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After inquiring in Loudoun, Amazon expands in Fairfax, adding 1,500 jobs

Amazon Web Services is embarking on a major expansion just across the Loudoun County line and will soon open a new East Coast corporate campus at One Dulles Tower in Fairfax County, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced Thursday.

The governor’s office said Virginia competed with Texas and Washington for the expansion, which is expected to create up to 1,500 jobs. But Amazon appears to not only have considered several states, but also nearby localities, including Loudoun.

Loudoun’s Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer told the Times-Mirror that Loudoun was one of the first places where Amazon was looking. He said his department and Amazon talked about “a lot of options,” but that Loudoun’s lack of class-A office space was a dealbreaker for the company.

“[Amazon] would have very much liked to have been in Loudoun, where they have billions of dollars invested,” Rizer said. “We don’t have that sort of office product that they were looking for at the time.”

Amazon operates major data centers out of Northern Virginia, and it first set up shop in Loudoun County in 2006. Vadata Inc. is Amazon’s subsidiary company for anything data-center orientated. They have addresses in Sterling and Ashburn.

Rizer said Amazon is the biggest data center operator and one of the biggest taxpayers in Loudoun, and they are expanding and adding new properties in the county every year. He said he remains optimistic that once the company’s lease is up in Fairfax, and once Loudoun has more office space as a result of the new development that will occur around the future Metro stops, the county will “have the product in place that would make more sense.”

“If you’re asking me would I rather have the tax revenue from the billions of dollars in data centers that [Amazon] have invested here, or the jobs, obviously I’d rather have both,” Rizer said. “But I’ll take the tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue from the data centers right now, and we’ll work towards trying to land the corporate side down the road.”

McAuliffe said the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to help land the expansion in the commonwealth.

Once Amazon hires 600 new employees, the governor’s office said the company will be eligible to receive $7,000 per net new job created, up to 1,500 total jobs, through an MEI custom performance grant, which was approved by McAuliffe and the MEI Commission and subject to approval by the General Assembly.

“Amazon Web Services’ decision to expand its operations in the Dulles Technology Corridor is a testament to the quality business climate and tech-savvy workforce our area provides,” State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-33rd) said in a prepared statement. “Amazon Web Services has been an outstanding corporate citizen here in Virginia, and we welcome their new operations.”

Rizer said there are currently deals with Amazon in the works being discussed with his department, but he declined to say what those plans were, only that the county is “constantly working with them on their footprint in Loudoun County.”

“This is Amazon’s most important region,” Rizer said.


As long as there is available Class A office space in Fairfax/Arlington/Alexandra (and there is) then Loudoun’s chances are slim.  Large companies will almost always chose the location closer to the city if possible.

So why do you think there is a shortage of class A office space in LoCo?  Rezoning commercial land to build condos townhomes and SF homes. Why? Because these projects can done and financed easily by pals of the BoS.  Comprehensive plan? What comprehensive plan?

Leesburg can barely approve a 3 story parking garage without a battle hard to imagine any other location in Loudoun would ever approve a site development large enough for Amazon’s needs. Loudoun is miles and miles of houses that all look the same and strip malls with bed bath and beyond. It really is a shame because the potential is there. Are the folks in charge content with Loudoun being labeled a “bedroom” community? Are they afraid of a building taller than a few floors?

Don’t worry, Buddy.  I am sure your Sister City business development will more than make up for this (sarcasm).

“but that Loudoun’s lack of class-A office space was a dealbreaker for the company.”

Most of those 1500 people that will work there will live in Loudoun county, requiring emergency services, schools, and highway space to drive out of Loudoun county to work.

All Rizer has to offer is data centers.  “currently deals with Amazon in the works being discussed with his department”?  i.e. more data centers.  Rizer would rather have tax revenue from the data centers than places to work in the county?  Well there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.  We will need that tax money and more to provide schools and services as the housing developers run roughshod over the county for places to sleep for all of the people employed in Fairfax.

“The lack of class A office space”.  Well stop approving and building those one level warehouse office parks. Or stop complaining about the data centers.  What’s the point of the metro?  To bring in minimum wage workers to run these strip malls we call town centers!

When is LoCo going to realize that they are not big players? They think unrealistically that running Metro to LoCo will make a difference; it won’t. I happen to know some other big players in the Google, Amazon, Apple caliber were looking around and Loudoun was considered to far out. LoCo needs to lower their sights….they are not going be able to move their geographic borders any closer to DC. When someone from Company “X” came here in April look at east coast expansion they did come to LoCo,but when they realized how far it was from DC, they looked closer in. I expect that in September their big announcement will come and you will know who I meant…big…baby…big. But not for LoCo…

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