It’s often said that Virginia is for lovers.
And one very large tech company appears to be falling in love with a very specific corner of the commonwealth. According to a report in The Washington Post, Amazon is in advanced talks to place its highly-touted second headquarters in Crystal City — just south of Washington D.C. and The Pentagon and next door to Ronald Reagan National Airport. The report — citing “people close to the process” — notes that Amazon is in discussions about how quickly it can move employees to the region, possible buildings it could occupy and how the announcement will be made to the public.
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The announcement likely will come after the mid-term elections — dovetailing with information GeekWire also has heard.
From the beginning of the process, speculation has formed around an East Coast city — a place where Amazon can easily mine technical talent from nearby universities and established tech companies. The company — which has rapidly grown to more than 40,000 employees in downtown Seattle, stretching the city’s infrastructure — also said it wanted to be near a transportation hub.
Crystal City — technically a neighborhood in Arlington County — fits that mold, with stations on the D.C. metro and close to the airport.
In perhaps one of the most telling clues, Washington Post reporters Jonathan O’Connell and Robert McCartney report that JBG Smith, the biggest real estate developer in the city, has pulled buildings off the market and officials have discussed how to make an announcement to the public.
Amazon has operated with amazing stealth as the company solicits bids for its HQ2 project, an economic development prize that could produce 50,000 jobs and drastically transform the city where it lands. Many reports signal that an announcement is coming this month.
“Ultimately the decision will be made with intuition after gathering and studying a lot of data — for a decision like that, as far as I know, the best way to make it is you collect as much data as you can, you immerse yourself in that data but then you make the decision with your heart,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said at a conference in New York on Thursday.
Bezos also owns The Washington Post, and last year purchased a 27,000 square foot home and property — the former Textile Museum — in D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood for $23 million in cash.
Northern Virginia has long been a front runner for HQ2, and many betting sets have it in the lead for this one-of-a-kind sweepstakes. An analysis by GeekWire also recently showed that Amazon has more open positions in Northern Virginia than any of the other HQ2 cities.