Re­port: Sec­ond Ama­zon HQ could land in north­ern Vir­ginia

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - NATION & WORLD - By Jonathan O’Con­nell and Robert McCart­ney

Ama­zon has held ad­vanced dis­cus­sions about the pos­si­bil­ity of open­ing its highly sought-af­ter sec­ond head­quar­ters in Ar­ling­ton, Va ., in­clud­ing 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, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple close to the process.

The dis­cus­sions were more de­tailed than those the com­pany has had re­gard­ing other lo­ca­tions in north­ern Vir­ginia and some other cities na­tion­ally, adding to spec­u­la­tion that the site in Ar­ling­ton County is a front- run­ner to land the on­line re­tail gi­ant’s sec­ond North Amer­i­can head­quar­ters and its 50,000 jobs.

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 ano- nymity be­cause Ama­zon has asked that the se­lec­tion process re­main con­fi­den­tial. The com­pany may be hav­ing sim­i­lar dis­cus­sions with other fi­nal­ists.

Two peo­ple close to the process said if Crys­tal City were se­lected, Ama­zon was likely to move an ini­tial group of sev­eral hun­dred em­ploy­ees into 1851 S. Bell St. or 1770 Crys­tal Drive, two dated of­fice build­ings that have been tar­geted for rede­vel­op­ment but could be read­ied for oc­cu­pancy by the owner, JBG Smith, in nine months or less. The­bid also in­cludes sites in Po­tomac Yard, in Alexan­dria.

“There’s a lot of ac­tiv­ity,” one in­di­vid­ual close to the process said. The per­son added that peo­ple “seem re­ally pos­i­tive, and they seem pretty con­fi­dent. ... What we don’t know, maybe there are two or three other sites, and they’re do­ing the same thing. That’s what’s scary to peo­ple around here.”

At a con­fer­ence Thurs­day in New York, Ama­zon founder Jeff Be­zos told the crowd: “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.” Be­zos also owns TheWash­ing­ton Post.

Spokes­men for Ama­zon and JBG Smith de­clined to com­ment, as did Ar­ling­ton County Board Chair Katie Cris­tol.


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