قالب وردپرس قالب وردپرس آموزش وردپرس قالب فروشگاهی وردپرس وردپرس
Home / Addiction (Psychology) / Among Amazon HQ2 Watchers, Northern Virginia Checks the Most Boxes

Among Amazon HQ2 Watchers, Northern Virginia Checks the Most Boxes

Spread the love

SEATTLE — Amazon won’t say a word about where it plans to put its much-hyped second headquarters. Officials in the 20 cities and regions named as finalists say that they don’t know anything — and that even if they did, they wouldn’t share it publicly.

But that hasn’t stopped investors, economic officials and developers from trying to reverse engineer the HQ2 search, to understand what a company seen as embodying the future wants and needs, and what local governments should do to be part of that future.

The growing consensus is that the place that checks the most boxes is Northern Virginia. In online betting forums, it has the best odds of landing the project. Analysts at Citi recently said most investors they spoke with also expected HQ2 to end up in the Washington area, noting that Northern Virginia is home to Amazon’s cloud computing division’s “largest and fastest-growing office outside of Seattle.”

Many have gone a step further, suggesting that Crystal City, an older office area being revitalized just across the Potomac River from Washington, offers the best site. Its upsides: good transit, diverse residents, a friendly business climate and a single developer with a big chunk of land.

“There are a lot of merits to a lot of these places, but at the end of the day, all of the signs are pointing to Crystal City,” said Amy Liu, director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. “I’m just going to say it.”

“If you had your headquarters in a city and were responsible for tens of thousands of jobs, you could be seen as a good corporate citizen,” said Richard Florida, a professor at the University of Toronto who has followed Amazon’s urban development for more than two decades.

The headquarters search centers on Amazon’s seemingly insatiable appetite to hire enough of the talent it needs. To do so, the company says, it needs to be somewhere with a strong talent pipeline and the urban attributes, like public transportation and culture, that attract other employees to move.

One question that looms over Crystal City, and Northern Virginia more broadly, is whether it is hip enough for the employees Amazon wants to attract. Crystal City is a jumble of mostly outdated, low-slung offices built decades ago for defense contractors, and a smattering of retail outlets. That has left it with a high vacancy rate, around 20 percent, according to JLL, a commercial real estate brokerage.

Much of the South Lake Union neighborhood in Seattle was also a civic no-man’s-land, filled with auto body repair shops and parking lots, before Amazon moved there. Some leases in Amazon’s buildings require restaurants to stay open on weekends and through dinner hours — what Amazon called an “18-hour district” — but nearby cafes are often quiet after the happy hour rush subsides.

Crystal City offers another parallel to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters: Much of the land is owned by a single developer, which makes it easier to plan and build in a quick and cohesive way. Until recently, Amazon relied heavily on the investment firm of the Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who died Monday, to build its Seattle campus.

JBG Smith, a publicly traded investment trust, owns large swaths of Crystal City, and its chief executive, Matt Kelly, spoke before Mr. Bezos at the Economic Club, fueling yet another round of speculation among HQ2 watchers.

“Everybody is talking about Crystal City,” said Stephen S. Fuller, a leading regional economist at George Mason University. “The fit is good.”

JBG Smith isn’t commenting on Amazon, though in recent months it has hired a public relations agency to respond to HQ2 queries. In its latest investor filing, it said, “Our focus is to put our best foot forward, expect nothing and hope for the best.”

JBG Smith has big plans for Crystal City and has already signed Alamo Drafthouse, the movie theater chain, to anchor a new retail district. It’s working with the local government to convert a highway that bisects the area into a more pleasant, tree-lined boulevard.

“Some of the dreaming that is going on is just waiting for an accelerant, and that’s what I think Amazon would be,” Dr. Fuller said.

Among some in the region’s real estate crowd, it has become almost a joke that Mr. Bezos should buy JBG Smith outright.

“If you are an opportunist, it looks like this would be of interest,” Dr. Fuller said. “And clearly Amazon has been opportunistic in their whole history.”

Amazon may not have the patience and trust that Northern Virginia can be transformed, especially when Washington already is so rich, right across the Potomac.

“The District has magnificent neighborhoods and magnificent urbanity,” Professor Florida said.

Like everyone who guesses where HQ2 may land, he added a big caveat. “I’m not in Jeff Bezos’ mind,” he said.


Link Of NEWS

About adminsharje

Check Also

Sick, hungry Indonesia tsunami survivors cram shelters

Spread the love Carita (Indonesia) (AFP) – Desperately-needed aid flowed into a stretch of Indonesia’s …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *