Amazon said it favored North Virginia for a new seat

In the contest to win the second Amazon home, it looks like Boston, which will be second best.

The ecommerce giant is in "advanced talks" with officials from Crystal City, Va., Just outside Washington, to locate a huge second central building there, according to the Washington Post.

It is likely that the company is in similar conversations with other cities. However, many close amazon observers see Washington Metro as a precursor to one of the biggest awards for economic growth, especially since Amazon's founder and president, Jeff Bezos, owns the Washington Post and has a large home in D.C.

Boston was seen as a strong candidate after HQ2 began its search in September 2017, thanks to the universities in the region, the technology economy and Amazon's skilled workforce. State and local economic development officials pursued the work diligently, focusing their footprint on Suffolk Downs in East Boston and on locations along the Orange line between North Station and Assembly Row in Somerville. In March, a delegation of the Amazon hosted.

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But talks have been cooled in recent months. HQ2's search team did not review,
visit Boston this fall, as according to information there are several other cities in the list of options. Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Development Jay Asp said on Saturday that his office has not recently contacted the Amazon.

However, Ash said the state is discussing "other opportunities" with Amazon, a sign that the company can expand its already significant presence here. The retail retailer employs thousands in offices in Boston and Cambridge and a robotics facility in Northern Reading. In May, Amazon said it would host a whole new building – separate from HQ2 – in the seaport, with 2,000 employees, as it will also have the possibility of a second building with a further 2,000 employees.

Nevertheless, there are indications that the big HQ2 award – with 50,000 jobs – is headed elsewhere.

Referring to anonymous "public and private employees," Post said Amazon has entered Crystal City, a part of Arlington near Reagan International Airport and the Pentagon. A large owner took several buildings from the leasing market, expecting Amazon's desire to be in place next year, Post said.

The company has discussed opening information with local officials, including the timetable for an announcement later in November. However, CNBC reported Saturday that Amazon continues to look at Austin, Tex., And could divide HQ2 between the two positions.

An Amazon spokesman denied comment on Saturday, saying that only the company expects to announce a decision by the end of the year.

But after publishing the Post story on Saturday, Mike Grella, director of economic development for Amazon, published this on Twitter: "Remind the genius that leaks information on Crystal City, VA as # HQ2 choice. , VA any favors, and stop coping with the NDA you signed as a used napkin, "quoting non-disclosure agreements, Amazon asked the finalists to sign.

A copy of the Amazon NDA obtained by the Globe through public records requires employees to disclose "non-public information" shared by the company, although it does not prohibit the discussion of local details such as possible sites.

Either way, there is a small sign indicating that Boston remains in the hunt.

Boston's head of economic development, George Barroe, said his office is in touch with the Amazon search group HQ2, but has not heard anything new in recent weeks. Sources of the real estate industry said Amazon has not traveled the large blocks of office space in Boston available for lease next year. And while Bezos was found last weekend in Kendall Square's dining room, he also said at an event Thursday that he would follow his "heart" when he took the second Amazon home.

Tim Logan can reach [email protected] Follow Twitter on Twitter @bytimlogan. Jon Chesto can reach jon.chesto @ Follow it on Twitter @ jonchesto.