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Justin Fox

Amazon Is Sure Acting Like It's Going to Pick the D.C. Area

Odds are the tech giant is going to set up shop close to home -- its founder's, that is.
Power center.

Power center.

Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Corrected Inc. released the list of 20 finalists for its "second headquarters" Thursday. This morning, the low-information British Isles bettors at Paddy Power had Boston as the favorite to get the nod, at 3-to-1 odds, with Atlanta and Austin as its closest rivals. This is despite three of the 20 finalist spots -- Washington; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Northern Virginia -- being in or adjacent to the District of Columbia. Add up the Paddy Power odds for those three, and it comes to just under a 25 percent probability, versus 25 percent even for Boston. Really? I don't think so. Bovada, which caters to U.S. bettors, inexplicably has Nashville as the favorite, but Washington is at least a close second, and somewhere in the D.C. area appears to have the best odds overall.

Meanwhile, it seems pretty obvious to me that metropolitan Washington is now not just the likeliest winner but also the prohibitive favorite.

As I'm sure you're aware, Amazon founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos already owns a major media company based in Washington. He paid $23 million in October 2016 for the biggest house in town.  Amazon Web Services, the company's fast-growing (and consistently profitable, unlike the rest of the business) cloud-computing division, went public last summer with plans to open its East Coast corporate campus in Northern Virginia, where it has major data center operations and is reportedly in the market for 2 million square feet more. Oh, and Northern Virginia is already home to the nation's, and probably the world's, biggest concentration of cloud-computing infrastructure.