The Challenges of Siting a New Headquarters: Amazon Courts New York City

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: June 12, 2020
Length: 18 pages
Product ID#: 9-380-526

Core Disciplines: Economics, Ethics, Negotiations, Social Impact, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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In 2017, Amazon began its search for a second headquarters location. From 20 finalists, after a bidding process that lasted nearly a year, Amazon selected two locations: Long Island City in the borough of Queens, New York City; and Arlington, Virginia. There were many stakeholders with varied opinions about the location, especially in New York. Progressive politicians, led by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, argued against the New York City location, as did most City Council members. But New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo were in support of the deal, which they brokered.

The case asks students to put themselves in the shoes of Amazon’s director of economic development, as she and her team make a final recommendation to move forward with the New York deal or pull out.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Understand interaction among state and local governments, the public, and large corporations.
  • Analyze key factors of the corporate decision-making process.
  • Evaluate the role of social media and political discourse when making large decisions affecting the public.
  • Compare the motivations of conflicting stakeholders and articulate the impact of activism on corporate deals.