- Earlier in February, Amazon announced it would no longer pursue its HQ2 project in New York City, citing pushback from local politicians.
- Politicians in Virginia, where the other half of HQ2 is set to be developed, have also made some noise and said that they would like to reexamine the deal struck between Arlington County, the state of Virginia, and Amazon.
- Virginia may have more leverage with Amazon, as the company has no easy recourse if it decides to pull out — aside from reopening a nationwide search for a site for its second headquarters.
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In the wake of Amazon pulling its second headquarters project — or HQ2 — out of New York City, some activists and local leaders in Virginia are also voicing concerns.
Earlier in February, Amazon announced it would no longer pursue its HQ2 project in New York, citing pushback from local politicians. The decision shocked onlookers, and reaction was mixed among both the project’s supporters and detractors.
Attention then naturally shifted to Virginia, where Amazon had set its sights on developing the other half of its HQ2 project. Amazon had planned to build in an area newly dubbed “National Landing,” which comprises Crystal City, the eastern portion of Pentagon City, and the northern portion of Potomac Yard in Alexandria and Arlington. Reaction from the local community had previously been more muted there than it had been in New York.
But now, Virginian local leaders are making some noise of their own. They, too, would like to reexamine the deal that was struck between Arlington County, the state of Virginia, and Amazon, which is set to offer up to $550 million in state tax incentives in exchange for hiring 25,000 people in the area. The county also offered the company $23 million over 15 years from a rising tax on hotel rooms, for a grand total of $573 million.
A coalition called “For us, not Amazon” is voicing many of the same concerns that were raised in New York, namely that rising housing costs and gentrification could displace working-class residents.
At the county level, a debate is taking place around the $23 million in grants being offered to the company. The Arlington County Board will vote to approve those grants on March 13.
At least two members of the board — Erik Gutshall and Matt de Ferranti — have said to local news site ARLnow.com that Amazon hasn’t engaged enough with the…