Amazon keeps everyone guessing about HQ2

Posted at 7:27 AM, Nov 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-04 07:27:35-05

The mystery over which city or cities Amazon will choose for its second headquarters continues.

An Amazon executive on Saturday took a swipe at a Washington Post report that said the e-commerce giant was in advanced talks about opening its second headquarters, nicknamed HQ2, in Crystal City, Virginia. The report in the Jeff Bezos-owned Post, which cited “people close to the process,” said the Washington DC suburb is a frontrunner for the complex, which is expected to create 50,000 jobs and cost $5 billion.

“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,” tweeted Mike Grella, Amazon’s Director of Economic Development.

Amazon (AMZN) declined comment to CNN Business about the Washington Post report.

Seattle-based Amazon has been searching for its second home for more than a year, whipping up a frenzy of speculation about its decision-making process. But it’s been tight-lipped about which locations might have the advantage. Bezos, Amazon’s founder and president, has said the announcement will be made late this year.

The company received 238 proposals and selected 20 finalists in January. The shortlist includes Austin, Atlanta, New York City, Dallas, Columbus, Ohio, Miami, Nashville and Northern Virginia.

Officials in Austin said on Saturday they “have nothing new to share regarding Amazon’s HQ2 search.” Other cities on the shortlist did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Analysts following the hunt have said the company could be leaning toward larger cities with international airports that would be attractive places to live for young professionals. The company is also likely to look at the perks being offered, such as tax incentives.

When asked about the search this week during an interview with historian Walter Isaacson, Bezos said the final selection will be based as much on intuition as information.

“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 said.