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Amazon will choose two locations for its new headquarters, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited an unidentified person familiar with the matter.
The e-commerce giant last year announced plans to invest $5 billion in a second HQ and hire up to 50,000 people, setting off a frenzy of interest from cities in the U.S. and Canada. It has announced 20 finalists and is scheduled to make a final decision by the end of the year.
The company will choose two locations instead of one, according to the Wall Street Journal, which said one location lacked sufficient technology talent. Amazon may want to avoid criticism that its arrival in a new town overwhelms the area. Amazon has fueled an economic boom in its hometown of Seattle, where it is also often blamed for traffic problems and skyrocketing housing costs that squeeze some residents out of the city.
“You could look to Seattle and see that it’s had great positive consequences, but it also probably has had some unintended ones that maybe aren’t as well received,” SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. real-estate analyst Michael Lewis said. “You can see what it’s done to the cost of living in Seattle.”
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Amazon was in advanced discussions with the Washington suburb of Crystal City, Va., for the second headquarters. An Amazon spokesman declined to comment.
Some of contenders are close to each other and draw from the same labor pools. New York City and Newark, New Jersey, are among the finalists, as are Washington, Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland. Amazon could choose one metropolitan region and still have to negotiate with multiple states and local governments for tax incentives.