There’s still no official word on where Amazon is planning to build its second headquarters, but a trail of clues may be leading to the Washington, D.C. area.
Just over a year after the tech company announced it was seeking a spot to put a $5 billion office expected to generate up to 50,000 jobs, a series of hints have people eyeing the nation’s capital for HQ2. Among the biggest indicators that D.C. may have won the bidding war is the fact that founder Jeff Bezos — along with Amazon’s board of directors — is reportedly in the nation’s capital this week. The group held a dinner Tuesday night, and Bezos is scheduled to speak at an unusually large meeting of the local Economic Club on Thursday, according to the Washington Post.
The Washington, D.C. metropolitan region actually has three candidates on Amazon’s list of finalists: Washington, D.C. itself; Northern Virginia; and Montgomery County, Maryland. The Post reported the Virginia and Maryland governors are both set to attend Thursday’s event.
A representative from Amazon tells MONEY Bezos does not plan to make any HQ2-related announcements at the dinner.
But there are other signs a place near D.C. could be HQ2’s new home. Amazon recently posted a job listing seeking an economic development manager in the area, as Inside NoVa reported, and in February, an Arlington, Virginia-based news site saw a traffic spike that came from inside Amazon.
Amazon has also joined the nearby chamber of commerce.
“Amazon certainly is a major, major catch for us,” chamber CEO and president Vincent Orange told the Washington Business Journal. “To be able to have them as part of our membership is just great.”
The rumor mill is out of control because a decision in the highly secretive HQ2 selection process could be coming soon. Amazon, which passed the trillion-dollar mark on Sept. 4, has committed to choosing a location by the end of the year.
Bezos is arguably prepared to settle down in D.C. In 2013, he bought the Washington Post for $250 million. Three years later, he purchased the region’s biggest house — a $23 million, 27,000-square foot former museum close to where President Barack Obama lives — and has been working to renovate it. (When finished, the mansion will have 25 bathrooms, 11 bedrooms, three kitchens and two elevators, among other amenities.) Bezos has even joked that he likes the area’s restaurants.
“Washington, D.C. is the odds-on favorite for Amazon’s second headquarters,” Richard Florida, a business professor at the University of Toronto, told USA Today last year. “There are not very many places that have what Amazon needs.”
However, the area’s residents might not be so enthusiastic. Protesters in D.C. have raised concerns about giving money to Amazon when schools, transit and affordable housing are suffering. An Elon University poll found that just 39% of people in the Washington area said they strongly supported HQ2.
For now, though, their only option is to keep an eye out for Bezos on the Metro.