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HQ2 Watch: The Case of the Mysterious Disappearing Tent

by ARLnow.com November 6, 2018 at 4:55 pm 0

All signs point to Crystal City being a landing spot for at least half of Amazon’s proposed HQ2 — well, all but perhaps one.

The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and now NPR are all reporting that Crystal City is likely to be announced as the future home of a major Amazon office campus. The announcement could come as soon as this week.

NPR had perhaps the most direct reporting about Crystal City’s imminent selection, writing:

Amazon is still in the final stages of negotiations, the sources say, but Crystal City, Va., is expected to pick up one-half of the deal, the people told NPR. Crystal City is a suburb of Washington, D.C.

New York City has been reported as a potential second location.

Thus far ARLnow has not, in our own reporting, heard any definitive word that Crystal City will be selected. As part of our reporting, however, we’ve been tracking a tip regarding a temporary event tent.

Over the weekend, according to the tipster, a company called Select Event Group starting constructing a platform for a large, temporary event space on a vacant JBG Smith-owned property along S. Eads Street, near an Amazon-owned Whole Foods store.

“My best guess is that JBG Smith is preparing for an event where they’ll be celebrating HQ2,” said the tipster, whose apartment overlooks the site.

JBG Smith is the preeminent property owner in Crystal City and has been gussying up the neighborhood to, according to the Washington Business Journal, impress visiting Amazon executives. The painted bicycles the company has placed around the area are on a fence in front of where the event space was been set up.

Whatever the event space was intended for, it appears that plans might have changed. Today an ARLnow reporter saw the materials for the tent being packed up, loaded onto two rental tractor trailers and driven out of the area. Workers wearing blue Select Event Group hoodies oversaw the work.

Asked about the half-built event space and whether it was HQ2-related, a PR rep for JBG Smith dismissed it as “regular construction activity.”

Reached by phone, a man named Alex, who identified himself as the president of Select Event Group but did not give his last name, declined to answer ARLnow’s questions.

“We don’t comment about any of our open contracts,” he said, before hanging up.

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