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Region of Boom
Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia
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Credit: Crystal City Business Improvement District

Welcome to National Landing, Amazon's new Northern Virginia neighborhood

No one ever heard of National Landing before Amazon announced it was the site of one of its new headquarters. That's because it didn't exist.

When the news broke about Amazon's decision, even people in D.C. were trying to figure out where "National Landing" was.

Maybe this is the reason the people who made the winning bid rebranded this place National Landing: You can walk from the airport to Crystal City, er, National Landing, in just four minutes and 18 seconds. It'll be even quicker when they put in a 300-yard bridge direct to a terminal door.

Turns out, National Landing is actually made up of three neighborhoods in northern Virginia: Potomac Yards, Pentagon City and Crystal City, a neighborhood with drab, vacant offices that have been gussied up with Pop art fabric and paint.

Here there's space for Amazon to develop, and these neighborhoods are only a few subway stops from Washington, D.C. That's just minutes to the centers of power, both formal and backroom.

It's just a few minutes more to get to the former museum that is being turned into Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's home in D.C., complete with 11 bedrooms and 25 bathrooms. Right now, it's a busy construction site near the Obamas, Ivanka Trump and the Irish Embassy.

But Bezos will probably not be taking the subway. His mode of transport may have something to do with the helicopter pad that is part of Amazon's HQ2 deal with Northern Virginia.

Crystal City and Potomac Yards are more affordable places than addresses in D.C., but residents here say they think the rent is still pretty pricey. One apartment building across the street from the first building to be demolished for Amazon was charging $1,700 to $1,900 for a one-bedroom apartment.

“Rent is high, obviously, being this close to D.C. and the Pentagon,” said Pentagon City resident Jaime Braxton.

With more than 25,000 workers coming in over the next few years, Braxton is worried about what will happen to housing costs.

"A lot of people are already concerned about what’s going to happen to our areas," she said.

Other people are just surprised that their old stomping ground is being rebranded. At a park in Pentagon City, a group of people playing Pétanque on neat gravel rectangles were still digesting the idea that they were in "National Landing."

“Initial reaction has not been positive to that name,” said John Vail, one of the players. “The real estate company tries to package the place with a new name, which seems kind of bizarre.”

The name, however, is just the beginning of many changes to come.