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Report: Amazon Has Decided to Split HQ2 Evenly Between Two Cities
According to the Journal, the “driving force” behind the surprising decision “is recruiting enough tech talent,” while also easing “potential issues with housing, transit and other areas where adding tens of thousands of workers could cause problems.” Amazon, which has pledged a $5 billion investment in HQ2, had originally planned to add 50,000 new jobs in just one city.
A decision has still not been made on which two cities will be chosen for the new headquarters.
However, the Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Amazon “has progressed to late-stage talks” with New York City, Dallas and Crystal City in Northern Virginia. Meanwhile, the Washington Post is reporting that Amazon “held advanced discussions” with Northern Virginia’s Crystal City, which had been seen as the front-runner to land the highly coveted HQ2.
According to the Post, the discussions with Crystal City have included “how quickly it would move employees there, which buildings it would occupy and how an announcement about the move would be made to the public,” adding that the talks “were more detailed than those the company has had regarding other locations in Northern Virginia and some other cities nationally.”
The company is so close to making its choice that Crystal City’s top real estate developer, JBG Smith, has pulled some of its buildings off the leasing market and officials in the area have discussed how to make an announcement to the public this month, following the midterm elections, according to public and private-sector officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Amazon has asked that the selection process remain confidential. The company may be having similar discussions with other finalists.
As Amazon increases its discussions with a few select cities, “the developments are intensifying anticipation that the list of likely choices is dwindling—even as several of the knowledgeable people cautioned that Amazon hasn’t made a final decision,” according to the Journal. The increased media speculation that Crystal City would be the likely pick for HQ2 (before it was revealed that there would be two cities picked) has not sat well with Mike Grella, Amazon’s director of economic public policy, who took to Twitter on Sunday to scold whoever is presumably leaking info to the press.
Memo to the genius leaking info about Crystal City, VA as #HQ2 selection. You’re not doing Crystal City, VA any favors. And stop treating the NDA you signed like a used napkin. https://t.co/wqrZLqr8MQ
— Mike Grella (@MikeGrella) November 3, 2018
Amazon received 200 proposals for HQ2 before narrowing the field to 20 finalists. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post and has a home in the D.C. area (a stone’s throw from Crystal City), said in an interview at an event in New York City last week that the HQ2 pick will be made “with intuition after gathering and studying a lot of data.”
For what it’s worth, Crystal City was the favorite on online betting forums to land HQ2 before the Journal’s scoop on Amazon splitting the headquarters between two cities.