United States

DC, Maryland, Virginia Make Amazon's List for 2nd Headquarters

The D.C. metro area is one step closer to potentially being home to Amazon's second U.S. headquarters. 

Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Northern Virginia were among the 20 metropolitan areas the online retailer chose to move to the next phase of the company's search. 

Amazon said in the coming months, it will work with each city "to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community."

Amazon said they expect to come to a decision this year. 

Amazon kicked off its hunt for a second home base in September, promising 50,000 new jobs and construction spending of more than $5 billion. Amazon made clear that tax breaks and grants would be a big factor in deciding what entry prevailed.

Besides looking for financial incentives, Amazon had stipulated that it wanted to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit and be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade.

The online retailer received 238 proposals from cities and regions in the U.S, Canada and Mexico. Other cities that made the top 20 include Atlanta, Boston, Miami, New York City and Toronto.

Many cities have been tight-lipped about the proposals they made to woo the online retailer. 

Washington, D.C. has offered Amazon a number of incentives, according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by WAMU and obtained by the Washington Business Journal.

The incentives include: relocation reimbursements for workers who move to the District, a five-year corporate franchise tax exemption and a five-year corporate franchise tax exemption.

Economic development officials in Virginia have refused requests from several media organizations to see the proposal the state pitched in an effort to lure Amazon’s coveted second headquarters. 

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s general counsel, citing discretionary exemptions under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act, wrote that releasing the proposal could jeopardize future attempts to attract companies to Virginia. 

Montgomery County’s proposal highlighted the area’s highly educated workforce, diverse population and transportation system. But the financial and tax incentives the county offered Amazon remain a secret.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Amazon coming to the District "would be a win for our residents and the region."

"Washington, DC is no longer a one-company government town, we are a leader in innovation and tech, brimming with top talent and endless opportunity," Bowser said in a statement Thursday.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Thursday's announcement from Amazon was "tremendous," but he said "the real challenge lies ahead."

"We will continue working with our partners in Montgomery County, including County Executive Ike Leggett and his team, to ensure that we do everything possible to bring this project home," Hogan said. 

Amazon plans to remain in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the second center will be "a full equal" to it, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in September. Amazon has said that it will announce a decision sometime next year.

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