Amazon chooses Northern Virginia, New York for HQ2

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News

Amazon did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.

The online retailer has whittled down over 230 proposals, and chose to split its second North American headquarters over two sites, the Wall Street Journal reported overnight, citing unnamed sources.

The retail giant is expected to make an official announcement as early as Tuesday, according to sources close to the matter, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post reported.

Then came the big surprise a week ago when the Journal reported that Amazon planned to split its second headquarters evenly between two locations rather than picking one city.

Amazon's plan to split its second headquarters, dubbed "HQ2", evenly between two cities will boost its presence around NY and the United States capital as it seeks to gain a recruiting edge over Silicon Valley tech firms.

By one conservative estimate, cities and states give away more than $70 billion every year in forgone taxes and other concessions to companies - for the prospect of new jobs or even to keep existing ones.

Both New York and the D.C. area already have clusters of tech jobs, including offices of the biggest tech companies.

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The Circle City was among the 20 final cities that were being considered by the Seattle-based company.

The project is expected to bring 25,000 jobs to each of the locations.

But it's also fair to review Amazon itself.

Amazon has already been awarded more than $1.6 billion of state and local public subsidies across the U.S. since 2000, with most of that after 2012, according to a database from the Washington-based government watchdog Good Jobs First.

Amazon has faced criticism for the impact it has had on Seattle, the locations of its original headquarters. The company has about 45,000 employees in the city, and the company said it needed to hire more employees than the city could attract or absorb.

Some critics had pushed for more transparency from cities and states in the bidding process, warning that the benefits of hosting a massive Amazon office may not offset the tax-payer funded incentives and other costs.

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