Amazon in 'advanced talks' to build new headquarters near DC

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Worse yet, critics have alleged that Amazon had been sussing out what incentives they could wring from each city, and has even gone against their own selection criteria in drawing up the shortlist.

HQ2 is slated to start operating in 2019, which means that Amazon will have to be ready to hit the ground running with their new headquarters. Washington has consistently been identified as the likely victor by various pundits, economists and think tanks, most often citing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' ties to the area through his ownership of the Washington Post, a second home there and the growing importance of the federal government as both a customer and potential regulatory threat to Amazon.

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Amazon has yet to name the cities the two HQ2's will reside in, but finalists reportedly include Crystal City in Virginia, New York City, and Dallas. Company founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos already had several connections to the Washington area.

By splitting the second headquarters, Amazon's Seattle office would remain its largest concentration of employees and the center of gravity for the tech giant. When the company announced a list of 20 top contenders in January, it included both Washington as well as Montgomery County, Maryland, which is just north of D.C. Lending credence to the Crystal City speculation was a tweet from Mike Grella, Amazon's director of economic development, who lashed out at the leakers, saying they weren't "doing Crystal City, VA any favors".

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Asked to comment on the weekend's reports, City Hall spokesman Adam Collins said, "As fun as it is to speculate on rumors, we're not playing that parlor game".

The rumored front-runner location in Northern Virginia is in Crystal City.

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