NEW YORK - Amazon isn’t commenting on reports that it plans to split its new headquarters between facilities in two cities rather than choosing just one.
The New York Times, citing unnamed people familiar with the decision-making process, said the company is nearing deals to locate in Queens in New York City and in the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., outside Washington, D.C. The Wall Street Journal, which also reported the plan to split the headquarters between two cities, says Dallas is still a possibility as well.
Spokesman Adam Sedo said Amazon, which will also keep its original headquarters in Seattle, would not comment on “rumors and speculation.”
Amazon’s decision to set up another headquarters set off an intense competition to win the company and its promise of 50,000 new jobs. Some locations sought to stand out with stunts, but Amazon emphasized it wanted incentives like tax breaks and grants. It also wanted a city with more than 1 million people, an airport within 45 minutes, direct access to mass transit and room to expand.
The company received 238 proposals before narrowing the list to 20 in January.
The unexpected decision to evenly divide the 50,000 jobs between two cities will allow the company to recruit enough talent and also relieve pressures from demand for housing and transportation, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The New York Times said Amazon executives met last month with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state had offered possibly hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of subsidies. They also met with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, it said.
“I’ll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that’s what it takes,” the report cited Cuomo as saying.
Amazon has said it could spend more than $5 billion on the new headquarters over the next 17 years, about matching the size of its current home in Seattle, which has 33 buildings, 23 restaurants and 40,000 employees.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has said the new headquarters will be “a full equal” to its current home.
Amazon already employs 600,000 people. That’s expected to increase as it builds more warehouses across the country to keep up with online orders. The company recently announced that it would pay all its workers at least $15 an hour, but the employees at its second headquarters will be paid a lot more — Amazon says they’ll make an average of more than $100,000 a year.