Montgomery County a top choice for new Amazon headquarters
On Jan. 18, Amazon released its shortlist for potential sites of its second headquarters. Montgomery County, MD was included in the shortlist, as well as other major metropolitan areas such as Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City.
Amazon plans to invest more than $5 billion and grow this second headquarters to accommodate up to 50,000 high-paying jobs. Construction and ongoing operations could create tens of thousands of additional jobs in the chosen site’s community. The PRIME Act provides state income tax credits equivalent to 5.75 of wages for each job created at the new Amazon headquarters, applying to jobs created within the first 17 years of the project that pay between $60,000 and $500,000.
On Jan. 15th, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s office released the outline of a legislative proposal clearing the way for more than $3 billion in tax incentives for the company and about $2 billion more in road, transit and infrastructure upgrades. A reduction of sprawl housing, as represented in communities such as Clarksburg, would be seen, as well as an increase in Smart Growth living techniques to meet the demand of the new population while also complying with Montgomery County’s demanding environmental regulations. Of the offerings whose details are public, only New Jersey’s is larger, at $7 billion, but they do not have an educated workforce.
“Amazon sent a clear signal that Maryland truly is open for business by selecting Montgomery County as one of the contenders for this transformative project,” Hogan said in a statement on January 15. “HQ2 is the single greatest economic development opportunity in a generation and we’re committing all of the resources we have to bring it home to Maryland.”
Casey Anderson, who chairs the Montgomery County Planning Board, said the fact that Montgomery County, D.C., and Northern Virginia made the short list debunks the idea that the region is unattractive to business. “I think it’s good to show that we’re ready and able to compete for any major corporate headquarters,” Anderson told Bethesda Beat.
He added that the planning department has already shown the ability to work with companies to advance major projects. The planning board recently approved the proposal for Marriott International’s new headquarters in downtown Bethesda.
“I think Amazon’s move to Montgomery County would boost our county into the next century, and growth in the Info Tech market would allow us to become one with areas such as Silicon Valley and innovation corridor,” explains Global senior Mike Urban. “MoCo and its surrounding areas already obtain a remarkably talented and educated workforce, and with the addition of Amazon, the educated workforce would inflate greatly.”
In the next phase of the selection process, Amazon will work with each of the candidate locations to delve deeper into their proposals within the next few months, request additional information and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans and benefit its employees as well as the local community. Amazon’s final decision will be made before the end of the year, and its first 500,000 to 1 million square feet of office space will begin to be occupied by late 2019.