Amazon's HQ2 in Arlington: New Digs, New Strategy?

1 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2020 Last revised: 10 Nov 2021

See all articles by Michael Lenox

Michael Lenox

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jenny Craddock

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

When Brian Huseman, vice president of public policy for the Seattle-based internet retailer and technology company Amazon.com (Amazon), prepared to meet economic-development officials and community leaders from Arlington, Virginia, in the wake of the company's February 2019 decision to pull a second headquarters location out of New York City, a lot was on the line. Facing a limit on its growth in Seattle, Amazon had embarked on a search for a second corporate headquarters, dubbed HQ2, in September 2017, and ultimately surprised the country when it announced its decision to split its HQ2 into two locations, Arlington and New York City, in late 2018. New York ultimately failed to give Amazon the warm welcome it was looking for, so Amazon focused solely on Arlington to claim the biggest economic development prize in recent memory. Amazon was making a huge commitment to Arlington including plans to develop up to eight million square feet of office space and hire 25,000 employees (each with an average salary higher than $100,000) over the next 15 years one that would make it the region's largest private-sector employer. Huseman wanted to be sure Virginia was fully prepared to create the right ecosystem for Amazon's HQ2 to thrive. How should the e-retail giant approach the meeting, considering what could be asked of itand what it should request in return?

Excerpt

UVA-S-0323

Rev. Feb. 8, 2021

Amazon's HQ2 in Arlington: New Digs, New Strategy?

When Brian Huseman, vice president of public policy for the Seattle-based internet retailer and technology company Amazon.com (Amazon), prepared to meet economic-development officials and community leaders from Arlington, Virginia, in the wake of the company's February 2019 decision to pull a second headquarters location out of New York City, a lot was on the line.

Facing a limit on its growth in Seattle, Amazon had embarked on a search for a second corporate headquarters, dubbed HQ2, in September 2017, and ultimately surprised the country when it announced its decision to split its HQ2 into two locations, Arlington and New York City, in late 2018. Despite the wider talent-pool advantages that came with having headquarters in both locations, New York ultimately failed to give Amazon the warm welcome it was looking for, forcing Amazon to halt its plans in New York and focus solely on Arlington to claim the biggest economic development prize in recent memory.

Amazon was making a huge commitment to Arlington including plans to develop up to eight million square feet of office space and hire 25,000 employees (each with an average salary higher than $ 100,000) over the next 15yearsone that would make it the region's largest private-sector employer. Huseman wanted to be sure Virginia was fully prepared to create the right ecosystem for Amazon's HQ2 to thrive. How should the e-retail giant approach the meeting, considering what could be asked of itand what it should request in return?

. . .

Keywords: Amazon, Jeff Bezos, New York, Virginia, strategy, headquarters, privacy, cybersecurity, employment, tech

Suggested Citation

Lenox, Michael and Craddock, Jenny, Amazon's HQ2 in Arlington: New Digs, New Strategy?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3682626 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3682626

Michael Lenox

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.darden.virginia.edu/LenoxM/index.htm

Jenny Craddock (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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