‘I’d call those branch offices’: Seattle mayor skewers Amazon’s reported plans to split its HQ2 between 2 cities

  • Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan said she would be pleased if Amazon split its much-awaited HQ2 between two cities.
  • “I’d call those branch offices,” the mayor told KIRO-TV Seattle.
  • The New York Times reported on Monday evening that Amazon is planning to open HQ2 facilities in New York and Virginia.

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan said she was heartened by reports that Amazon plans to split its HQ2 facilities between two locations.

“I’d call those branch offices,” she told KIRO-TV Seattle on Monday night. “That would be good news.”

Her wish seemingly came true later Monday night, when The New York Times reported that Amazon had decided to go with two cities: Long Island City in Queens, New York, and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

It makes sense that the mayor of Seattle would be excited about the fact that her city seems poised to remain the true center of Amazon’s operations. But Durkan’s quip about HQ2 echoes a lot of the criticism swirling around Amazon’s reported picks – not to mention the manner in which the online retail giant teased its decision-making.

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Amazon is reportedly splitting HQ2 into 2 cities, which would prove the whole contest was a massive sham

Amazon previously said that it planned to hire 50,000 employees to work in its new corporate headquarters. The company also drew out the selection process, even releasing a short list of potential candidates. In the meantime, different localities across North America fell over themselves to offer Amazon flashy perks and lucrative tax breaks.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo even joked that he’d change his name to “Amazon Cuomo” in exchange for HQ2.

For a while, though, it appeared that Northern Virginia was a front-runner in the race for HQ2.

But by dividing up its new headquarters between two locations, critics have argued that the the online retailer is minimising the impact of HQ2. In other words, the argument is that instead of opening a second headquarters, it’s just opening two large offices.

Then again, given the potential downsides of Amazon HQ2 – namely skyrocketing rent, increased traffic, and overall gentrification – perhaps a reduced rollout isn’t such a bad thing.

Read more about Amazon’s HQ2 project: