Amazon may have been considering placing its second headquarters, which it calls HQ2, in two places from the beginning.
The company is close to choosing Long Island City in Queens, New York, and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, for its HQ2 project, according to a report by The New York Times from Monday evening. The reported plan would be to split the workforce in two so that 25,000 employees would be housed at each of the new campuses.
That news has surprised many observers, as Amazon had not publicly raised the possibility that HQ2 could be put in two different places, or even split among an area wider than one metropolitan area.
But a closer read reveals that Amazon had left itself some wiggle room in the form of legal language at the bottom of its original request for proposals last September.
There, in all italics, is a disclaimer that reads (emphasis ours):
“This RFP is only an invitation for proposals, the substance of which may be memorialized in a binding, definitive agreement or agreements if any proposal is selected. Amazon may select one or more proposals and negotiate with the parties submitting such proposals before making an award decision, or it may select no proposals and enter into no agreement.”
Once thought to be typical boilerplate legal language that would protect Amazon if it didn’t go through with the HQ2 project for whatever reason, it takes on a much different meaning in light of the recent reports.
It seems possible that splitting HQ2 could have been an option that Amazon was considering since the beginning, when it embarked on this project more than a year ago.
Amazon has declined to comment on reports about its possible plan to split HQ2. The company is expected to confirm its HQ2 selection before the end of the year.