Surprisingly Amazon’s location in Arlington is open to discussion. The area where the Amazon headquarters is planted is known locally as Crystal City and is less than 3 miles from downtown Washington, DC. However, when the Arlington and Alexandria governments were both vying for Amazon to locate their headquarters here they created the name National Landing, since it straddles the border between the two.
National Landing encompasses Crystal City, Pentagon City (which are both in Arlington) and part of Potomac Yards in Alexandria. Why the name National Landing? It all comes down to marketing. When both Alexandria and Arlington were pitching amazon they felt they needed to have an umbrella for the three neighborhoods it encompassed. The idea was to rebrand it to give it a trendier name. NaLa anyone? The proximity to National Airport (so called by the locals, Reagan National to the rest of you) led to the moniker. A pedestrian bridge will be built to the airport from the area called National Landing so it was pronounced a perfect fit.
Why not use the name Crystal City?
Developed in the 1960’s It had never had a “come visit me” reputation as it was a corporate canyon of office buildings, hotels, and high-rise buildings that all could be accessed underground. In 1976 the Crystal Underground was opened which led to the ground level streetscape to be non-existent. In 2004, Arlington County worked to create a more vibrant area with ground-level restaurants and shops.
And why not Pentagon City?
This area has been the retail district home to a large mall, the Ritz Carlton and some box stores. The name sounds as if a battalion of the uniformed might be marching about. Not a great brand name.
Potomac Yards development was named after the original yards for the Pennsylvania RailRoad and was the busiest rail yards in the eastern US in the 1930’s and was decommissioned in 1989. It gained fame in the region when Jack Kent Cooke unsuccessfully sought to locate the Washington Redskins, now the Washington Commanders, football stadium. Residents resisted and development of residential housing, big box stores and a new metro ensued.
So if you are asking where Amazon HQ2 is located in Arlington–National Landing would be the branded name and Crystal City would be the name the locals would be give but you might have some argue that Pentagon City or Potomac Yards could claim the location. NaLa to keep it simple!
If you’re curious about the most convenient neighborhoods to Amazon HQ2 at National Landing, check this article out here.
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Featured photo of Amazon HQ2 Rendering courtesy of Amazon.