It’s no HQ2, but Amazon will create 2,000 local jobs while opening a west side hub, the company announced Thursday.
Amazon said it planned to open a new Manhattan office in 2018 and to hire the 2,000 employees over the next three years.
“We’re excited to expand our presence in New York – we have always found great talent here,” Paul Kotas, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide advertising, said in a statement.
The online retailer signed a 15-year lease for 360,000 square feet at 5 Manhattan West, located on 10th Avenue between West 31st and 33rd streets, according to the property owner, Brookfield Property Partners L.P. The space will serve as the primary New York location for Amazon Advertising, according to Brookfield.
The new jobs in IT, finance, design and marketing will be located in Manhattan at the new office and at the company’s existing locations, which is expect to grow, according to an Amazon spokesman.
Amazon currently employs more than 1,800 people at various locations in the city, including its fashion photo studio in Brooklyn and two bookstores and Prime Now hub in Manhattan, where it offers one- and two-hour delivery service. The company recently announced plans to hire 2,250 employees at its fulfillment center in Staten Island.
To encourage the expansion, the state has agreed to give Amazon $20 million in tax credits over the next decade, provided that the firm hires 2,000 employees during that period, according to Empire State Development, New York’s economic development arm.
Several city officials have urged Amazon to consider their home turf for its second headquarters, which Amazon has dubbed HQ2. The Seattle-based company is searching for a location in North America, where it plans to spend $5 billion on its new headquarters and base about 50,000 new employees.
Business experts said Amazon’s expansion in New York City did not signify much about how viable its HQ2 bid will be.
“It all bodes well that Amazon has white-collar jobs there, and that they’re familiar with the talent pool of New York,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of the economic development research group Good Jobs First. “But this is a company that has a sophisticated, internal site location practice headed by people that have worked in big accounting firms for years.”
LeRoy and Scott Galloway, an NYU professor of marketing who has written a forthcoming book on Amazon called “THE FOUR: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google,” both believe that Amazon already has its sight set on one — or a few — HQ2 sites.
“I think Amazon has already decided to be in New York, and they’re just going through the RFP process to produce a term sheet that New York feels compelled to match,” Galloway said.
An Amazon spokesman declined to comment on this analysis.
Galloway said his research shows Amazon has paid $1.4 billion in taxes since 2008 — as opposed to the $64 billion Walmart has paid since then — and people are starting to take notice.
“If Amazon were more foward-looking, they’d be talking about investing in a city, as opposed to extracting tax breaks — it’s becoming painfully aware to people,” he said.