Where does Newark’s bid for Amazon stand now? Same place it’s always been

By Tom Bergeron
Newark | Nov 4, 2018 at 9:12 pm

Published reports this weekend said Amazon is closing in on a deal to bring its second headquarters, the highly coveted HQ2 project, to the Northern Virginia area.

The Washington Post reported Amazon was in “advanced discussions” about bringing the project to Crystal City, Virginia.

What impact that report has on Newark and the 18 other finalists competing for the project that has been projected to bring 50,000 high-paying jobs to the winner, isn’t as clear.

Newark officials, when contacted by ROI-NJ this weekend, were not willing to offer any insights they may or may not have on their bid — as has been their policy since Newark was named a finalist in January.

Amazon officials would not comment publicly, but the company’s director of economic development public policy, Mike Grella, tweeted a response: “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.”

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, in a rare interview last week, offered some insights into how the selection process was going.

“Ultimately, the decision will be made with intuition after gathering and studying a lot of data,” he told journalist Walter Isaacson during a discussion hosted by a global nonprofit.

“For a decision like that, as far as I know, the best way to make it is you collect as much data as you can, you immerse yourself in that data, but then you make the decision with your heart.”

Amazon has said it will make a $5 billion investment in whatever location it chooses. In addition, the 50,000 jobs are expected to average in the six figures.

A Wall Street Journal report earlier in October, citing unnamed sources, said Newark was one of a number of cities where Amazon made follow up visits.

The others on the Wall Street Journal report included New York City, Chicago, Miami and the Washington D.C. area sites (which would be Crystal City and three others).

The validity of that report also could not be confirmed.