Amazon Coming to Virginia

Amazon picked Crystal City in Northern Virginia to be the home to their second headquarters. This decision came after a long bidding war between 238 cities or sites fighting for Amazon’s HQ2 in 2017 and 2018.1

Amazon promised whichever cite would receive $5 Billion in revenue and 50,000 jobs just in the HQ2 alone.

Amazon’s requirements for cities were: 2

  • Metropolitan areas with a population of over 1 million
  • Within 30 miles (48 km) of a population center
  • Within 45 minutes of an international airport
  • Proximity to major highways and arterial roads 1–3 miles (2–5 km)
  • Access to mass transit routes
  • Up to 8 million square feet (740,000 m2) of office space for future expansion

This meant Amazon was looking for an already built and flourishing city to call its next home. Which meant the company was asking states to give incentives, tax breaks, and money to incentivize the company.

Why does this matter?

States were being asked to pick Amazon over its residents. Money and funding would be allocated to the company rather programs or tax breaks for residents.

The question which drove my research is why is Amazon choosing Virginia, specifically Crystal City, and why is this an issue?

Crystal City, Virginia

Crystal City, Virginia is a now urban residential area in Northern Virginia, close to the pentagon and America’s capital. The city boosts of the “Underground” shopping mall, which is placed under the city, that opened in the 1970s. Since the 1990s, the city has been working on making more restaurants, shops, and residential areas on the main streets.3 The goal has been make the city a great place to work, live, and shop all in one space, which is what they are achieving.

Amazon is coming

Crystal City was chosen initially as one of the two sites for Amazon HQ2. Virginia’s initial bid equal to $1 Billion in benefits and tax incentives.4 Amazon coming to Virginia is an investment for the state because of the jobs the company will bring. Along with jobs and a new employees, more housing and development would be needed.

Crystal City is a capitalistic playground with growing urban development, before Amazon decided on it as its second site. Virginia is willingly to give millions of dollars in incentives to this company and help build up an already affluent area.

Crystal City is an already developed area, which yes has the capacity for expansion and to be greater, but the benefits of Amazon should have been used to smaller area that could have been built up. Another option would have been to not spend the resources and money on the company but rather on current residents of the state. The main issue which is presented itself in Crystal City is the housing market is already too expensive to have lower-wage and income residents the city is relying on. Virginia’s large bid to Amazon to build its second headquarters shows the socio-economic divides in the state and how they will continue with already affluent areas receiving more aid than those which could benefit from it the most.

  1. William Morris, “Amazon HQ2 Bidding War’ Stirs Criticism,” Finance and Commerce, Nov 13, 2018,
  2. William Morris, “Amazon HQ2 Bidding War’ Stirs Criticism,” Finance and Commerce, Nov 13, 2018,
  3. MICHAEL BARBARO Washington Post,Staff Writer, “Crystal City Surfaces: Bars, Restaurants Try to Draw Workers from Underground,” The Washington Post (1974-), Nov 08, 2004,
  4.  Chuck Slothower, “Cities Respond in Droves to Amazon’s RFP for Second Headquarters,” Daily Journal of Commerce (2017).