Amazon East: Incentives from, benefits for new Amazon HQs

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Amazon, with its new HQs in NY and Virginia, expects to get more than $2 billion in tax credits and incentives with plans to apply for more.

As well, Amazon says its new offices will generate more than $US14 billion in extra tax revenue for New York, Virginia and Tennessee over the next two decades.

The prize, which Amazon called HQ2, attracted hundreds of proposals from across North America in a year-long bidding war that garnered widespread publicity for the company.

Losers said they learned from the process, while winners said it was costly but worthwhile.

Jennah Goldman, an Arlington resident who designs custom clothing, was especially pleased to hear the news of her new neighbor.

Dozens of luxury high-rise buildings, suitable for senior Amazon executives, had been in the planning well before the company came on the scene, said Jonathan Miller, CEO of the real-estate firm Miller Samuel.

Still, it faces fierce competition for talent from Alphabet Inc.'s Google and other companies working to build new technologies in the cloud. Amazon also could qualify for an additional $1.3 billion in as-of-right city benefits, bringing the total perks to almost $3 billion.

Amazon officially announced Tuesday that its second headquarters will be split between two locations - New York City and Arlington, Virginia. The former industrial area also has a clock counting down the hours until the end of US President Donald Trump's first term in office.

In exchange for more than $2 billion in economic incentives, the online shopping giant will locate a pair of new corporate headquarters just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., and just across the East River from Manhattan.

The Mayor said to reassure Amazon about a high-tech workforce here, the city proposed creating Amazon U. Amazon is a frequent target of Trump's criticism.

While DFW is home to the most technology workers in Texas and has a growing tech workforce, officials said it was still hard to compete against the large number of people in the Boston-New York-Washington, D.C. corridor.

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NY is already the home of Wall Street.

"I like to win, so my heart's broken today", said Mayor Rawlings.

- Performance-based direct incentives of $1.525 billion, based on 25,000 full-time, high-paying jobs created. What benefit the company would actually get was unclear. In Virginia, the state is ponying up $573 million in tax breaks tied to the creation of 25,000 jobs, and the city of Arlington will provide a cash grant of $23 million over 15 years funded by an existing tax on hotel rooms.

The fact that Amazon was willing to accept a smaller incentive package for a more ideal location should send a message to politicians everywhere.

In total, the city offered incentives worth $US1.5 billion ($2.1 billion). 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. The Nashville center will create 5,000 jobs.

Economist Amihai Glazer of UC Irvine told the Los Angeles Times, "Amazon played cities against each other".

Some see the billions in tax breaks as corporate welfare while others are anxious about home values and school overcrowding in areas where it's already a problem for many residents.

The company has already had to navigate community issues at its more than 45,000-person urban campus in Seattle.

The search was also a not-so-subtle message to the city of Seattle, where some political leaders have blamed Amazon for skyrocketing property values, gridlocked highways and a growing homeless crisis. Namely, landing major employers has more to do with running a thriving, sustainable city than it does with how much of other peoples' money you throw around.

That's the sort of thing a place like NY (home to one of the nation's worst business tax climates) could have used.

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