Ama­zon con­sid­er­ing N.Y. amid re­ports HQ will be split

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Cecil Whig - - BUSINESS - By JOSPEH PISANI & DAVID KLEPPER

— Af­ter a year­long search for a sec­ond home, Ama­zon is now re­port­edly look­ing to build of­fices in two cities in­stead of one, a sur­prise move that could still have a ma­jor im­pact on the com­mu­ni­ties it ul­ti­mately se­lects.

One of the ar­eas the on­line re­tail gi­ant is con­sid­er­ing is New York’s Long Is­land City, ac­cord­ing to a source fa­mil­iar with the talks. The neigh­bor­hood, across the East River from Man­hat­tan, is fast-chang­ing, where many high-rise tow­ers have re­placed empty ware­houses.

New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo met two weeks ago with Ama­zon of­fi­cials in his New York City of­fices, ac­cord­ing to the source, who was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the ne­go­ti­a­tions and spoke on con­di­tion

NEW

As­so­ci­ated Press

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of anonymity. The source said Cuomo of­fered to travel to Ama­zon’s Seat­tle home­town to con­tinue talks.

Cuomo told re­porters Tues­day that win­ning over Ama­zon would give an eco­nomic boost to the en­tire state. He also joked that he was will­ing to change his name to “Ama­zon Cuomo” to lure the com­pany.

In ad­di­tion to Long Is­land City, The New York Times re­ported Mon­day that Ama­zon is also fi­nal­iz­ing a deal to lo­cate to the Crys­tal City sec­tion of Ar­ling­ton, Va., just out­side Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The Wall Street Jour­nal, which was first to re­port the plan to split the head­quar­ters be­tween two cities, said Dal­las is also still a pos­si­bil­ity. Both news­pa­pers cited un­named peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process,

Ama­zon.com Inc., which has said it plans to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion be­fore the end of the year, has de­clined to com­ment on the re­ports.

There’s been in­tense com­pe­ti­tion to win over Ama­zon, with some throw­ing bil­lions in tax in­cen­tives to the com­pany. Ama­zon kicked off its hunt for a sec­ond head­quar­ters in Septem­ber 2017, ini­tially re­ceiv­ing 238 pro­pos­als be­fore nar­row­ing the list to 20 in Jan­uary.

Long Is­land City and Crys­tal City would meet Ama­zon’s re­quire­ments for a new lo­cale: Both are near metropoli­tan ar­eas with more than a mil­lion peo­ple, have nearby in­ter­na­tional air­ports, di­rect ac­cess to mass tran­sit and have room for the com­pany to ex­pand.

Se­lect­ing those ar­eas would bring more jobs to ar­eas that al­ready have plenty.

“The spec­u­la­tion that Ama­zon might choose the D.C. area and New York is a much less rad­i­cal move than many imag­ined,” said Jed Kolko, the chief econ­o­mist at job site In­deed, adding that it would be an­other ex­am­ple of “rich places get­ting richer.”

The com­pany had orig­i­nally promised to bring 50,000 new high-pay­ing jobs to one lo­ca­tion, which founder and CEO Jeff Be­zos said would be “a full equal” to its Seat­tle home base. Ama­zon may now split those jobs equally be­tween two lo­ca­tions, The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported.

Jay Ash, the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment chief in Mas­sachusetts, said Tues­day that he’s had “no re­cent con­tact” with Ama­zon about a head­quar­ters in Bos­ton, but his of­fice is still talk­ing with the com­pany about other op­por­tu­ni­ties. Ear­lier this year, Ama­zon un­veiled plans for an of­fice ex­pan­sion in Bos­ton’s Sea­port Dis­trict, promis­ing 2,000 new tech­nol­ogy jobs by 2021 in fields in­clud­ing ma­chine learn­ing and robotics.

Other cities on the list, in­clud­ing Dal­las, de­clined to com­ment.

Ama­zon has said it could spend more than $5 bil­lion on the new head­quar­ters over the next 17 years, about match­ing the size of its cur­rent home in Seat­tle, which has 33 build­ings, 23 res­tau­rants and 40,000 em­ploy­ees.

The com­pany al­ready em­ploys 600,000. That’s ex­pected to in­crease as it builds more ware­houses across the coun­try to keep up with on­line or­ders. Ama­zon 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 — an av­er­age of more than $100,000 a year.

Ear­lier this month, Be­zos said dur­ing an on-stage in­ter­view in New York that the fi­nal de­ci­sion will come down to in­tu­ition.

“You im­merse your­self in that data, but then you make that de­ci­sion with your heart,” he said.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

An as­so­ciate works to ship a pack­age ful­fill­ment cen­ter near North East. in­side the Ama­zon

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