Renters Worry As More Signs Point To Amazon Coming To Washington, DC

Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter

Amazon.com and its owner Jeff Bezos sent major hints Tuesday that the company could choose Washington, D.C., as the site for the tech giant’s second headquarters, although the location is still undecided.

Amazon became a member of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, according to CNBC, and the Amazon board of directors booked a 40-person dinner at the Renwick Gallery in D.C. Tuesday night, The Washington Post reported, citing a museum spokesman. Bezos himself is also scheduled to give an interview with the president of the Economic Club of Washington Thursday night.

The Washington Housing Initiative, an organization that addresses the lack of affordable housing in D.C., is sponsoring the interview, according to WaPo. Many fear that Amazon’s entrance to the nation’s capital would only make housing costs worse for the public. As of now, the potential Amazon facility would likely be located in Crystal City, a location where one of the Washington Housing Initiative’s top backers is a major landowner.

“You could see it as a tea leaf, that he wants the board to see Washington,” one local business leader who had heard of the board’s plans told WaPo. “It’s a little bit of a positive sign that it [the meeting] is here and not in Boston.”

Chamber of Commerce President Vincent Orange was similarly hopeful, telling CNBC that Amazon began paying the membership fee for companies with between 101 and 200 employees in the area in August. That rate would increase in the event of Amazon opening their HQ2 in D.C., however. (RELATED: Democracy Dies In Amazon’s Warehouses)

“Amazon certainly is a major, major catch for us,” Orange told CNBC. “To be able to have them as part of our membership is just great. As a member, clearly we would anticipate them being part of the government affairs committee.”

Amazon received 238 applications from cities across the country when it announced its interest in opening a second headquarters in September 2017. Since then, the company has narrowed down the field to just 20 potential sites. The 20 potential cities are “Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville; Newark; New York City; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh; Toronto and Washington, D.C.,” according to CNN.

Amazon hasn’t ruled out any further cities since announcing the 20 finalists in January, however.

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