Fierce competition for new Amazon HQ as major deadline approaches
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
With tens of thousands of high-paying jobs at stake, at least seven local areas are applying this week to try to land Amazon’s second headquarters.
Those seven areas are D.C., Prince George’s County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Baltimore, Arlington, and a bid reportedly including property in both Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
Last month, Seattle-based Amazon announced it would open a second North American headquarters, news that sent cities throughout the U.S. and Canada scrambling to come up with applications by a deadline of Thursday this week.
Experts consider the D.C. area to be on a short list of regions most likely to land the headquarters.
"I think this region gets into anybody's finals list,” said Christopher Leinberger, professor at the George Washington University School of Business. “ I would also put in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, possibly Denver. Those would be the main competitors.”
Leinberger calls the Amazon second headquarters “the economic development decision of a generation.”
The company has said whoever lands the new headquarters can expect up to 50,000 new, high-paying jobs.
“And it's not just a 50,000 jobs that pay a lot of money,” Leinberger said. “The main issue in my mind is that it's going to spark the third or fourth -- depending on how you count -- Silicon Valley."
"50,000 jobs translates into 150 to 200,000 total jobs when you look at the ripple,” he added.
D.C. is pushing four different spots for a possible Amazon second headquarters. They include areas just southwest of Nationals Park, a large property near RFK Stadium that includes the current D.C. General homeless shelter, as well as NoMa and an area near Howard University.
But D.C. is just one of a host of local jurisdictions hoping to land Amazon.
Prince George’s County is pushing for spots near either the New Carrollton, College Park, or Greenbelt Metro stations.
Howard County wants Amazon to come to the Columbia Gateway area near I-95.
Baltimore is pushing Port Covington.
The Washington Post is reporting that there is a Northern Virginia effort to have Amazon come to the Center for Innovative Technology in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
Meanwhile, Montgomery and Arlington counties both confirmed to ABC7 News that they are applying to Amazon, but refused to say what locations they want Amazon to consider.
Leinberger says one thing that may help the D.C. region is that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is very familiar with the city.
"He of course owns the [Washington] Post, but the fact that he's bought a home here is not insignificant,” he said.
Amazon says it will announce where it will build its second headquarters sometime in 2018.