RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Sources tell WRAL News and WRAL TechWire that the Triangle has not been told it is no longer in the running for the $5 billion Amazon HQ2 project and its promise of 50,000 jobs or a promised new corporate campus from Apple that could mean thousands of jobs.
These sources inside government and the economic development sector were reacting to inquiries from WRAL after The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Amazon was negotiating terms for an agreement to build HQ2 just outside Washington, D.C. in northern Virginia.
That report triggered an angry response from the head of economic development and policy for Amazon:
“Memo to the genius leaking info about Crystal City, VA as #HQ2 selection. You’re not doing Crystal City, VA any favors. And stop treating the NDA you signed like a used napkin,” said Mike Grella in a tweet. NDA refers to non-disclosure agreement.
The Triangle is one of 20 metro areas listed by Amazon as finalists for the project. The company has said it plans to make a choice before the end of the year.
RTP also has been reported as top contented for a new corporate campus that Apple CEO Tim Cook said would be built as part of a company expansion project. He reiterated that commitment made early this year in a visit to Duke University, from which he graduated, in May.
The proposed expansion in North Carolina is also said to include significant additions to its data campus in western North Carolina. No announcement has been made about the Apple expansion.
Bound by a tight non-disclosure agreement with Amazon and Apple, officials involved in the negotiations have been reluctant to even say that the ecommerce giant is still considering the Triangle as a location. But in comments Sunday these officials reaffirmed what they and other sources have been telling WRAL for several months:
The Triangle remains a contender for both.
Beth Gargan, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, also told The News and Observer in Raleigh, that the state had not been told it’s no longer under consideration.
On Thursday of last week, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos gave no hints about where HQ2 would be located.
“Ultimately the decision will be made with intuition after gathering and studying a lot of data,” Bezos said. ”…[T]he best way to make it is you collect as much data as you can, you immerse yourself in that data, but then you make that decision with your heart.”
Amazon disclosed the 20 finalists in January.
The finalists are:
- Austin, Texas
- Columbus, Ohio
- Los Angeles
- Montgomery County
- Nashville, Tennessee
- New York City
- Northern Virginia
- Raleigh-Research Triangle