- Amazon has announced that its second headquarters, HQ2, will be
- There are a lot of reasons Amazon decided to locate HQ2 in the Washington, DC metro area, from the area's being in
After nearly a year of deliberation, Amazon has announced where it will build its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2.
Instead of choosing one city, the company has decided to build two new headquarters, in
It should be little surprise. Arlington, Virginia is only a 15-20 minute drive from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' biggest recent purchase — a $23 million, 27,000-square-foot mansion in Kalorama, the historic DC neighborhood home to bigwigs in media, politics, diplomacy, and lobbying.
The mansion, which was once the Textile Museum, is the largest private home in DC and blocks from the homes of Barack and Michelle Obama and Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who both moved to the Kalorama neighborhood last year.
We took a walk through Bezos' neighborhood on a trip to DC to see why the area is such a coveted destination.
Additional reporting by Tanza Loudenback.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' new DC home is in the Kalorama neighborhood. At 27,000 square feet, the house is the largest in Washington, and Bezos reportedly paid $23 million in cash in October 2016.
Kalorama, in northwest DC, just above Dupont Circle, is actually two neighborhoods: Sheridan-Kalorama (in yellow) and Kalorama Triangle (in purple).
The house is made up of two historic mansions that Bezos is converting to a single-family home. A lot of construction was underway the day we walked by. Bezos is said to be spending $12 million to renovate the homes and the surrounding property.
One of the two buildings housed the Textile Museum until 2013, when it was moved to George Washington University. Both mansions are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The larger of the two homes, the Wood House, will be for entertaining guests, while the Pope House will serve as the family's living quarters when they're in town.
The Pope House was designed by and named for John Russell Pope, the architect behind the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Three stories tall, it will be the family's private living quarters.
The Wood House will be used for entertaining. The Washingtonian said the Bezoses would most likely use it for "A-level socializing," describing it as the "party pad of epic proportions." A nearly 1,500-square-foot ballroom takes up one side of the main level and rises two stories.
The third floor of the Wood House accommodates guests and staff members. Between the two homes, there is a total of five living rooms and lounges, three kitchens, two libraries/studies, two workout rooms, 25 bathrooms, and 11 bedrooms.
Next to Bezos' new digs is the Woodrow Wilson House, where the 28th president lived after his second term until his death in 1924. It was designated a historic landmark in 1964.
The house across the street from Bezos didn't look too shabby, either. The neighborhood is known for being very quiet and private. Neighbors mingle in backyards, but rarely on the street.
Kalorama Triangle is pretty residential — it and the adjacent Sheridan-Kalorama are known for their idyllic suburban landscape.
The area borders the west side of the hip and diverse neighborhood of Adams Morgan, one of the centers of nightlife in DC.
Sheridan-Kalorama, where Bezos lives, is very quiet. The only store we saw was the Open Door Market.
It serves as a wine store, a grocery, a deli, a laundromat, and a dry cleaner.
Nearby, you'll find the Spanish Steps, a broad concrete staircase built in 1911 as part of the "City Beautiful" movement. Named after Rome's famous staircase, it is Washington's only public park that occupies a street.
From there, we went to Mitchell Park, a small and quiet park in the neighborhood. Sheridan-Kalorama is technically outside the original boundaries of DC.
Mitchell Park is a beautiful place to walk your dog or have a picnic. Perhaps residents might find Bezos taking his dog for a midday stroll there.
The park also has a playground, several athletic fields, and a basketball court. Maybe Obama, famously a fan of pickup basketball games, will start playing here.
This is the Irish Embassy. Sheridan-Kalorama is also often known as the Embassy Row neighborhood because of its more than 70 embassies and diplomatic residences. Most are on nearby Massachusetts Avenue.
Sheridan-Kalorama is full of stately colonial houses with manicured lawns. The neighborhood is one of the few in DC that is elevated above the city — providing good views.
Most of the houses in the neighborhood are brick colonial houses. Despite the concentration of politicos in the area, neighbors tend to check their partisanship at the door, Jim Bell, an executive vice president of TTR Sotheby's International Realty who lives in Kalorama, told The Washington Diplomat.
This is the residence of the ambassador of Pakistan, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry. The Pakistani Embassy is in Cleveland Park, a short drive away.
Next, we headed to 24th Street Northwest, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lives. While the cars in the neighborhood hadn't been very impressive, there was a noticeable uptick in quality on Tillerson's block.
Tillerson bought this townhouse for $5.6 million in February. The house has five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and two half bathrooms. The previous owner of the house was the AOL executive Richard Hanlon.
If you want to live next door, this house is for sale for $4.6 million. And it has seven bedrooms rather than Tillerson's five ... just saying.
This car was across the street from Tillerson's house. Not sure what its owner "FORGOT" ...
It's unclear who lives here, but this place is a lot of house. About a third of the neighborhood's residents are tech-industry or hedge-fund execs.
These historic call boxes, 19th-century public phones people could use to call the police or fire department, are all over the neighborhood. Residents have turned them into mini museums commemorating Kalorama history — this one was about the numerous Supreme Court justices who have lived there.
This call box talked about how five US presidents — Warren G. Harding, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt — lived in Kalorama between 1916 and 1930.
A lot of houses in the neighborhood have a palatial European style. The area is known for having the biggest houses in DC. The average home price in Kalorama was about $3.5 million in April, according to Redfin.
But that doesn't mean the leaves are getting cleaned up any faster. Someone needs to step out of their mansion with a leaf blower on this street ...
This house on Wyoming Avenue belongs to Juleanna Glover, a public-affairs consultant who has been described by Bloomberg as someone you "need to know" in DC. She often throws parties with lots of important people.
The neighborhood is full of beautiful trees and finely manicured lawns. I guess if you're going to spend a few million dollars on a house, you're not going to skimp on landscaping.
A short drive from Sheridan-Kalorama is Rock Creek Park, a 2,000-acre urban park. But if you don't want to leave, some trails extend to the neighborhood. Rock Creek forms the border of Sheridan-Kalorama.
And here we are at the block of Belmont Road Northwest, where the Obamas live. Of course a police car was blocking anyone from entering or exiting. I headed to the other side of the street to see whether it was blocked there as well ...
And it was. When I asked the police officer whether residents were upset about the blockade, he laughed. "They get free security," he said. "They're happy." That makes sense, considering the Obamas' neighbors are Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith and the lobbyist Tony Podesta, among others.
I headed to Tracy Place to see whether Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's block was blocked off. It wasn't, but there was metal fencing around their house ...
And a security van in front. Security officials approached me to make sure I wasn't up to anything mischievous. I wasn't — I promised.
And here's Trump and Kushner's 7,000-square-foot house, which they're renting for $15,000 a month from the Chilean mining billionaire Andronico Luksic.
One of the diplomatic buildings of the Russian Federation is a block away.
This house, next to Kushner and Trump's was a favorite in the neighborhood. Look at that ivy.
The residence of the Portuguese ambassador, Domingos Fezas Vital, looks stately. A diplomat named Joel Barlow bought the first house in the neighborhood and named it Kalorama, Greek for "fine view."