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‘National Landing’: An Analysis of City Competitiveness and the Site Selection Process for Amazon’s Second Headquarters

Authors: Kieran Collinson*, George Washington University
Topics: Urban Geography, Economic Geography, Business Geography
Keywords: Amazon Second Headquarters (HQ2), Competitiveness of Cities, City Hierarchy, Place Branding, National Landing, Urban Geography, Economic Geography, Business Geography
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In September 2017 Amazon announced it would select a city to locate its second headquarters (HQ2). This came with the promise of 50,000 jobs with an average salary exceeding $100,000 and $5 billion in investments. In an unprecedented public competition, 238 North American Cities responded to Amazon’s Request for Proposal (RFP). After a year of competition, 20 finalists were selected with two sites winning, one in Northern Virginia's Arlington, and the other New York's Long Island City, Queens. Three months after the decision, Amazon pulled out of Long Island City, Queens stating it required the full support of the city and officials to proceed with the 10-15 year project.

Using mixed methods, this paper explores the extent to which competition for Amazon HQ2 exemplifies the ways North American cities incentivize and attract corporations, and the tactics they use in the bidding process. The paper further investigates how Amazon selected its sites and the impact on the places it rejected with a particular focus on New York. Finally, the paper discuses Amazon’s vision and the impact on the HQ2 site in Arlington, Virginia, renamed ‘National Landing’.

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