Big question for Amazon's 2 chosen cities: Will it pay off?

This is where Amazon will build its two new headquarters

"We really did not know until the very end", Kelly said.

On a per-job basis, New York's offer to Amazon is about typical for the state but well above the national average for such deals, said Timothy J. Bartik, an economist for the Upjohn Institute in Kalamazoo, Mich., who has studied tax incentives.

Amazon's decision to split HQ2 between New York City and Arlington, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, DC) could translate to higher salaries for the average tech worker in both areas, according to the CEO of the job matching site Hired.

For its part, the Dallas Regional Chamber, which led the region's pitch for Amazon HQ2, sees benefits from its unsuccessful but "comprehensive and compelling" bid.

The gathering in Queens included dozens of elected officials, including City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the district that includes Long Island City and who said he'd been shut out of any negotiations and only learned the deal had been consummated by reading about it in the newspaper.

Some of the incentives are subject to approval by state and local legislative bodies, setting up a likely political fight over how much public money to give away in exchange for thousands of high-paying tech jobs.

Mega-corporation Amazon is doing the unthinkable: bringing together liberals and conservatives who are speaking out about a sweetheart deal between the online retail giant and New York City.

"National Landing is an urban community in Northern Virginia located less than 3 miles from downtown Washington, D.C.", Amazon wrote in its announcement.

At the same time, Tim Bartik, a senior economist at the Upjohn Institute, cautioned that with unemployment so low in both cities, numerous jobs Amazon will bring will likely go to people who don't now live in either Arlington or NY. This summer, he announced a new philanthropic fund that will create a network of tuition-free preschools.

In New York, a similar storyline was playing out in a section of the city in the midst of transformation from its industrial past.

The funds, which have to be appropriated by the Virginia General Assembly, are created to decrease slightly in value if more than 10% of the new hires are focused on federal government contracts. 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.

For example, Amazon's Anable Basin site is just a mile from the census tract containing Queensbridge Houses, the nation's largest public housing complex, where the median household income is $14,000 and the poverty rate is almost 50 percent. As Gianaris lambasted his colleagues for granting subsidies to Amazon, a truck drove by honking and extolling the virtues of the company's popular Prime membership.

Some experts in regional economics suggested that the payoff for the selected cities would go well beyond Amazon's initial investment.

One of Amazon's new homes is a building called One Court Square, identifiable by the Citi logo crowning the skyscraper, which is visible across the East River from Manhattan. The tech firm will also rent about 500,000 square feet in three existing properties, though it will probably leave some of that space once the new offices are built, Kelly said.

The suspense is over as Amazon made it official yesterday that its headquarters expansion will be to Arlington, Virginia and to New York City.

One of the driving factors behind the decision was the ability to lure top talent from two locations rather than one, said Jay Carney, Amazon's senior vice president for global corporate affairs. No mention was made of Amazon at the time. The Downtown Seattle Association said more than 2,000 small businesses have opened in downtown Seattle since Amazon showed up. The housing market will be one aspect to watch as Amazon employees and executives start exercising the option to move to NY or Virginia, Bishop recently told KIRO Radio.

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