HQ2: Crystal City, NY, or both?

photoPhoto via Wikipedia

The guessing game over Amazon’s HQ2 is getting more frenzied as the company’s self-imposed end-of-year deadline approaches. Will it be Arlington’s Crystal City? New York City? They seem to be the front-runners — and now the talk on the street is that Amazon may pick both, splitting its second headquarters between the two cities.

Crystal City, once home to a large fleet of Naval offices, has plenty of space and other amenities. But with Amazon needing up to 50,000 employees in its HQ2 location, the current thinking is somewhat Solomonic — splitting the prize would ease the impact on the cities and give Amazon a larger talent pool to draw upon.

Both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have bought into this theory and are playing it prominently today. They both name Long Island City — which is actually in Queens but never mind that — as the likely spot for the New York Amazon branch. L.I.C., as it’s known to New Yorkers, was once home to just about every New York taxi, an increasingly endangered species being crowded out of its habitat by Uber, Lyft and other technology-driven conveyances. (Last time we checked, the Bezos-owned Washington Post was silent on the matter, which may mean something. Or nothing.)

Long Island City was also home to any number of drab warehouses and small industries — coffee roasters and the like. It is now a budding utopia of high-priced apartments and condos boasting great views of Manhattan, which lies just across the East River.

In fact, if you think about it, it’s hard to find two places more similar than Crystal City and Long Island City. Both are right across the river from the primary city in their region, both currently have a high vacancy rate because their long-time tenants have fled and both are close to major airports. You can literally walk to Washington National from Crystal City and New York’s LaGuardia is just a short Uber ride away from L.I.C.

Both are on major transit lines that can trundle you downtown or to the train station fairly quickly if not luxuriously.

Whether this will come to pass is, of course, everyone’s guess. But like the election underway across the nation today, it’s a certainty that something will happen; just what is a detail that will emerge shortly, maybe even sooner than we’d like.


About the Author

James R. Hood
James R. Hood is the editor and publisher of FairfaxNews.com. A former Associated Press editor and executive, he has more than 50 years of reporting experience.