From 238 city bidders to 20 city finalists to likely 2 cities, rumor has it that Amazon’s new HQ2 will be located in two different cities. Though nothing has yet been announced in what has been called “the Olympics of the Corporate World,” rumor has it that Crystal City in the Washington DC suburb of Arlington is leading the pack. New York’s Long Island City, Chicago, and Dallas are also sprinting to secure a tie.
If Amazon’s HQ2 is to be split into two separate locations, it makes perfect sense that Crystal City would be one of them. Jeff Bezos, in addition to creating and controlling Amazon, also owns The Washington Post newspaper.
In 2017, Bezos acquired two adjacent properties that were formerly the Textile Museum of America in the tony DC neighborhood of Kalorama where the Obama and Trump-Kushner families currently reside. Perhaps Bezos thought it would be convenient as well as romantic to have an east coast pied a tier near The Post and a new headquarters?
Bezos purchased the 27,000 square foot mansion originally built for George Hewitt Myers for approximately $23M, according to public records. In total, the two houses will have 11 bedrooms, 25 bathrooms, 5 living rooms, 2 elevators, 2 libraries, 2 workout rooms, one 1,500 square foot ballroom and one “amazing” solarium.
The smaller of the two residences, built in 1912 by the Jefferson Memorial architect John Russell Pope, is to serve as the Bezos family residence with “all the essentials for a tech titan billionaire”…a whiskey cellar, wine room, workout room, TV room and family kitchenette upstairs. The larger of the two, built by Wally Butler Wood during the same time period, has the notable ballroom and its floor to ceiling Ionic fluted columns, limestone fireplace and balconied promenade with iron guardrails that overlook the space from the second floor. Both of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
People “in the know” suggest that splitting Amazon HQ2 into two locations was prompted by concerns that a single location may not be able to draw the needed 50,000 highly educated tech employees to staff Amazon’s requirements over the next 10-15 years. Also, having two locations might help squash almost certain criticisms about eminent traffic and escalating housing costs caused by such a huge influx of people into just one city. (Amazon has been the brunt of such criticisms in its home city of Seattle since it “moved in.”)
Even if these rumors are false and Crystal City falters in its final stretch run, there is no doubt that Bezos’s “new” DC digs will become the bell of Washington’s elite party scene.