Bezos reiterated the company’s timetable for announcing the winning city during a talk Thursday evening at the Economic Club of Washington, DC, but he didn’t hint at which city he’s leaning toward. DC, along with neighboring Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland, are widely viewed as the top potential picks.
‘The answer is very simple,’ Bezos told David Rubenstein, the president of the Economic Club, when asked about the topic. ‘We will announce a decision before the end of the year. So, we’ve made tremendous progress … and we will get there.’
The company’s push to build a second home base highlights how massively Amazon has expanded during its 20-plus year history. It started as an online bookseller and now, in addition to being an internet purveyor of hundreds of millions of products, it’s a cloud-computing juggernaut, an electronics maker, logistics and delivery operator and a Hollywood studio.
After growing in Seattle over the past two decades, the world’s largest online retailer announced plans a year ago this month to create a second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, in North America. In January, the company announced the final 20 candidates for the location after whittling down the list from proposals submitted by 238 communities in the US, Canada and Mexico.
The deal could be a windfall for whichever community Amazon chooses. Over the next 15 to 17 years, Amazon plans to spend $5 billion to develop the 8 million-square-foot site and hire 50,000 employees there, outpacing its Seattle location, which employs 45,000 people.