Amazon to Split Second Headquarters Between New York, Northern Virginia

Long Island City_Jeff Bezos Inset - Publicity - H 2018
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced in September 2017 that it was looking for an additional corporate home for thousands of its employees.

Amazon has decided to split the location of its second headquarters between New York City and the suburbs of Washington, D.C., the e-commerce giant announced Tuesday, ending its year-long search for a new corporate home for thousands of its employees. 

In an about-face for the company, the two cities will each become home to the some 50,000 workers that Amazon is expected to employ for the new headquarters. The locations, specifically Long Island City in the New York City borough of Queens and the National Landing neighborhood in Arlington, Va., put Amazon in close proximity to two major metropolises while also providing it with access to highly educated workforces. 

"These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come," CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. "The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities."

In addition to the two new headquarters, Amazon is planning to open a customer fulfillment center in Nashville that will bring more than 5,000 jobs to the region.

Amazon — which was founded in Seattle and has remained based in the city even as its workforce has grown to 575,000 people, more than 40,000 of whom work out of its headquarters — first announced in September 2017 that it planned to find a second headquarters in the United States. The news kicked off a months-long bake-off in which some 240 cities vied for the business, which promised to bring 50,000 jobs and billions in investments. At the time of the announcement, Amazon said it wanted a metropolitan area with a population of more than 1 million, a nearby university system and proximity to an international airport. 

In January, Amazon announced 20 finalists for what has been dubbed HQ2, a list that included metropolises like New York, Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. Since then, speculation focused on several areas outside of the Washington, D.C., area. Not only does the region hit the points on Amazon's wish list, but it is also home to the Washington Post, which CEO Jeff Bezos purchased in 2013. (Bezos also purchased a pair of homes in the Kalorama neighborhood in 2017 for $23 million.)

Amazon's decision to split the second headquarters into two separate locations, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, is believed to have been determined late in the vetting process. It has also drawn the ire of critics who believe Amazon may have been planning a two-city move all along. People in some of the cities that have lost out on the bid have also expressed frustration that Amazon ultimately chose to build in dense metropolises that already boast headquarters or large offices for big corporations. 

Hiring at the new facilities will begin in 2019. Each new headquarter is expected to house more than 25,000 employees.