Amazon has just announced that it’s canceling plans to develop a site for one half of its second headquarters (dubbed HQ2) in New York recently. Despite being passed over for HQ2, Austin city officials say they’re open to talking to the online retailer about bringing what was to be the New York campus to the Austin area.
Amazon’s Search for HQ2
Amazon announced plans for HQ2 in September 2017, saying that the project would create 50,000 high-paying jobs and be equivalent to its headquarters in Seattle. More than 230 cities throughout North America applied, in what became one of the most public and unusual economic development sagas ever.
It’s been just three months after Amazon said it would split the $5 billion HQ2 development between New York’s Long Island City and Arlington, Va., ending the yearlong site search. In addition to HQ2, Amazon is also planning to open an operations center in Nashville. As a result of the recent news, there are questions as to how the change may impact the Austin area.
Is Austin Being Considered as a Replacement?
According to a report about the matter in the Austin-American Statesman, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce said that it has not received any communication from Amazon related to the project. However, it would be open to talking to the retailer again if approached. The local Chamber led the Austin area’s bid for the development in 2018.
To be clear, in a written statement Thursday, Amazon said it does not intend to reopen the HQ2 search.
“We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville,” the company said. “And we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.”
Impact on Austin
The Statesman reported that Amazon faced backlash in New York from residents, lawmakers and unions mainly due to the more than $1.5 billion in financial incentives the city offered the company for the new campus. In total, Amazon was in line to receive more than $2 billion from New York and Virginia.
The Austin area is already a major hub for the retailer, with more than 5,500 workers here split among the company’s corporate offices, a warehouse in San Marcos and at Whole Foods Market sites, which Amazon owns.
Industry analysts don’t believe Austin needs Amazon’s second headquarters to raise its status in the tech world. In fact, Austin is already home to many technology companies and will be the site of a new $1 billion Apple campus announced in December.
Read more about the Austin tech scene.
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