Cheers, fears as Amazon unveils headquarters plan

Cheers, fears as Amazon unveils headquarters plan

Cheers, fears as Amazon unveils headquarters plan

As details of Amazon's plans for its new headquarters in Queens, New York and Arlington, Virginia come into view, local officials in New York spoke out on Wednesday against their state's decision to give away a total of almost $3 billion in taxpayer money to the company as an incentive for supposedly bringing new jobs to New York City-money that could be used to benefit residents and the local economy rather than subsidize the corporate giant.

Here's how it all played out.

Meanwhile, in Denver and elsewhere we're celebrating the rejection of our Amazon bids.

However, not everyone was swept up in the excitement.

Still, the benefits of mass transit depend on NY and Washington maintaining and improving their systems - a severe challenge in recent years amid breakdowns, deteriorating tracks and rising expenses in both public transportation systems.

A water taxi approaches the Long Island City waterfront and skyline, in the Queens borough of NY. Earlier this year, Amazon said it had selected 20 cities as finalists, including Boston.

In Virginia, Amazon will receive performance-based incentives of $573 million, including an average $22,000 for each job it creates. If they decide not to cash out on their investment for up to seven years, they receive another benefit: They get to exclude up to 15 percent of those gains from taxes.

The company will receive up to $550 million United States dollars (roughly $728.52 million CAD) as a workforce cash grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as an additional $23 million USD (roughly $30.47 million CAD) cash grant from the City of Arlington over 15 years based on incremental growth forecasts.

What do the cities themselves get for all that effort?

The program, open to all companies, could be worth as much as $900 million to Amazon over 12 years, on top of the state incentives.

Amazon has always been a master of extracting tax incentives by playing local governments off one another as they vie for fulfillment centers, offices, and other sources of jobs.

The US$5 billion investment will mean thousands of high-paying jobs in the two locations, but could also strain services and housing in areas with already high living costs.

Amazon could receive more than $2 billion in tax incentives in NY and Virginia, the company said in its HQ2 announcement.

Some analysts had thought Amazon might follow a trend that other companies have set and add jobs in cities where salaries and housing were often cheaper.

More than 18,000 new apartments, including 3,420 for-sale units, have been completed since 2006, according to the Long Island City Partnership.

Amazon has so far not commented on the claims in the Wall Street Journal. And Arlington is among the wealthiest counties in the United States (in 2016, the median income there was $US108,706). New York City changed the lights on the Empire State Building to Amazon's signature orange color.

Stonecrest in Georgia, offered to rename some of its land to "the city of Amazon".

And Crystal City, across from the nation's capital, is made up of 1980s-era office towers. "We're well past that, and there's zero public justification for a package as rich as this".

"That's an very bad lot of money", said Aaron Jodka, research director at real estate firm Colliers International in Boston.

"The immediate impact we've seen, one agent raised the price of two condos in Crystal City by $20,000".

As well, they think it's no surprise that the candidates that were most obvious all along won (and it's also been noted that Mr Bezos owns homes in both locations). Former New York mayor and business leader Michael Bloomberg called it "an affirmation not only of NYC's growing tech talent, but also of all the investments - in housing, schools, parks, transportation, and culture - that have turned LIC into such a thriving neighborhood" on Twitter.

What happens to the headquarters in Seattle?

Amazon also announced a new "Operations Center for Excellence" in Nashville, Tennessee.

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