Amazon may decide to create two HQ2 locations, instead of just one

The Wall Street Journal report comes as Amazon nears a self-imposed deadline for naming a winner.

Ben Fox Rubin Former senior reporter
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Ben Fox Rubin
2 min read

Outside Amazon's headquarters in Seattle.

Shara Tibken/CNET

And now it ends up that Amazon may decide to create an HQ2 and an HQ3.

The online retailing giant is looking to split its planned second headquarters  -- dubbed HQ2 -- between two cities, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing a person familiar with the move. 

Amazon's HQ2 gained attention as one of the biggest corporate projects in the US, with the e-retailer planning to hire 50,000 workers and spend $5 billion. The company fueled excitement about its plans by inviting cities to pitch themselves as sites for the development.

Now Amazon may create two separate 25,000-person campuses, in part due to the need to hire enough tech talent. Splitting the project in two could also ease concerns about housing and traffic in host cities, the Journal reported.

Two new 25,000-person offices remain massive undertakings for the company, though less attention-grabbing than the year-long hype has suggested. Two HQ2 projects would also ensure that Seattle remains Amazon's unequaled headquarters.

Amazon declined to comment.

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Splitting HQ2 would also raise questions about the current tax incentive packages Amazon has been offered on the premise of the larger office. Two of the biggest known packages include Montgomery County, Maryland, which offered $8.5 billion in incentives, and Newark, New Jersey, which offered $7 billion.

After naming 20 finalist cities this January, Amazon plans to announce a winner city by year's end. The Journal reported over the weekend that Amazon was in "late-stage discussions" with Crystal City in Virginia and with Dallas and New York City.

Many reporters quickly reacted on Twitter to the Journal story, with some joking about naming conventions.

"What to call this? HQ2 and HQ2.1? Or HQ2A and HQ2B?" asked The Washington Post's Paul Farhi.

Others were more introspective.

"This should serve as a moment of reflection for everyone involved in the HQ2 hype (me included). If Amazon ends up splitting its expansion into mini HQs, that is called ... opening satellite offices, which scarcely deserves the buckets of ink spilled so far," said Nick Wingfield of The Information.

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