The Anacostia Riverfront, the NoMa neighborhood north of Union Station, the Capitol East neighborhood and the Shaw-Howard University area are Washington, D.C.’s proposed locations for Amazon, Inc.’s second corporate headquarters, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced Oct. 16.
D.C. is one of more than 50 cities in the United States and Canada, including New York City and Chicago, competing to host the e-commerce giant’s new base of operations nicknamed HQ2. Development of a new site would not begin until 2019, according to Amazon.
The deadline for cities to submit proposals to Amazon was Oct. 19. Amazon is expected to announce its final decision in 2018.
Bowser said the proposed sites offer access to airports, public transportation and cultural neighborhoods.
“[Amazon] said that their employees prefer to be able to walk or bike and not sit in traffic to get back and forth to the campus,” Bowser said at a press conference Oct. 16. “This is one thing they don’t like about their current headquarters. And so what we offer them is a distinctly urban experience.”
Amazon promises to invest up to $5 billion in construction of the headquarters over the next 10 to 15 years and generate 50,000 long-term jobs. The company plans to use between 500,000 and 1 million square feet of office space by 2019.
Speaking at the launch of Shop Made in D.C., a small business in Dupont Circle selling food, artwork and other household products made in the District, Bowser said Washington is an obvious choice for Amazon.
“Their first [headquarters] is, of course, in Seattle, Washington, so it makes sense to us for them to be in the other Washington, the best Washington, Washington, D.C.,” Bowser said. “For us, what the opportunity presents, is to bring good-paying jobs to Washington and be the end of a pipeline for D.C. residents who are training in STEM and training for STEM careers right now.”
A Sept. 9 New York Times analysis ranked the District as the second-best location for Amazon’s headquarters after Denver based on land availability, existing urban infrastructure and strong job growth.
Bowser said Washington has seen significant economic growth under her leadership and securing Amazon’s HQ2 for D.C. would help further that goal.
“My first focus is always on the fiscal strength of our city, and we’re going to make a pitch to a 50,000-person employment opportunity, but we won’t sell the barn to do it,“ Bowser said.
However, Bowser said she believes the benefit would be mutual, as D.C. could offer important resources to the company, including a growing technology scene, linkages with the rest of the country and locations for sustainable campuses.
“Our city’s growing tech scene, talented and diverse workforce, rich culture and inclusive environment already made Washington, D.C., an ideal location for Amazon HQ2, and now people can begin to think more specifically about how the tech company will fit into our community,” Bowser said.
Brian Kenner, deputy mayor for economic development, previously said in an interview for USA Today that the city is seeing strong growth in private sector employment due to companies like Yelp, which announced its opening of a D.C. office in August, establishing operational hubs.
Bowser said D.C. also offers Amazon access to an economic and political hub.
“We have many economic development professionals that are proposing and describing proximity to Washington, D.C., as a selling point,” Bowser said. “The truth is, we know that Amazon would choose a place where they can hire the best talent. And if they should go to a suburban jurisdiction, we know that they would be drawing on the very talent and workforce we can offer in Washington, D.C.”
Amazon demands more than 8 million square feet of office space, direct access to mass transit, an international airport no more than 45 minutes away from its campus and a sizable pool of skilled labor in a metropolitan area with a population of more than 1 million.
The District possesses significant connections with Amazon that could further incentivize its relocation to the nation’s capital. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post and a 27,000-square-foot property in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Kalorama.
Hoya Staff Writer Christian Paz contributed reporting.