Amazon Slams Crystal City For HQ2 Leak


Amazon has reportedly held advanced discussions about opening its second headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia — and the eCommerce giant isn’t happy about that news leaking to the press.

According to The Washington Post, sources have revealed that Crystal City is so confident that the city’s top real estate developer, JBG Smith, has pulled some of its buildings off the leasing market, and local officials are making plans for a public announcement after the midterm elections.

“There’s a lot of activity,” said one source, who 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.”

And while Amazon isn’t revealing anything about its final decision, one executive expressed frustration over the leaks to the press. 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 favors. And stop treating the NDA you signed like a used napkin,” he said in reference to the nondisclosure agreements that Amazon required finalists to sign, according to Geek Wire.

He also criticized The Washington Post for a separate story linking CEO Jeff Bezos’ private jet’s flight history to the Amazon HQ2 search: “‘Experts’ say following Bezos’s jet may reveal #HQ2 winner... the finalists are apparently Davos (WEF), Sun Valley (Allen & Co.), Rome (vacation), & Hollywood (Oscars). In other news Google, FaceBook, Tesla moving HQ to Black Rock Desert, NV #BurningMan.”

Over the weekend the Wall Street Journal reported that in addition to Crystal City, New York City and Dallas have made the shortlist. People familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that talks with the top cities are in different phases. The paper noted that it's not clear how advanced the talks are between Amazon and New York City.

Negotiations with the top candidates are likely in slightly different phases, according to the knowledgeable people

On Friday (November 2), Bezos (who also owns the Post) said he will pore over all the data when choosing Amazon’s second headquarter, but then it comes down to “going with your heart.”

“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,” he said.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.