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Amazon’s second headquarters not coming to Boston and that’s okay

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E-commerce giant is instead splitting its HQ between Queens and Northern Virginia—and that’s probably for the best

Jeramey Lende/Shutterstock

Amazon’s second headquarters is not coming to Boston.

Instead, the e-commerce giant is heading to both the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens and Crystal City in Northern Virginia. Recall that earlier in November the company announced it would split its new headquarters between two places rather than put it all in one.

The idea was that in splitting it up Amazon will reduce pressure on the host city, which would have been expected to absorb up to 50,000 new employees.

The decision to break for Queens and Crystal City—which Amazon made official on November 13—caps nearly a year of speculation about where the HQ would land. At one point, Boston was a clear frontrunner, turning up in report after report and analysis after analysis as a solid choice ticking all of Amazon’s boxes: Talented local workforce, great universities, an international airport nearby, serious (albeit aged) transit infrastructure.

But then it became gradually clear as 2018 went on that the city and its surrounding region just didn’t have that certain something—as Crystal City surely had, being just across the Potomac River from Amazon chief Jeff Bezos’ home and from a national capital the company will likely lobby for decades as it grows into the biggest U.S. company.

As for Long Island City, Queens, it’s right across the East River from Manhattan, and New York City recently committed to a plethora of infrastructure improvements for the neighborhood. Plus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently said he’d do just about anything to lure Amazon to his state.

There was never that kind of lobbying—abasement?—from state and local officials here. And it’s all probably for the best. Amazon’s second HQ would have met that much more congestion and that much tighter and more expensive a housing market in the Boston area.

Plus, the region is already growing, slapping on jobs—including via Amazon—and new development at a bracing pace. It did not need this headquarters.