The rumors swirled for a week, and now it’s official. After a year of get-to-know-you sessions and dates in exotic locales, Seattle’s biggest (baldest?) bachelor cut his final rose in two, and told the finalists to share it. The blushing damsels are the New York borough of Queens and Arlington, Virginia, a stone’s throw across the Potomac from Washington, D.C. They will split the fabled HQ2 spoils — $5 billion and 50,000 highly paid tech jobs — between them.
There’s more: Bezos revealed a bonus runner up rose for Nashville, in the form of a “Center of Excellence” for its operations business. The center will be responsible for Amazon’s customer fulfillment, supply chain and transportation, and employ over 5,000 people.
“These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come,” Bezos said in a press release. “The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”
The announcement has generated a huge amount of feeling throughout the country.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was ecstatic: “With an average salary of $150,000 per year for the tens of thousands of new jobs Amazon is creating in Queens, economic opportunity and investment will flourish for the entire region,” he raved in the press release.
Others were not so pleased. But what does all this mean for Seattle? Are we still the apple of Bezos’ eye? And will housing prices finally return to earth?
Alas, probably not. Amazon said New York and Arlington will each host about four million square feet of Amazon office space. And as the Seattle Times pointed out, the company is in the process of adding roughly the same amount of space to its presence here, which, when finished, will total almost 14 million square feet. And that’s before you count their Bellevue offices.
Nevertheless, with headquarters in two of the most powerful political and financial centers in the world, the center of the Bezo-verse will probably shift east in the coming years. The company and its ubiquitous blue badge-bearing workers have left an indelible imprint on Seattle, and its tech industry in particular. Peruse the resumes at any C-suite of the city’s rising startup stars, and you’re likely to find decades of cumulative Amazon experience. Our tech scene is more vibrant and cutting edge for its presence. Perhaps it’s time we had some competition from back east.