Amazon exec calls out 'genius' who leaked possible HQ details

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos will likely announce the location for the company's second headquarters by the end of the year. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos will likely announce the location for the company's second headquarters by the end of the year. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The question of where Amazon will build its second major campus has company officials slamming leaks to news media.

The company's director of economic development had a sharp rebuke after reports over the weekend said the retailer is planning to build the second headquarters in Crystal City, Va.


The Washington Post reported Saturday Amazon has inquired how quickly it can move employees to northern Virginia to staff the campus and how the announcement should be made.

The paper is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

Discussions for Crystal City were more in-depth than in other cities in Northern Virginia and other locations, including New York and Dallas, the Post reported.

"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 [non-disclosure agreement] you signed like a used napkin," Amazon Economic Development Director Mike Grella said in the tweet.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday talks are still active in 20 cities, including Denver, Toronto, Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and Raleigh, N.C.

The Crystal City location would put Amazon just outside Washington, D.C. Betting websites are picking Northern Virginia as the winner.


Site selection specialists are in talks with several cities in case other deals fall through. Rumors are swirling in Dallas where the former home of the Dallas Morning News sold for $33 million last week. Texas has a lower cost of living and no state income tax. The former Morning News site is on the west side of downtown with direct access to commuter rail.

A clause in the deal requires the developer, KDC, to pay A.H. Belo Corp, owner of the Morning News, 50 percent of the profit if Amazon buys the site before the sale closes on Dec. 28. If Amazon buys within a year of the closing day, KDC will pay 33 percent of the profit.

The bidding for Amazon has been intense since the company announced plans to build a second headquarters away from its Seattle hub. Bezos said the decision will be made after gathering and studying lots 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 make the decision with your heart," Bezos said.

The Post looked at where Bezos has flown recently on his private jet. The log shows he made trips to Dallas in April for a speech, Palm Springs, Calif., for a summer camp and the Washington, D.C., area in September to appear at an Air Force conference.


The plane has not been to 11 of the 20 finalist cities at all, the Post report said.

"Typically, the CEO and the senior staff actually visit the specific sites late in the process," said John Boyd, a New Jersey relocation consultant.

An Amazon spokesman said don't read too much into Bezos' travel history.

Amazon expects to make its decision by the end of the year.

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