Pr. George's Co. Gives Amazon 3 Reasons to Build New HQ Here

LARGO, Md. — Prince George’s County officials said Tuesday they are ready to compete for Amazon’s new North American headquarters and described three sites that would be a perfect fit.

According to County Executive Rushern Baker and David Ianucci, his deputy chief administrative officer for Economic Development, sites near the Greenbelt, College Park and New Carrollton Metro stations tick off all the requirements laid out by Amazon.

Baker said it was too early to say what financial incentives the county might offer the online retail giant. He also downplayed the financial component, insisting that Prince George’s County has features that other jurisdictions lack, especially the amount of space available for expansion.

“We’re prepared to offer incentives, but we don’t really think incentives are what’s going to drive this,” said Baker. Instead, he told reporters, each site offers between 100 to 300 acres for development. “You can’t get away from the fact that we have major universities located near the sites we’re talking about.”

Baker also described the county’s diversity — a majority of its residents are black — as a “selling point” and he noted that the county has a large number of women-owned businesses.

While there’s national competition for the Amazon facility, there’s also local competition, including from inside Maryland.

Notably, Gov. Larry Hogan — a Republican who could face a challenge from Baker, who’s running in the 2018 Democratic primary — has already made a strong pitch to locate the new Amazon headquarters in Baltimore. Baker said that won’t hurt Prince George’s County’s ability to market its own locations.

“We’re a big county, and so we’re used to promoting ourselves,” Baker said, smiling.

Prince George’s County has experience in marketing itself to large projects—including its efforts to secure the new FBI headquarters.

“When we first went after the FBI, you couldn’t talk about quality of life in all parts of Prince George’s County.” But Baker pointed to Largo as an example of how that is changing. “You see the development — where we’re standing right here — is going to be downtown Largo, with a brand-new hospital, with retail, office space, and places to eat.”

Baker said the experience with the FBI and bringing MGM to National Harbor helped the county sharpen its message and assemble promotions faster. And he’s excited about the possibility of drawing Amazon to the county.

“This is a moment in time when Prince George’s County is ready,” he said. “We’re ready. Seven years ago we’d have had to make up some stuff,” he said laughing. “Now we can just pull out what we’ve been successful on.”

All three of the sites pitched have direct links to Metro, but some have multiple transit links. Here’s a looking at each site’s features according to the county:

College Park features:
8 million square feet of potential space
128 acres
flexible zoning
direct access to MARC and the planned Purple Line
Urban, walkable, bike-friendly neighborhoods

Greenbelt features:
14 Million square feet
225 acres
flexible zoning
access to College Park campus
direct access to MARC and the planned Purple Line

New Carrollton features:
10 million square feet
300+ acres
flexible zoning
access to MARC, Amtrack (Acela) and planned Purple Line and bus routes

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