Amazon is finalizing plans to split its second headquarters between Long Island City (LIC), Queens, New York, and Crystal City, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC.
The company originally announced plans for HQ2 back in September 2017, citing that their high-speed growth was too much for their current headquarters in Seattle.
They’ve said they want as much as 500,000 square feet of office space by early next year, and that they want to hire as many as 50,000 full-time employees each earning an average of more than $100,000 per year.
High speed growth
Since Amazon set up camp there in a garage in 1994, Seattle has grown remarkably. Amazon now employs more than 40,000 people out of their HQ there, up from 5,000 in 2010.
According to The Seattle Times, as of 2017, Amazon’s company footprint in Seattle was more than twice as large as any other company’s presence in any other major US city. Amazon occupies 19% of all prime office space in the city (8.1 million square feet) — more than the next 40 biggest employers in Seattle combined.
While Amazon is still expected to continue expanding in Seattle — reportedly to more than 12 million square feet of office space within five years — it’s gotten to the point where the city can no longer handle their growth.
Amazon now wants to hire another 50,000 employees, and Seattle simply can’t attract or absorb that influx.
Reasons for picking LIC and Crystal City
By splitting their second headquarters between two cities, Amazon ensures that HQ2 does not overpower their original headquarters in Seattle.
Amazon already has more employees in those two areas than anywhere else outside of Seattle and San Francisco.
Long Island City and Crystal City are both just outside of the center of key cities, NY and DC. Both are accessible by their respective city metros, and perhaps slightly more comfortable for employees. Both have educated, technological workforces. LIC is right across from Midtown, Manhattan, has skyline views, and is a quick train ride away from the center of NY.
Particularly for LIC, some residents are worried about the complications of adding Amazon to an already high-growth area and how that will affect or hurt the area’s cultural history, current residents, and costs of living.
Plans for HQ2
Between those two cities, Amazon plans to hire as many as 50,000 full-time employees, earning six figure salaries on average.
Understandably, that announcement sent cities across the country into bidding wars to earn that kind of investment. Even at just half of the expected 50,000, that number of jobs is still dramatically larger than most corporations’ footprint in cities.
As of November 5, Amazon is now finalizing the decision for Queens, NY, and Crystal City, VA.
Implications for the industry
This is just another sign of Amazon’s immense growth and rising dominance in the internet space.
In their Q3 earnings report, Amazon reported their ad revenue was up 123% from last year, now worth $2.5 billion.
While advertising online was long dominated by Google and Facebook, Amazon is making a stand as a strong part of the triopoly.
Unlike Google and Facebook, Amazon realizes only a small part of its revenue via advertising. For perspective, their overall revenue was $56.6 billion in Q3, with only $2.5bn of that from ads.
Many marketers liken Amazon Advertising to the early days of AdWords — it still has a lot of growing to do. As only a portion of the overall company, however, a strong case can be made for a lot of explosive growth to come.