CRYSTAL CITY, Va. -- The big winner in the Amazon announcement, was a big loser a few years ago.
Crystal City was devastated by BRAC. The Base Realignment and Closure project moved the last military offices out of Crystal City and left behind rows of vacant buildings, but the problem of vacant buildings, turned out to be gold mine to Amazon.
But first, you might be asking, has Crystal City been renamed National Landing?
Absolutely not, said Stephanie Landrum, the President and CEO of Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. She said National Landing was a branding name thought up by her group and her counterparts in Arlington, Va.
"We thought it would be confusing to tell the story of Pentagon City, Crystal City, Potomac Yard. We had the opportunity to erase the jurisdictional lines that most normal people don't even see. We started to brainstorm and came up with this idea of National Landing."
She points out that the other regions had names for their bids, Fairfax and Loudoun's was called Innovation Station.
While Alexandria brought in Virginia Tech's Innovation Campus in the Potomac Yard, the bulk of the new Amazon footprint will be in Crystal City. A place that was desperate for growth after several bad breaks.
The U.S. Patent and Trade office pulled out recently and before that, base realignment known as BRAC moved out military offices.
Ironically, it was a bad thing that turned out to be a good thing. The fact that Crystal City had a bunch of vacant buildings, was a huge plus for Amazon.
Stephanie Landrum was in on the negotiations.
"Amazon has said from the beginning that they wanted to start operations in 2019. So having that amount of available space in Crystal City was key," said Landrum.
Crystal City was named after a crystal chandelier in the first apartment building called Crystal House. In this current concrete jungle, some of that Crystal shine is on it's way.
The Washington Post said Crystal City was once known as Jackson City and was home to two Civil War forts before becoming a red-light district. That ended when a group called "Good Citizens League" burned it all to the ground.