Northern Virginia city gets closer look from Amazon, newspaper report says

Gladys Abbott
November 6, 2018

It remains unclear whether similar discussions are being held with other cities but if Amazon has indeed honed in on the Washington area for its highly-sought second headquarters, it would be a blow to Toronto. Topics such as the timing for a public announcement and immediate office needs are reportedly being ironed out.

Amazon, which has said since early this year that it will make its final decision by the end of the year, plans to make $5 billion in capital investments in the city it chooses for HQ2. Even before the Post's report was published on Saturday, speculative investors have been snapping up shares in the publicly traded REIT.

But after publication of the Post story, Mike Grella, director of economic development for Amazon, posted on Twitter: "Memo to the genius leaking info about Crystal City, VA as #HQ2 selection. You're not doing Crystal City, Va. any favours".

Speaking on Thursday, at an event in New York, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said the decision would ultimately "be made with intuition after gathering and studying a lot of data".

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The discussions add speculation that the site in Virginia, that many considered the favorite for what Amazon is promising as 50,000 high-paying jobs, in honing in on the prize. He declined to comment on the Post report.

Betting sites give northern Virginia the most likely odds of landing the project, and stock analysts have sweetened their view of JBG Smith - owner of most of Crystal City - as Amazon's announcement has approached. He's the owner of The Washington Post and owns a home in the area.

If a company's location intent was judged by where its CEO flies, Grella said in a follow-up tweet, Amazon might also go to Davos, Switzerland; Sun Valley, Idaho; Rome or Hollywood, and Google, Facebook and Tesla might be relocating to "Black Rock Desert, NV", a reference to the annual Burning Man cultural festival.

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