The evidence is piling up that Amazon will choose Washington, DC, for its HQ2
06 Mar 2018
- There is now some compelling evidence that Amazon is looking very closely at the Washington, DC, area for its second headquarters, called HQ2.
- Hints the company has dropped — both on purpose and inadvertently — are starting to add up.
- There are other reasons the company may want to place its headquarters in Washington.
The race for Amazon’s second headquarters is heating up, and Washington, DC, just might be in the lead.
The evidence is now piling up that Amazon is looking seriously at the nation’s capital for its HQ2. After all, it may be the only place large enough to capture the company’s growing ambitions across multiple sectors with its high-profile colleges, strong transportation system, and high concentration of powerful people.
Here are all of the reasons it’s looking likely that Washington will be chosen for Amazon’s HQ2:
An article on a local news site in Arlington, Virginia, blew up overnight, and the site says the views came mostly from what appears to be an internal Amazon.com page.
A local news site calledsaid it recently saw an unusual spike in traffic to an article from December titled “County Wins Top Environmental Award from US Green Building Council” explaining how Arlington County was the first in the US to be selected for an environmental award.
Amazon has drastically increased its lobbying efforts.
Amazon has rapidly expanded its Washington lobbying efforts in the past five years, according to Bloomberg.
The company has increased its lobbying spending by more than 400% over that time. It has also widely expanded both the number of issues and the number of entities it lobbies, according to Bloomberg. To do this, it has nearly doubled the number of lobbyists it employs.
The company is reportedly fighting to be seen as a job creator rather than a job taker. It’s working to have more influence in Washington as it expands and moves rapidly into areas like drone aviation, cloud computing, and grocery.
In 2015, Amazon hired Jay Carney — the former press secretary under President Barack Obama — to oversee corporate affairs, and he now oversees the Washington policy office, which opened in 2014.
These moves are also powerful signifiers of a desire to have more influence in Washington. One way Amazon could have more influence is by relocating some of its corporate operations in or near the city. It could do that with its HQ2 project, which promises to bring significant investment to the chosen area.
Three of the 20 remaining HQ2 contenders are in the DC metro area.
Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, which border Washington, DC, are the only proposals under consideration that are not from a major city.
Additionally, Washington is the only metro area with three separate locations appearing on the short list.
That may indicate that Amazon has selected the area as the most desirable for HQ2.
The battle among the three locations is likely to be the fiercest, as they won’t be able to point to the region as a differentiating factor and must throw in their best incentives. No other locations on the company’s list are as close to one another.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos already owns the district’s largest home.
Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider
In 2017, The Washington Post revealed that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was the buyer of two mansions in the Kalorama section of Washington.
The property totals 27,000 square feet, and Bezos reportedly intends to turn it into a single-family home that would be the largest in the city. The deal closed for $23 million on October 21, 2016. Kalorama is a popular destination for well-heeled Washington residents.
If Washington is already a place where Bezos likes to spend his time, it stands to reason it’s a top choice for HQ2.
It’s a desirable city for other reasons, too.
There are a few other reasons Amazon may choose DC.
It meets all the criteria the company set for HQ2, including those for transportation, education, workforce, and livability. It has a well-respected higher-education system, and there’s plenty going on that makes it a desirable place for a younger workforce to live.
Amazon has already toured the DC area.
Amazon representatives toured several sites in the Washington, DC metropolitan area the last week of February, according to a new report in the Washington Post, which cited local officials.
The Amazon representatives reportedly breakfasted with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, had dinner with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and saw locations across Virginia, Maryland, and the district, according to the Post.
This is the first report we’ve seen of Amazon actively touring a candidate area, though it’s possible representatives have visited other locations without the public realizing. Amazon later indicated in a statement to Business Insider that it will visit all 20 of the locations the company has slated on its short list.
Source: Business Insider