Amazon silent on split headquarters reports


Wed, Nov 07, 2018 - Page 10

Internet giant Inc yesterday refused comment on reports that it plans to split its new headquarters between two locations, possibly New York City and Arlington, Virginia.

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported that the company would locate the new facilities in Arlington’s Crystal City area and in another city.

Queens on Long Island in New York appears a likely choice, but the Wall Street Journal said that Dallas was also in discussions.

A company spokesman, Adam Sedo, reached by telephone in Seattle said that Amazon would not comment on “rumors and speculation.”

An update from the company was widely expected soon.

The main reason for having the two new facilities is to be able to recruit enough talent, the Wall Street Journal said, adding that dividing the 50,000 employees expected to staff the headquarters between two locations would also relieve pressures from demand for housing and transportation.

The newspapers cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Amazon executives last month met with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state had offered possibly hundreds of millions of US dollars in subsidies, the New York Times said.

They also met with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, it said.

“I’ll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that’s what it takes,” the New York Times quoted Cuomo as saying.

Amazon’s decision to set up another headquarters set off an intense competition to win the company and its promise of 50,000 new jobs.

Some cities sought to stand out with stunts, but the firm emphasized that it wanted financial incentives, like tax breaks and grants.

It also wanted a city with more than 1 million people, an airport within a 45-minute drive, direct access to mass transit and room to expand.

The company received 238 proposals before narrowing the list to 20 in January.

Amazon has said it could spend more than US$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 is not leaving Seattle, and Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has said the new headquarters would be “a full equal” to its current home.

Amazon employs 600,000 workers and is expected to add staff as it builds more warehouses across the US to keep up with online orders.

The company has announced that it would pay all its workers at least US$15 per hour, but the employees at its second headquarters would be paid a lot more — Amazon has said that they would make an average of more than US$100,000 per year.