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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Crystal City and Long Island Win Bids for Amazon HQ2

E-commerce company Amazon announced Tuesday that it will split its second corporate headquarters between Crystal City, Va., and Long Island City, N.Y., ending the monthslong proposal process and bidding war among major North American cities trying to attract the tech giant.

The decision comes after Amazon analyzed 238 proposals from 54 states, provinces, districts and territories, using 100 different metrics to finally determine that two separate locations for HQ2 would allow the company to tap into the surplus of talent in both regions.

The HQ2 project will entail an investment from Amazon of $5 billion and the creation of 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters locations, with more than 25,000 employees in each of the cities, according to a Nov. 13 news release.

CRYSTAL CITY Amazon’s new headquarters is expected to bring nearly $2.5 billion in capital investment over the next twenty years and 25,000 new jobs by 2030.

The selection of northern Virginia as one of the locations for HQ2 solidifies the region’s growing reputation as a stable business environment, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) said.

“The vast majority of the commonwealth’s proposal represents investments in our people and our infrastructure that will align with Amazon’s long-term goal while supporting the growth and competitiveness of businesses all across Virginia,” Northam said in an interview with The Washington Post.

Virginia officials drew Amazon to the Arlington location with a payout of $573 million contingent on the company creating 25,000 jobs with an average salary of $150,000 for its employees, according to the news release.

In addition, subject to approval by the Virginia General Assembly, the state is set to invest $223 million for transportation improvements, with $195 million put toward nearby Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority stations and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, a project that will include a pedestrian bridge connecting the airport to the company’s hub.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said Amazon’s decision will bolster the District’s commitment to addressing transportation issues.

“We know that this opportunity will push us to work together on our biggest challenges like improving our transportation and infrastructure,” Bowser said in a Nov. 13 news release. “We must continue our investment in safety, reliability and capacity at Metro and find ways to enhance service, including late night service.”

The plan intends to take dated and largely vacant government office buildings and transform them into vibrant office spaces, according to The Washington Post.

The H2Q is anticipated to bring about large-scale economic development, including $2.5 billion in capital investments and $3.2 billion in net tax revenue over the next 20 years, according to a Nov. 13 news release. In the agreement between the state of Virginia and the e-commerce firm, Amazon expects to hire 400 people in 2019 and 1,180 in 2020, ultimately generating 25,000 new jobs by 2030.

The addition of Amazon combined with the successful past of Arlington will cultivate an even brighter future for the city, Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said.

“The strength of our workforce coupled with our proximity to the nation’s capital makes us an attractive business location,” Cristol said in a Nov. 13 news release. “But Arlington’s real strength is the decades of planning that have produced one of the most vibrant, civically engaged communities in the world.”

Some opponents of the decision claim that politicians’ catering to Amazon is unnecessary, according to The Washington Post. There has also been concern expressed over potential inequality, as highly skilled potential candidates are expected to migrate to the area, crowding out lower-income civilians particularly by raising housing costs.

This is coupled with the concern that the new development will bring exacerbated congestion in an already traffic-heavy D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area. Many communities protested the arrival of Amazon earlier this year, expressing that the new headquarters will intensify rush-hour traffic and disrupt the livelihoods of many single-family homes in the affluent D.C. suburbs, according to Curbed.

The influx of Amazon workers may place an unintended burden on D.C. communities, said Anna Scholl, executive director of the advocacy group Progress Virginia.

“Thousands of new high-paying jobs could be a boon to our community, but we deserve to know the cost,” Scholl said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Tens of thousands of new workers and their families are sure to strain community resources when it comes to affordable housing, mass transit and traffic, and quality local schools. It’s only right that Amazon pay their fair share.”

Bowser addressed the public housing problem the decision may cause, explaining that the District is actively taking steps to curtail negative consequences.

“We call on elected leaders in the region to come together and agree to a concrete goal for affordable and workforce housing,” Bowser said in a Nov. 13 news release. “D.C. has been leading the way on affordable housing with unprecedented investment in preservation and production. In four years, we have invested $471 million with just one of our locally funded tools, the Housing Production Trust Fund.”

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