Could Montgomery County be home to Amazon's new HQ2?
NORTH BETHESDA, Md. (ABC7) —
In downtown Bethesda, area political leaders gathered Monday afternoon at a ribbon cutting for a new police station.
“Three, two, one!” they chanted in unison.
But with the help of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Montgomery County officials have their eye on something much bigger: Amazon’s second headquarters, called “HQ2.”
“We have to be all in,” exclaimed County Council member Roger Berliner. “This is the super bowl, we’re up against incredible competition.”
This suburban county is now in Amazon’s list of top-20 locations, going up against the likes of Atlanta, Chicago, Loudoun County, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
“Obviously fantastic for the community,” says DC resident Scott Strongoski. “Bring a lot of jobs to the area, keeping things going,”
Now Hogan has a newly proposed $5 billion deal.
The “Prime Act” legislation includes $3 billion in grants and tax incentives for an unnamed Fortune 100 company.
It also includes the investment of $2 billion worth of road, transit, and infrastructure improvements.
In return, that company would guarantee $5 billion in investment, including at least 40,000 jobs, each with $100,000 salaries, over the next seventeen years.
“This is not jobs just cooking hamburgers,” says Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. “These jobs are well over $100,000 a job. That’s tremendous impact, not only for Montgomery County, but the state and the entire region.”
Local leaders say their offer includes parcels of land in the White Flint/Bethesda area.
There’s a lot of chatter that the White Flint Plaza property is among the picks by Montgomery County.
But Leggett and other county leaders says they are not commenting about specific locations.
Still, some residents are concerned about traffic and growth.
“I like the idea of more business here, but I wonder about the community itself,” says Patrice Whiting, of Silver Spring. “And we’re already bombarded with more traffic.”
Strongoski says he likes the idea of new, affluent jobs coming to the area.
But he says new infrastructure and improvements, have to be part of the package.
“Not looking forward to those changes, that would be pretty bad,” he says. “Something would have to be done with the roadways, don’t think we’re there yet.”
Leggett says the infrastructure plans are a crucial part of this deal.
“You’re building roads, you’re providing incentive, you’re providing tax incentives, a variety of other thing that go with that,” he declares.
The deal must be approved by state lawmakers.
But the pressure is on.
Supporters says Maryland legislators need to pass the measure this session, for the deal to work.
Berliner says the stakes are high.
“There’s nothing bigger for the state of Maryland than this deal,” he says. “It checks off all the boxes of what Amazon's looking for. An extraordinary workforce, diversity, culture, quality of life, transit, near three international airports, you look at what we bring to the table.”