ARLINGTON and ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Amazon.com, Inc, announced this morning that it has chosen Arlington County to establish a major new headquarters. Arlington and the City of Alexandria, after working together for the last year in a unique and unprecedented regional partnership, are announcing that Amazon will locate in National Landing, a newly branded neighborhood encompassing parts of Pentagon City and Crystal City in Arlington and Potomac Yard in Alexandria. The Commonwealth’s announcement also includes news of a new partnership with Virginia Tech to develop a revolutionary Innovation Campus to fill demand for high-tech talent in National Landing and beyond.
“We are proud that Amazon has selected National Landing for a major new headquarters. This is, above all, a validation of our community’s commitment to sustainability, transit-oriented development, affordable housing and diversity,” Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said. “The strength of our workforce coupled with our proximity to the nation’s capital makes us an attractive business location. But Arlington’s real strength is the decades of planning that have produced one of the most vibrant, civically engaged communities in the world. Those plans have paved the way for this investment and we look forward to engaging the Arlington community about Amazon’s plans and how we can grow together.”
“We in Alexandria could not be more excited and proud for Amazon to call National Landing home,” said Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg. “Throughout this process, we have worked with our colleagues in Arlington to highlight the collective strengths of our communities – our workforce, education, infrastructure and our unparalleled quality of life – all of which will be strengthened by this new investment from Amazon, the Commonwealth and our localities. Alexandria is an exceptional place to live and work, and we welcome partners who are committed to our continued growth and prosperity. We are thrilled to be able to partner with Virginia Tech as they deliver a world-class innovation campus in Alexandria’s portion of National Landing.”
Amazon will invest approximately $2.5 billion to establish a new headquarters in National Landing, which will create more than 25,000 high paying jobs and occupy 4 million square feet of energy-efficient office space with the opportunity to expand to 8 million square feet over the next 12 years. The National Landing site, one of the National Capital Region’s most accessible mixed-use communities, sits in the heart of an area recognized for having the most highly-educated workforce in the nation and is home to a growing number of companies and agencies contributing to the metro area’s reputation as a technology hub of the East Coast. National Landing, as the name suggests, is situated adjacent to Reagan National Airport and across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
“We are looking forward to joining the community and are excited to be creating high-paying jobs in Arlington,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon Director of WW Economic Development. “We believe that northern Virginia is a great place for our teams to keep inventing on behalf of our customers.”
Today’s announcement successfully concludes a 14-month process that inspired Northern Virginia localities to engage for the first time in a unique multi-jurisdictional partnership. This new regional approach to economic development allowed Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County and Loudoun County to present multiple sites to a company under the Northern Virginia brand, highlighting many shared regional assets like workforce, business climate and the innovation economy. This process was led by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and its commitment to deliver a world-class proposal to Amazon.
“I’m grateful to Governor Northam and his cabinet, the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Commission and their staff, Virginia’s university leaders, our amazing local partners, our talented colleagues at VEDP, and many other Virginians for all they have done to make this possible,” said VEDP President and CEO Stephen Moret. “Virginia’s biggest employment growth opportunity in the years ahead will be in tech – from artificial intelligence to cloud computing to cybersecurity, and everything in between. The tech-talent pipeline investments that Governor Northam and the General Assembly are launching will position communities across the Commonwealth for healthier, more diversified economic growth.”
Specifically, for the National Landing proposal, Arlington and Alexandria partnered with property owner and developer JBG SMITH to present Amazon with a compelling 150-acre site – a mixture of existing vacant buildings and developable land – seamlessly connected by a robust transportation network, including three Metrorail stations and a commuter rail station, walking and biking paths. The National Landing proposal offers Amazon the opportunity to establish a major headquarters in a thriving, urban environment. The proposal to Amazon that was crafted by Arlington, Alexandria, JBG SMITH, VEDP, and others can be found online.
“We are incredibly pleased to partner with Amazon on their new headquarters,” said JBG SMITH CEO, Matt Kelly. “Their selection of National Landing is a fantastic outcome for the entire region and reflects the close collaboration between the JBG SMITH team and our partners in Arlington, Alexandria and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Amazon’s new home at National Landing builds on the strength and history of an established community with nearly 12 million square feet of existing office space and more than 13,000 residential units that also has exciting growth potential. JBG SMITH owns 6.2 million square feet of existing office space and 2.4 million square feet of existing multifamily, and controls 7.4 million square feet of estimated potential density in National Landing, excluding Amazon’s proposed land purchase. Amazon’s initial development plans focus on JBG SMITH-owned properties in Crystal City and Pentagon City in Arlington County, while the new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus will be developed in the Alexandria portion of the National Landing site. Amazon’s new headquarters and related investments are generally consistent with the communities’ adopted growth plans for the National Landing area in both Arlington and Alexandria, which envision high-density, mixed-use, transit-oriented development.
In Alexandria’s portion of Potomac Yard, Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth intend to provide funding for an Innovation Campus near Amazon’s new headquarters to build a graduate campus in the southern portion of National Landing, specifically targeted at tech talent that will benefit all companies in the Commonwealth. The campus will house master’s and doctoral level programs that dovetail with the industry’s most pressing demands. Degree programs and research opportunities will focus on computer sciences and software engineering, while offering specializations in high-demand areas, including data sciences; analytics and collective decisions; security and the Internet of Things; and technology and policy. The campus will build on the growing innovation economy in Alexandria and Arlington, anchored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and now private sector companies like Amazon.
“Launching the Innovation Campus is a watershed moment for Virginia Tech and a great day for the Commonwealth we are committed to serve,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said. “As Virginia’s land-grant institution, we stepped up to claim our role of driving economic development by leveraging our strengths in technology and engineering and building on our strong partnerships in Washington, D.C. The Innovation Campus will bring together the highest-caliber students, world-class faculty, smart ideas and forward-thinking companies.”
K-12 and Higher Education: As part of the Commonwealth’s increased investment in the tech-talent pipeline, Arlington and Alexandria public schools will have access to new resources related to computer science education, to be made available statewide. They include: ongoing professional development for current and future teachers; high-quality curriculum and related resources; summer and after-school programming for students; and meaningful career exposure and work-based learning opportunities in high-demand fields.
George Mason University’s Arlington campus will also grow, taking advantage of new performance-based investments for new master’s degree programs in computer science and related fields.
Transportation: A review of available transportation services, facilities and associated capacity indicate that regional and local transit systems have significant unused capacity, even during peak travel periods. As a very transit-focused employer, Amazon is expected to help fill that existing capacity, with most employees utilizing public transit, walking, biking or carpooling each day.
To manage this planned growth, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria are investing $570 million in transportation projects, including rail connections, transit facilities, multi-modal streets and transportation technology serving the site, all of which were planned as part of Board- and Council-approved long-term Capital Improvement Plans. Arlington and Alexandria are also actively pursuing additional funding opportunities to advance investments in this corridor.
To augment these local investments, the Commonwealth will invest up to $195 million of non-general fund money in new or expanded transportation projects to improve mobility in the region, including an additional entrance to the Crystal City Metro station and a south entrance off of Potomac Avenue to the new Potomac Yard Metro station. Other projects include improvements to U.S. Route 1 in Arlington County, a pedestrian bridge from Crystal City to Reagan National Airport and a transitway expansion supporting Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard in both Alexandria and Arlington. Additional funding would be available if Amazon creates more than 25,000 jobs.
Amazon’s choice to locate in National Landing comes as the region is intensifying its efforts to increase housing capacity and making more investments in affordable housing. Arlington and Alexandria already have strong existing commitments to funding and supporting efforts to create, protect and preserve affordable and workforce housing. As part of this project announcement, both communities will fund affordable housing, workforce housing and public infrastructure, bolstered by revenues generated from Amazon’s new presence in their communities. Combined, the communities project investment of at least $150 million over the next decade, resulting in the creation and preservation of 2,000 to 2,400 affordable and workforce units in and around the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Columbia Pike areas and throughout Alexandria.
Arlington’s proposed direct financial incentive to Amazon is an annual pay-for-performance grant tied to the company meeting 6 million square feet in office occupancy targets over the initial 15 years with a value of approximately $23 million. The incentive comes from a percentage of the new incremental revenue generated by the County’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), which is a tax paid by tourists and business travelers on hotel rooms or other paid lodging.
In addition to direct financial incentives, Arlington County also proposed using a portion of new incremental revenue generated by Amazon’s arrival within the existing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) area to make strategic infrastructure investments in and around National Landing. The estimated new TIF revenue is projected to be $28m over a 10-year period.
The Arlington County Board will vote on a final incentive agreement no earlier than February 2019 and will follow its regular public engagement and hearing process for development decisions.
In order to facilitate the development of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in National Landing, Alexandria has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the university in which the City agreed to work with Virginia Tech to structure a financial plan for development, potentially including local financial support, as well as providing expedited processing for planning and development approvals and permits. The Innovation Campus will be located in the Alexandria portion of National Landing on land owned by investment firm Blackstone Group L.P. real estate fund. The land is commonly referred to as Oakville Triangle and will be developed by Stonebridge Associates. The City will follow its well-established public engagement and hearing processes for any required planning and development decisions, and any other City commitments will be decided on by City Council, following established protocols for consideration and approval.
Arlington Economic Development
Arlington Economic Development (AED), part of Arlington County Government, is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of an economically competitive and sustainable community, and the creation of exciting, diverse and amenity-rich places. AED provides visionary leadership and superior services to Arlington’s business and arts community, its tourism industry and its real estate development. For more information, visit ArlingtonEconomicDevelopment.com.
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership
The Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP) is a public-private partnership that works closely with the City of Alexandria management and elected officials to promote Alexandria as a premier location for businesses by capitalizing on its many assets, including multiple Metro stations, historical character and riverfront location to enhance the city’s tax revenue and increase employment opportunities. For more information, visit GrowALX.com.
Arlington and Alexandria are world-class destinations and business-friendly communities known for a highly-educated workforce, fiscally responsible governments and diverse cultures. Located just across the Potomac River from the decision-making center of Washington, D.C., Arlington and Alexandria work jointly to provide the ideal environments for business, residents and visitors.