DC Makes Short List for Second Amazon Headquarters

Tech giant announces 20 cities have made the cut

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Image courtesy Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

Amazon has released a list of twenty finalists selected for the next phase in the selection of a site for a second corporate headquarters. The District made the cut, together with eighteen other cities in the United States and one Canadian city, Toronto, Ontario.

The cities are largely located in the Eastern regions of the U.S., reflecting Amazon’s stated intention to have the second headquarters located at a distance from the original headquarters in Seattle.

Three of the four sites included in the District proposal include property in Ward 6. Community members have differed on their response to the inclusion of the Reservation 13 site in the proposal, with some arguing that an Amazon corporate headquarters would finally kick start development at the site and others arguing that the headquarters was not the development that was needed in the neighborhood.

In an article he wrote last November for the Hill Rag, Capitol Riverfront BID President Michael Stevens said the benefits of the Anacostia River site could outweigh the negatives.

The list of finalists includes Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Indianapolis, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Montgomery County, MD; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; New York City, NY; Northern Virginia, VA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh, NC; Toronto, ON (Canada); and Washington DC.

District government has been close-mouthed about the details in their offer to Amazon, citing the competitive nature of the call for proposals. After WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the heavily-redacted response revealed that  some of the incentives included reimbursements of up to $7,500 if new employees relocated their principal residence to the district, wage reimbursements of up to $10,000 for new hires, $30,000 if the hire is a veteran, and a 0% corporate tax rate for the first five years, among other benefits.

At the Jan. 9th meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B, Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10) asked visiting District Council Chairman Phil Mendelson about the Amazon application, again noting her frustration that the ANC had not been informed about the District bid before it was made public. She said she had asked Council for information about the cost of the proposal to the District and had received only “radio silence”. Mendelson agreed to return the following month and discuss some of the items around which commissioners asked for better communication.

Amazon’s second headquarters is expected to bring with it 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment. “In the coming months, Amazon will work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community,” said a company press release. “Amazon expects to make a decision in 2018.”