw.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.umw.idm.oclc.org/trade-journals/cities-respond-droves-amazons-rfp-second/docview/1957051901/se-2?accountid=12299
  7. William Morris, “Amazon HQ2 Bidding War‘ Stirs Criticism,” Finance and Commerce, Nov 13, 2018, https://umw.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.umw.idm.oclc.org/newspapers/amazon-hq2-bidding-war-stirs-criticism/docview/2134999419/se-2?accountid=12299
  8. William Morris, “Amazon HQ2 Bidding War‘ Stirs Criticism,” Finance and Commerce, Nov 13, 2018, https://umw.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.umw.idm.oclc.org/newspapers/amazon-hq2-bidding-war-stirs-criticism/docview/2134999419/se-2?accountid=12299
  9. William Morris, “Amazon HQ2 Bidding War‘ Stirs Criticism,” Finance and Commerce, Nov 13, 2018, https://umw.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.umw.idm.oclc.org/newspapers/amazon-hq2-bidding-war-stirs-criticism/docview/2134999419/se-2?accountid=12299.