Amazon hasn’t revealed much about the progress of its HQ2 search since it named the 20 finalists in January. But that didn’t stop Amazon watchers from undertaking their own case studies to help Jeff Bezos further narrow down the list.
This week, after digging into the travel log of Bezos’ private jet (which he bought for $75 million in 2015 out of his giant “security fund”), the Puget Sound Business Journal surfaced two possible winners: Boston and Washington, D.C.
The 18-seat Gulftstream G650ER was in Boston just before and after Amazon announced the HQ2 search and landed in Washington D.C. the day the 20 finalists were named, the flight records show.
“While they aren’t necessarily an indicator of the company’s likelihood of choosing one of these cities for its second headquarters, Bezos’ familiarity and frequent travel to some of the cities could weigh in his decision on where HQ2 ends up,” the Journal reported.
The flight records obtained might not reflect every trip the plane has taken. They also didn’t contain information about the purpose of the trips or the people aboard.
But per the records available, Bezos’ plane has also been near these HQ2 candidate cities so far in 2018: Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles and Newark, N.J.
New York City is also a likely winner, according to an analysis by Ladders, a career site for people who aspire to earn six-figure salaries. Looking into the geographic information of its 10 million members, Ladders found New York has the best tech talent pool for Amazon.
New York has the highest number of tech professionals, the analysis found, followed by Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. Boston is also among the top 10.
“Amazon is appealing to six-figure salary type of job candidates across all their business functions. And tech is a big part of the company’s culture DNA. So from both a salary perspective and a tech perspective, New York is a suitable place for Amazon HQ2,” said Jordan Cohen, Ladder’s vice president of marketing.
Boston and Washington, D.C. also have a strong tech talent pool, Cohen said, making the East Coast a more likely destination for Amazon HQ2 than other competitive cities like Atlanta and Dallas.
“It’s beneficial for Amazon to have an East Coast headquarters to supplement its West Coast headquarters, in terms of time zones and accessibility to East Coast locations, as well as Europe,” Cohen said.
In particular, a new headquarter in Washington, D.C. will make Bezos’ commute easier, as he bought the city’s largest house just last year. The 25-bathroom house is currently under a massive renovation.
An Amazon spokesperson told Observer in a statement there is no connection between Bezos’ personal and business travel and the HQ2 search.