Jeff Bezos’s $23 million mansion is a big reason he may pick Washington, DC, for HQ2

Jeff Bezos' $23 million purchase could be the key to finding Amazon HQ2.

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Jeff Bezos’ $23 million purchase could be the key to finding Amazon HQ2.
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AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia Commons

  • Amazon announced the 20 finalists for its new $5 billion headquarters, nicknamed HQ2.
  • Three of the locations are in the Washington, DC, metro Area.
  • There are a lot of reasons CEO Jeff Bezos might want to locate there, but the two biggest might be his new $23 million DC mansion and The Washington Post, which he owns.

Amazon announced the finalists Thursday for Amazon’s new $5 billion headquarters – and the 50,000 high-paying jobs that come with it – but one look at the list drops a heavy hint at where the global e-commerce giant will go.

The final list includes 20 major cities, three of which are in the same area: Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, VA, and Montgomery County, MD.

Those three are all within striking distance of 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 earlier this year.

As Business Insider’s Dennis Green wrote, DC offers a lot of advantages for HQ2: robust transportation and education systems, a large educated workforce, and high livability.

But perhaps the biggest indicator is in Kalorama. The proximity to Capitol Hill – as well as the numerous potential government contracts that could result in deeper partnerships with Washington – can’t be ignored.

Bezos handed off running Amazon’s consumer business and cloud computing to two deputies a couple of years ago to allow him to focus on developing The Washington Post. The Amazon CEO now hosts conferences calls with Post leadership twice a month, meets with them in Seattle twice a year, and visits the DC offices 10 times a year, The New York Times reported last week.

And Bezos reportedly plans to host regular “salon-style dinners” at the Kalorama house, according to The Times, to bring together DC’s power elite and make his home a center for the city.

If Bezos intends to focus on developing the Post while raising his profile as one of Washington’s major arbiters of power – all while keeping a close eye on his e-commerce empire – the DC metro area is the only logical option for HQ2.

We took a walk through Bezos’s new neighborhood on a recent trip to DC to see why the area is such a coveted destination.


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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: The Washington Post


Kalorama, in northwest DC, just above Dupont Circle, is actually two neighborhoods: Sheridan-Kalorama (in yellow) and Kalorama Triangle (in purple).

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GoogleMaps

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 reportedly wants to make the house a social gathering place for the city’s elite.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: New York Times


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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Next to Bezos’ new digs are 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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Kalorama Triangle is pretty residential — it and the adjacent Sheridan-Kalorama are known for their idyllic suburban landscape.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Sheridan-Kalorama


The area borders the west side of the hip and diverse neighborhood of Adams Morgan, one of the centers of nightlife in DC.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Sheridan-Kalorama, where Bezos lives, is very quiet. The only store we saw was the Open Door Market.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

It serves as a wine store, a grocery, a deli, a laundromat, and a dry cleaner.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: 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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Curbed DC


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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

This car was across the street from Tillerson’s house. Not sure what its owner “FORGOT” …

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

These historic call boxes, 19th-century public phones that 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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Read more about the call boxes »


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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: The Washington Diplomat


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 …

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Bloomberg


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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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 …

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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 …

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


One of the diplomatic buildings of the Russian Federation is a block away.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Foreign Policy


This house, next to Kushner and Trump’s was a favorite in the neighborhood. Look at that ivy.

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

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.”

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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider