Well, we were half-right. Amazon made its H2 selection this week and to everyone's surprise they split the HQ2 into "HQ3" by announcing they would place a headquarter in Crystal City, Virginia and Queens, New York. Also to the surprise of many, the move to New York has not made New Yorkers happy but we'll discuss that on another post. What we want to talk about now is how the two Economic Development Offices (EDOS) managed to sway Amazon.
The short answer is: $2.4 billion dollars in incentives.
Amazon did something with this bid that no company has done before. They made it a public spectacle. Amazon managed to get everyone talking about their company, their brand, and its future potential just by making its HQ2 search a public one. From the first press release to the last one, Amazon managed this move with the type of media savvy you normally only see out of the Kardashians. The mystery coupled with enthusiasm netted Amazon some of the most lucrative business incentives ever given out, led to some very public firings in government EDOs for losing the Top 25 City position, and created a new model of site selection.
We have been working closely with EDOs this year to build a platform they can use to demonstrate value and interest in communities and to be honest, we used a lot of data and nuance from the Amazon bidding war to build out our system more robustly. As we review the decision we plan on using the lessons learned to develop our own models and encourage others to do the same.
Until then, congrats Virginia and New York.