Amazon HQ2 talks reportedly narrow to Crystal City, Dallas and NYC

The company appears likely to make a decision on the location of its second headquarters before 2019

Amazon is reportedly getting close to finalizing the location of its $5 billion, 50,000-job second headquarters following a nationwide reverse-contest of sorts, wherein the tech company accepted bids and presentations from different city governments on why they should be the one to land Amazon HQ2. And now it appears that three locations are currently in the lead: Virginia’s Crystal City, Dallas and New York City.

After speaking to people familiar with Amazon’s plans, The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend that the search for the second headquarters has narrowed from the 20 cities originally shortlisted as potential locations. Discussions around Denver, Toronto, Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and Raleigh, N.C. have cooled somewhat while Amazon’s team has been having more talks with representatives of the other three cities.

Amazon’s impact on home affordability has been a major consideration, as the tech giant’s presence in Seattle has both created numerous jobs and driven up home values in the surrounding areas to astronomical levels.

Amazon has yet to pick its final location — the tech giant is said to be in different stages of discussion with each of the cities.

That said, northern Virginia’s Crystal City’s top real estate developer, JBG Smith, has reportedly taken some of its buildings off the leasing market while Dallas developers have also bought property on a site that has been set aside specifically for Amazon,

According to Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, Crystal City would be most likely to benefit from the jobs provided by Amazon but all three cities would see home prices spike as a direct result of the headquarters.

“From a housing perspective, the number of homes on the market is very limited in each area, in Northern Virginia there are 11 homes on the market per household, in New York there are seven and Dallas there are 10,” Hale said. “No matter which market is chosen, residents can expect a significant increase in home prices, especially in the immediately surrounding area.”

Amazon is not commenting officially on the status of the discussions, although it has said that it will announce the HQ2 location by the end of the year.

However, Amazon’s director of economic development Mike Grella tweeted on Saturday in response to a separate Washington Post article naming Crystal City as the likely frontrunner, “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.”

Sources also told the WSJ that Amazon could, along with announcing the headquarters, also place smaller operations in cities that were runners-up for the final location.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal reports today that Amazon is planning to “split its second headquarters evenly between locations,” rather than centralize it in one. The decision was reportedly based on an effort to recruit more tech talent from across the country, and throws an unexpected surprise into the selection process.

Email Veronika Bondarenko