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Press Release

Group: Approval of current Amazon proposal at Pen Place would be a raw deal

 The Arlington County Board will vote April 23 on Phase Two of Amazon’s new HQ2. While Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future (ASF) welcomes a new Amazon presence at PenPlace, we urge county leaders to strike a fair deal in this site plan review. As structured now, Arlington would trade world record bonus density — more buildable space — for unequal community benefits from Amazon. That bonus density is the size of 1.5 Chrysler Buildings (1.7 million ft2), yet we are being offered only a high school (26,500 ft2), child care center, a park, sustainability gains, and $30 million for affordable housing. The offer falls short $380 million to $1.1 billion of the value of that density. We trust the Board will fix that. 

Since February 2022, ASF has been asking county commissions to join us in seeking benefits to balance the deal. We are currently suggesting $413.1 million in amenities to include a new school/community center in Pentagon City, affordable housing and education grants, park improvements/tree fund, and transit projects to ease congestion near HQ2. ASF stands ready to support the Board to ensure that the PenPlace site plan: 

  • Delivers an additional $413.1 million in community benefits, 
  • Commits to deliver those community benefits with immediate effect, 
  • Awards bonus density in 4 tranches, conditioned on approval of construction 

permits for each building, 

  • Improves Arlington’s site planning processes to enable earlier community and better input from commissions. 

Going forward, it is vital that the county reveal to the public, as part of site plan negotiations for all development, the underlying dollar value of the benefits of the bonus density being awarded and the community benefits promised in return. It is the Board’s mandate to insist on such transparency. 

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