What’s going on with HQ2? Here’s everything we know — and the implications for finalists

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An Amazon-branded van at the company’s June announcement of the Delivery Service Partners program. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

Amazon’s continent-wide search for a second headquarters took a strange turn this week after a series of surprising news leaks.

It now appears that the company is planning to split its second headquarters into two different cities, creating two new offices with 25,000 employees each. Amazon is reportedly in negotiations with spots including Crystal City in Arlington, Va., and Long Island in New York City for the new offices.

Critics have decried the revelation as a further evidence that Amazon’s HQ2 search was a stunt designed to get valuable media attention and gather intel about cities around the country. Meanwhile, leaders in Seattle have celebrated the news as a sign that whatever and wherever Amazon HQ2 — or HQ1.5 times two — ends up, Seattle will remain the nerve center of the company.

So what does it all mean? We try to answer that question on the latest episode of the Geekwire Podcast.

One thing to keep in mind, according to GeekWire Editor Todd Bishop, is that Amazon’s HQ2 search will have ramifications far beyond the location of these two new mini-headquarters.

Also on this episode, we recap two tech-supported ballot measures that were part of this week’s huge midterm elections.

Proposition C in San Franciso, which was championed by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, was passed, creating a corporate income tax to fund services for the homeless. In Washington State, a ballot measure that would have put a fee on companies creating carbon fell short, despite backing from many tech leaders in the Seattle region.

On the Random Channel: A miraculous new device and a super-geeky parent hack that engages Alexa in some family fun.

Listen to the latest episode of the GeekWire Podcast in the player below and subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app to get every episode.

This week’s stories:

  • Two HQ2s? Amazon reportedly plans to divide its second headquarters between two cities
  • Report: Amazon will split HQ2 between Long Island City in Queens, and Crystal City in DC
  • Seattle mayor celebrates reports that Amazon may split HQ2: ‘I’d call those branch offices’
  • Urbanist Richard Florida on what splitting Amazon HQ2 means for cities: ‘It never was about a second headquarters’
  • Will Amazon HQ2 mean relief for Seattle’s frenzied housing market? Redfin thinks so
  • Why San Francisco’s big business tax for homeless relief succeeded after Seattle’s crumbled
  • Washington state climate initiative with millions of dollars in support from tech leaders is defeated

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