The wait will soon be over. Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has revealed that the company will be announcing the location of its new headquarters, billed as HQ2, before the end of the year. He made the confirmation at a meeting of the Economic Club of Washington earlier this week.
Amazon published a list of requirements for the new location late last year. Those included strong transport links probably including an international airport. Space for an office complex that would be capable of host 50k employees and a pleasant environs with a lively cultural scene were also preferable. A ready source of highly qualified talent was also cited as vital.
One criteria that will also doubtless be crucial in any decision making, but which was obviously not explicitly requested, will be local tax breaks for Amazon. Even a company valued at close to one trillion dollars needs a little sweetener.
The prize of Amazon HQ2 is one that any civic leader would want for their area, and the competition has been fierce. Being chosen will mean many billions of dollars of investment, over many years from the company. Amazon has whittled down the applications to a shortlist and soon the competition will be over and the winner revealed. It is testament to the extraordinary position that Amazon possesses that the speculation about where it might open its second headquarters is subject to such fervent and widespread speculation in the media.
But then, equally, Amazon’s notion of HQ2 is rather unusual. It will be a site where fifty thousand highly paid employees work but it will not be inferior to the original headquarters located in Seattle. Rather, it will operate as an equal site. It’s not entirely clear how this will work in reality but it is a novel concept.