Amazon's HQ2 decision is coming down to the wire - here's what we know so far
- There are only roughly two months left for Amazon to select the location of its second headquarters, HQ2.
- The last official communication from Amazon came almost exactly 10 months ago, in January, when it narrowed the field to 20 candidate cities.
- Since then, the only thing Amazon has said is that it will make its decision by the end of the year.
- Amazon has reportedly made second visits to some cities, including Miami and Washington, DC, as recently as September, indicating that the search is not quite over yer.
- Still, the betting odds and much of the speculation have zeroed in on the DC area and Northern Virginia, specifically.
The window for Amazon to name the location for its second headquarters, HQ2, is closing fast.
The company has only about two months left to announce its decision for where it will invest $5 billion and add some 50,000 jobs for its HQ2 project. The last official communication from Amazon came almost exactly 10 months ago, when it narrowed its selection to 20 finalist cities in January.
Since then, the ony thing Amazon has said is that it will make its decision by the end of the year, leaving speculation to run rampant throughout the year.
The speculation has mostly settled down in recent months, both because of a lack of new evidence and a general consensus that the greater Washington, DC, area will run away with it.
Recent visits don't zero in on any specific city
Company representatives associated with its HQ2 search made return visits to multiple cities on Amazon's short list of candidates, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the South Florida Business Journal.
Amazon reportedly revisited Miami, Chicago, New York City, Newark, and locations in the Washington, DC, area, and some visits were as recently as September or October.
Read more: Amazon's latest charitable donation could be a message to HQ2 candidate cities
Few other details about why or which sites the company visited are available in most cases.
A second visit to so many sites at such a crucial time in the HQ2 decision process threw open the doors of speculation on HQ2. Though most analysts and experts have been betting on Northern Virginia as the winner, the additional site visits suggested that the decision was far from made.
The Washington, DC, area is still largely seen as the frontrunner, however
Some experts and insiders have even gotten specific with their predictions.
In September, location-data site Sperling's Best Places named Loudoun County, Virginia - and, specifically, the semi-rural town of Oatlands, Virginia - as the likely spot where HQ2 will land.
Sperling's says the town, a suburb that lies about 35 miles west of Washington, DC, is perfect for a few reasons. It's close to DC, but it has plenty of space to build Amazon's second headquarters to its exact specifications.
Sperling's may not turn out to be correct about Oatlands, but Northern Virginia as a whole has certainly been on experts' radars. Two people who claimed to be in the know told former Business Insider reporter Allan Smith that the company had set its sights on Northern Virginia.
And in recent months, the betting odds have quite literally zeroed in on Virginia. The state is, in fact, located in the "bull's-eye of America's internet," likely adding to its chances. A local news site called ARLnow.com said it saw an unusual spike in traffic from Amazon to a December article titled "County Wins Top Environmental Award from US Green Building Council" explaining how Virginia's Arlington County was the first in the US to be selected for an environmental award.
It's also close to the power center of DC, where Bezos already owns an enormous house and the Washington Post.
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