News & Politics

Virginia Drew an Actual Map for Amazon to Influence Washington

This wasn't an implied benefit of locating HQ2 here—Virginia's winning proposal actually advertised it.

Virginia Drew an Actual Map for Amazon to Influence Washington
Crystal City, winner of half of HQ2. Photo courtesy of the Crystal City BID.

When Virginia officials pitched Amazon on locating its second headquarters in Crystal City, they emphasized Northern Virginia’s friendly business climate, talented workforce, and wide array of cultural amenities. But, in the 285-page proposal they filed as part of the cutthroat HQ2 competition, they also made sure to advertise a unique regional advantage that could be particularly useful to Amazon—especially now that federal policy makers have become increasingly skeptical of Big Tech and newly concerned about monopolies. They noted that Crystal City would be an efficient, productive place to lobby from. 

“The high concentration of tech companies, federal agencies, and supporting organizations offer Amazon the opportunity to develop valuable future relationships,” the officials wrote in their proposal. “Northern Virginia provides an unmatched place for Amazon to locate as it attempts to influence federal policies, particularly as it delves into complex areas of federal regulatory authority (e.g., unmanned drones).”

Holly Sullivan, the executive who led Amazon’s HQ2 search, told Washingtonian that the potential to increase the e-commerce giant’s political footprint played no role in the decision to go with Crystal City. Virginia officials, however, were so convinced that these considerations would be a factor that they drew up a map to show Amazon officials just how convenient Crystal City was to the federal regulators they would need to influence and the agencies they were doing business with.

The map, which was included as part of their winning proposal, is here:

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.

Editorial Fellow