Amazon HQ2: One Year Later

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we joined together in a chilly warehouse in Pentagon City for the big announcement that Amazon had chosen Arlington for its much-anticipated HQ2. It had been the culmination of 14 months of work for the AED team, and despite what many had thought, we didn’t get the final “yes” from the company until the afternoon before the big announcement.

But in reality, the work was just beginning on that announcement day. The months that ensued brought with it numerous community engagement sessions to help to inform Arlingtonians just what it all meant for them and what they could expect in the coming months and years – for things like housing affordability, transportation, schools and more. That’s a continuing discussion – one we’ll be having for years to come. You can find out more about what’s been going on here in Arlington and around Virginia at this one year anniversary here.

With regards to Amazon, this first anniversary means things are moving along as planned. The company has about 200 employees now working in Crystal City with a goal of 400 by the end of the year as was originally planned. County planners are reviewing site plans for future Amazon buildings. It’s pretty much business as usual on the site plan review process. These are the steps any company must take to locate in Arlington.

And for the AED team, we’re focusing on the hundreds of companies that have already chosen Arlington as home. We want to be sure those companies have the resources they need to grow and succeed here in Arlington, and we’re working to foster collaborations and partnerships that make that happen. We’re also working with our excellent educational resources to ensure those companies continue to have a qualified workforce – something we hear over and over again is a key factor in business location.

Arlington County is still looking at as much as 7 million square feet of vacant office space and a 16% office vacancy rate – Amazon didn’t magically cure that problem overnight. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still working to attract new companies to Arlington. A “big fish” like Amazon certainly helps with our visibility and ability to market, and more companies now realize Arlington’s status as a place for technology companies to succeed. We’re working hard to make sure companies that do come here have the resources for their businesses to thrive and their employees to enjoy quality of life. And above all, we’re striving to bring an economic base that benefits Arlington County as a whole.

Topic: BIG Update, Economic Update
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