Amazon Narrows Down Potential HQ2 Location—or is it Locations?

Amazon is drawing closer to making a final selection for HQ2 as many are speculating that the company will select not one but two locations for their new headquarters. The two cities that seem nearest to the finish line are Crystal City, Virginia—which is located just outside Washington D.C.—and Long Island City, New York, as executives have made trips and secured high profile meetings with city officials.

Despite initial reports that Amazon was simply looking for the most affordable and economically viable region for HQ2, Forbes says the selection process was actually driven by two key factors: “1) the ability to attract talent and 2) access to the amenities that the talent prefers.”

There are some similarities to both areas, as each are already home to major corporations and have many vacant commercial real estate opportunities. Each also provides affordability yet remains within close proximity to some of the nation’s most lucrative real estate markets. As Forbes notes, Long Island City is a mere 3 miles from Midtown Manhattan, while Crystal City is only 4.5 miles outside of Washington D.C.

As Forbes outlines, “Being a bit away from downtown offers some advantages for building a substantial new campus, notably less competition and lower rents for Class A office space.” And unlike in Seattle, where traffic, poor transportation solutions and a rapidly rising population have caused long commute times and back-ups in South Lake Union, distance won’t prove too difficult a problem for potential employees. Both Crystal City and Long Island City already boast robust transit infrastructure systems with subways and bus lines connecting them to residential neighborhoods and their respective Central Business Districts.

Real estate values in the new HQ2 location(s) have been on the minds of many, but as MarketWatch reports, “house prices and rents will likely rise,” however it won’t be sudden, “and there may not be the significant spike that some homeowners” are banking on. What’s more, is that if Amazon does indeed select two locations, the impact on each community’s economy will be reduced, meaning the outlook will be much different than what we’ve seen play out in Seattle.