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Will Chicago lose out? Amazon in talks about 2nd HQ with Virginia city: report

an Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building in Seattle

Chicago originally pitched 10 sites for Amazon's second headquarters. But speculation is growing about whether a city in Northern Virginia may get the coveted site. | AP file photo

Discussions between Amazon and a city in Northern Virginia have heightened speculation that the company may open its coveted second headquarters in that region, according to a Washington Post story Saturday — raising questions about Chicago’s prospects for getting selected.

In January, Chicago made the list of 20 finalists from across the nation for the online retailer’s coveted “HQ2,” a new campus equivalent to its original Seattle headquarters where the company says it expects “to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.”

But the report by the Washington Post on Saturday suggests that “advanced” talks between Amazon and officials in Crystal City, Va., — surpassing those they’ve had with some other cities across the nation –– could signal that the retailer may be eyeing buildings there and developing moving plans for workers.

Speculation is also building that an announcement about which city will get HQ2 could come this month after Tuesday’s midterm elections, according to the Washington Post story. Amazon has promised to make its selection this year.

A return visit to Chicago by Amazon officials in August to reportedly scout locations in the South Loop fueled speculation that the city could win HQ2. Chicago officials, and leaders from other cities, had sought to woo the retailer by hosting visits to potential sites — all of which has been kept confidential by the cities and their suitor.

Even though Amazon is reportedly in “advanced talks” does not mean the deal is certain. Shortly after the Post published its story, Mike Grella, Amazon’s economic development director posted on Twitter, “Memo to the genius leaking info about Crystal City, VA as #HQ2 selection. You’re not doing Crystal City, VA any favors.”

The Washington metropolitan area was long considered a top contender for Amazon’s second headquarters. Company founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos already had several connections to the Washington area. He’s the owner of The Washington Post and owns a home in the area.

Contributing: AP