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Loudoun County, nearby jurisdictions hope to land Amazon’s ‘HQ2’

Online conglomerate Amazon announced in a statement today that it plans to build a second headquarters -- HQ2 -- in North America, and the web giant opened up request for proposals to local and state government leaders.

Loudoun County officials say they hope to land the project, but they'll have plenty of competition.

The company said it expects to invest more than $5 billion in construction and aims to create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs in addition to “tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.”

Amazon’s CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said the company anticipates its second headquarters will be about the same size and scope of its headquarters in Seattle, where it employs more than 40,000 people, owns 8.1 million square feet of office space and 33 buildings.

“Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We’re excited to find a second home,” Bezos said in a prepared statement.

Amazon’s investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in a $38 billion boost to the city’s economy, according to the company. It also said that every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional $1.40 for the city’s overall economy.

Earlier this summer, Amazon acquired Whole Foods Markets for $13.4 billion, a move that brought in thousands of additional workers and has lowered the company’s food prices.

In 2013, Bezos purchased the Washington Post.

In June, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced that Amazon Web Services would open a new East Coast corporate campus at One Dulles Tower in Fairfax County.

McAuliffe said Virginia competed with Texas and Washington for the expansion, which is expected to create up to 1,500 jobs.

Following the announcement of Amazon Web Services’ move to Fairfax, Loudoun Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer told the Times-Mirror that Loudoun was one of the first places Amazon inquired. But Rizer said Loudoun’s lack of class-A office space was the deal breaker.

Rizer said he’s aware of the company’s search and his department plans to pursue Amazon’s bid “with our full resources."

But Loudoun looks like it might already be up against some steep competition. The Washington Business Journal reported that Washington, D.C., Prince George's County and Arlington also hope to land the second headquarters in their jurisdictions.

“Loudoun County would be the perfect place for Amazon to locate their East Coast headquarters ... Loudoun checks all the boxes for any major corporate relocation,” Rizer said in emailed statement.

Amazon operates major data centers out of northern Virginia. It first set up shop in Loudoun County in 2006. Vadata Inc. is Amazon’s subsidiary company for its data center operation. Vadata has addresses in Sterling and Ashburn.

In June, Rizer told the Times-Mirror there were deals with Amazon in the works, but he declined to elaborate beyond saying the county is “constantly working with them on their footprint in Loudoun County.”

According to Amazon's RFP, the company is looking for up to 8 million square feet of office once the second headquarters is fully built out in 2027, but plans to start off with 500,000 square feet or more during phase one slated for 2019.

Additionally, Amazon said it wants the location of its second headquarters to be within a 30-mile proximity to a city center, with direct access to highways and public transportation options including bus routes, Metrorail and train, and within 45 minutes of an international airport.

The company said it preferred an urban or suburban location that could provide a similar layout to its Seattle campus. It also said it preferred an area where it can attract and retain strong technical talent and communities that “think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.”

Interested localities must submit their RFPs by Oct. 19.

Loudoun County Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run) confirmed "Loudoun is trying to land this."

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @SydneyKashiwagi.


Or it might turn out to be like these data centers…most of the workers live elsewhere with a nice internet connection.

I think of this every time I drive by one of the data center obelisks and their tiny parking lots:

“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”

Let’s do the math…let’s say Loudoun gets it…50000 jobs does not mean 50000 people move here…that would only be true if the 50000 folks were single!! Let’s say they are married, so now that means 100,000 people move here. That is unrealistic to assume that every person getting the job at Amazon are married with no kids! So let’s add one kid, and now we are up to 150,000 folks and 50,000 new school kids…start adding kids 2, 3..and well, you get the picture. This would be a disaster…let Denver or Austin have it!!! This is a recipe for disaster.

It is part of the Comprehensive Plan, so no complaining (sarcasm).

Defensive? You betcha…I am tired of clueless, idiotic BOS members dictating how this county should grow. Those who have been here for any length of time see the handiwork of Scott York and Steven Snow…who patted any developer who had a multi house development in mind. They never said no. And look at what Lazzaro did to Purcellville! His so called leadership turned a nice town into something that looks like New Jersey…oh wait…that is where Lazzaro is from…hmm…you bet I am defensive…we never have a BOS with half a brain.

Just asking, in total how many staff man hours and money was spent on trying to lure the FBI to Loudoun and what did that get us ? How much in taxes do the folks at Howard Hughes pay ? Amazon will save Loudoun from its poor infrastructure, poor school transportation issues and lack of broardband in the west? I guess this is what they pay Mr. River to do :(

Skyprince lol, so defensive. I’m with you though: I’d rather see Bezos take Amazon anywhere but here. Move the entire operation somewhere else. How nice would it be to finally be rid of all you homesick transplants?

RE: Skyprince….Best comment…please forward this to the Loudoun County Board to help them with their 2018 Goal Setting!!

I think Loudoun would be in the running and I’ll even suggest a location: the Verizon/UUNet building.  It is large enough to start and has enough land for significant build-out.  It is right off the Greenway and will be very near a Metro stop.  10 minutes from the airport and 15 miles to DC.  Bezos has already shown interest in the region by putting AWS here as well as purchasing the Post.  With billionaires now playing with politics, it may give him an additional platform so he can keep his precious internet tax exemption.  And we have a massive cadre of IT personnel too.

However, having lived south of Silicon Valley in the 90s, if you think the cost of living is high here now, the Amazon addition would be like adding rocket fuel.  Housing prices would be astronomical if you add that many high-paying jobs.

Before the BoS decides anything on the new comprehensive plan, they should see how this plays out.  If Amazon moved here, it would be the most significant event ever and would redefine Loudoun and the surrounding areas.

50,000 jobs in Loudoun?  Loudoun has a 2.9% Unemployment rate and a 210,000 labor force. That means we only have 6,000 workers that need jobs. Where is Bezos going to get the remaining 44,000 workers? Fairfax only has 18,000 people unemployed.

It would be nearly impossible for Amazon to find 50,000 people in this region to employ. That means they need to pull in commuters from other areas, which means more traffic!!!!

Just a reminder to everyone complaining about population growth:  There will be 35k+ new housing units built in eastern Loudoun over the next 10 years thanks to the Silver Line.  Thousands of units are also being added to western Fairfax county (Reston, Herndon, etc.)

So if we’re screwed either way (and we are), we might as well be screwed and have 50k new jobs.

Sorry, we have more than enough people and cars on our roads.  Stop expanding housing and improve the infrastructure and quality of life…then you might begin to see people choosing to locate in Loudoun.l

Dream on Loudoun….if you read the story they are looking for a city…not a bunch of yahoos trying to play with the big boys. My money is on Chicago…a real city. Loudoun needs to stop looking for big fish and focus on small fish. What the heck would Loudoun do with 50k jobs? The schools are a mess now not to mention the roads. Really? Stop looking at bragging rights and protect the lives of those who are here now without adding more people. Loudoun has zero chance. Boston maybe, real cities.

Absolutely NO tax incentives or public money should be used to incentivize this. Fifty thousand people moving to the county will have HUGE impacts on our schools and traffic issues.  We will need all the money we can get to accommodate such a massive influx. 

This needs to be managed well and we need to make sure taxpayers are subsidizing a multi-billion dollar company just for the sake of growth.

I am a Seattle transplant and stream local news in the afternoon which is reporting Denver or Austin as the likely candidate for Amazon’s new HQ for several reasons: 1) proximity to Seattle; 2) software engineers already in the area; and 3) cost of living for employees. It’s anybody’s guess, but I’d certainly take either Austin or Denver (I’ve lived in Denver too) over Northern Virginia with its high cost of living, crowded conditions, relatively high taxes and not as a robust technology community. Denver invested in public transit about 25 years ago, and it has paid off - much better than metro.

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