Around 1,800 people in advertising, fashion and publishing are already working for Amazon in New York. Around 2,500 business and engineering employees work in Northern Virginia and Washington.
Amazon narrowed the list down to 20 cities in January, and in the last few weeks, smaller locations seemed to be out of the race. Although the first cut was made in Denver, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado last month said, "Would not you rather have your second big hub on the East Coast?"
Amazon announced plans for a second headquarters in September 2017 and said the company is growing faster than it could be in its hometown of Seattle. The company said it would invest more than $ 5 billion in a second center for almost two decades, hiring 50,000 full-time employees, who would earn more than $ 100,000 a year on average.
The HQ2 would be "full on our current Seattle campus," the company said. When Amazon operates two new locations, it is unclear whether the company would name both locations as its headquarters or whether they would be large satellite offices.
Selecting multiple sites would make it possible to develop two pools of talented workers and possibly not be held responsible for all the housing and traffic issues that exist in a single area. It could also give the company greater influence in negotiating tax incentives, experts said.
"Even with the most obvious reasons for attracting more technicians, the benefits of P.R. and government incentives could also help," said Jed Kolko, Chief Economist at Indeed, the online jobs website. Given its large presence in two cities, local governments may "feel the pressure to increase the incentives they offer to Amazon, and the surprise is yet another news cycle for the Amazon headquarters process," he said.
The HQ2 search brought states and cities into an insane bidding war. Some hired McKinsey & Company and other outside consultants to help them with their offerings and invested heavily in recruiting Amazon and promising 50,000 jobs. Even half of this would be one of the biggest deals for corporate locations, says Greg LeRoy, managing director of Good Jobs First, which tracks corporate subsidies. "These are very big numbers," he said.