ACFD Black History Month Tweets — The Arlington County Fire Department has been recounting the history of black firefighters in Arlington in commemoration of Black History Month. There were several African-American volunteer fire departments in the county during the first half of the 20th century, serving neighborhoods like Hall’s Hill and “Hell’s Bottom,” which was cleared to make way for the Pentagon during World War II. [Twitter, Twitter]
ARLnow Wins ‘Amazon Thirsty Thursday’ Recognition — Our scoop that an internal Amazon website devoted to its “HQ2” search steered thousands of visits to a two-month-old ARLnow article, has earned us the distinction of being named the “winner” of Washingtonian’s “Amazon Thirsty Thursday” weekly feature. Our article pointing out that Amazon has an office in Arlington was apparently the icing on the thirsty cake. [Washingtonian]
Arlington Among Top Places for Women in Tech — Arlington is tied with St. Paul, Minnesota as the No. 6 best place in the U.S. for women in tech. The District ranks No. 1. [WTOP]
Shamrock Shake Sighting — The Shamrock Shake is back at McDonald’s. We spotted it on the menu at a Lee Highway McD’s yesterday. Some locations have gotten the shake, a harbinger of spring, earlier than others, according to social media reports. [Fox News, Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Hype has been building over Amazon eying Arlington as a potential destination for its second headquarters, but many may be unaware that the online giant already has offices in the county.
The D.C. region already has a number of Amazon offices and facilities, including a 50,000 square foot office at 4250 N. Fairfax Drive in Ballston.
Amazon did not respond to requests for more information about the office, but job listings for the Ballston office include titles like “Event Marketing Manager,” “Partner Development Representative” and “Business Development, DoD.”
Other property leased or owned by Amazon in the region includes a small D.C. headquarters a block away from Union Station and a planned two million square foot data center, reportedly either in Virginia’s Loudon or Prince William counties.
Northern Virginia is a significant data center hub for Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing arm. Data Center Frontier reported the following in November 2017:
Amazon Web Services is believed to operate at least nine data centers in Sterling and nine in Ashburn (with two more under construction) as well seven in Manassas. The company also has two data facilities in Chantilly, and one in Haymarket in Prince William County.
Reston Now, ARLnow’s sister news site, reported last June that Amazon was creating 1,500 jobs in Herndon, Va. at a new “East Coast corporate campus.” Amazon fulfillment centers, meanwhile, employ thousands across the region, including warehouses in Springfield, Va., Rockville, Md., and Baltimore.
The Washington metro region as a whole is gunning for the $685 billion dollar company, but few details have emerged regarding the incentive packages that local governments have crafted to lure Amazon to their jurisdictions.
Arlington County Board Chairman Katie Cristol promised eventual transparency on Arlington’s incentive package in January at a “Meet the Chair” event, according to the Sun Gazette.
Crystal City (in combination with Potomac Yard) is considered strong contender for the Amazon’s new second headquarters, primarily due to the large expanse of undeveloped land, contiguous office space and proximity to Reagan National Airport, D.C. and the Blue and Yellow Metro lines. Rosslyn is also in contention for “HQ2,” as are sites in Alexandria, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, Montgomery County, Md. and the District.
Eagle-eyed readers of this site may have noticed something odd in this past Friday’s weekend discussion post: namely, the inclusion of an article from December among the most-viewed stories of the week.
We also found that unusual, so we did a bit of digging. It turns out, there have been more than 6,000 views of the article, “County Wins Top Environmental Award from U.S. Green Building Council,” over the past week.
Here’s an excerpt:
Arlington County is the first community in the country to win a top award for its environmentally-friendly policies from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The county was named a Platinum level community by USGBC under its new LEED for Communities program.
USGBC said the certification recognizes the county’s creation of a “sustainable and resilient urban environment that has long-proven success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, managing stormwater, ensuring economic prosperity and focusing on education, affordable housing, health and safety for residents and businesses.”
So from where is all this newfound interest in Arlington County’s sustainability bonafides coming? From Amazon.com, it seems.
The vast majority of the traffic to the page over the past week that can be tracked came from what appears to be an internal Amazon.com page devoted to its HQ2 search. Arlington, of course, is in the running as one of the potential landing spots for the company’s second headquarters.
Below is a chart showing traffic to the page, via Google Analytics.
No other page on ARLnow.com has a similar level of traffic coming from Amazon.
Last week a noted NYU professor who has written about the company opined that New York City and the D.C. area are among the most likely finalists for HQ2, due to a combination of being destinations for talented workers and being places that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos likes to frequent.
The company announced last week that Northern Virginia — including Arlington alongside Alexandria, Loudoun and Fairfax Counties — has made its short-list of 20 finalists from 238 separate proposals from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
And while the county is keeping details of its bid close to the vest — like many others in the running — there have been rumblings that both Crystal City and Rosslyn have been floated as good locations for Amazon’s so-called “HQ2.”
Arlington County Board chair Katie Cristol promised to release details of the county’s bid, win or lose, once the process is over.
On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we discussed the county’s bid for Amazon as well as other topics like the office vacancy rate, the shrinking influence of the federal government and also the future of arts in the county, with Arlington Economic Development director Victor Hoskins.
Rosslyn Vying for Amazon HQ2 — Rosslyn is being pitched as a possible destination for Amazon’s second headquarters, alongside Crystal City and other Northern Virginia locales. Rosslyn’s main downside is a lack of space for Amazon’s growth ambitions, but the neighborhood does have a sizable office development pipeline, close proximity to Georgetown and D.C., monumental views and numerous transit options. [Washington Business Journal]
Metro Approves Service Guarantee — “Metro’s Board of Directors today approved the Rush Hour Promise program, a first-of-its-kind service guarantee for Metro customers. Beginning with tomorrow morning’s rush hour commute, on Friday, January 26, if a Metrorail or Metrobus customer using a registered SmarTrip card is delayed by 15 minutes or more, Metro will credit the customer’s SmarTrip card for future travel.” [WMATA]
Fire in Cherrydale — Arlington County firefighters extinguished a chimney fire in the Cherrydale neighborhood last night. The fire did not spread and no one was hurt. [Twitter]
Nominations for Park Volunteer Award — Nominations are being accepted through Friday, Feb. 2 for Arlington’s Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Award. The award “was established to pay tribute to lifelong parks volunteer Bill Thomas and to honor and encourage those residents who also demonstrate a passionate dedication and support for [Arlington parks] programs, natural resources and public open spaces.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Map Tracks Water Main Breaks — A new map created by Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services shows the location of the dozens of water main breaks in Arlington County since Nov. 1. “It has been a particularly brutal winter season in Arlington,” DES said via Twitter. [Google Maps]
Local History Archives Closing Temporarily — “Beginning February 1, the Center for Local History’s off-site Community Archives, located at the Woodmont Community Center, will temporarily close for a renovation project.” The archives are not open to the public but are available to researchers on a by-request basis. [Arlington County]
County to Release Amazon Bid Details — Win or lose, after Amazon’s HQ2 process concludes Arlington County plans to release details of its bid for the tech and online retail giant. Arlington is now among those in the Top 20 for the second corporate headquarters. [InsideNova]
Fake ID Stat from ACPD — Bouncers caught 703 fake IDs in Clarendon last year, according to stats from the Arlington County Police Department. Extra vigilance from establishments like Don Tito and Whitlow’s helps “maintain Clarendon has a safe place to enjoy nightlife and entertainment,” says ACPD. [Twitter]
Nearby: DCA Noise Case in Federal Court — “The three-year battle between residents in Northwest Washington and the Federal Aviation Administration over noise from flights at Reagan National Airport is now in the hands of a federal appeals court… A ruling, which could take several months, will be closely watched by communities across the country grappling with similar issues tied to the FAA’s efforts to modernize the nation’s air traffic system.” [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
More Stuff Coming to Ballston — Even more hip food-and-drink spots are on the way for Ballston. A 3,000 square foot Union Kitchen Grocery store is coming to the ground floor of the revamped Ballston Quarter mall, at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, while a Compass Coffee cafe will also be opening in the mall. [Washington Business Journal]
Wheels Stolen Off the Lot at Dealership — Someone stole tires from three vehicles parked in the lot of a car dealership on Lee Highway just after midnight Wednesday. “An unknown suspect(s) removed the tires from and tampered with multiple vehicles in the parking lot of a business,” police said in a crime report. There is no suspect description and no surveillance footage, we’re told. There is a Toyota dealership on the 4000 block of Lee Highway, where police said the crime occurred, but also a Honda dealership nearby. [Arlington County]
Garvey Confident About Amazon — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey is optimistic about Amazon coming to the area. “I think Amazon is very likely coming here,” she said at a Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce conference, shortly after it was announced that Northern Virginia, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland were among the top 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2. “We have got everything here.” [Washington Business Journal]
(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) Amazon has just revealed the top 20 finalists for its second headquarters, and the D.C. area figures in prominently.
Northern Virginia, D.C. and Montgomery County are all included in the list, below. Arlington is not explicitly mentioned but is included within “Northern Virginia,” a county spokeswoman confirmed to ARLnow.
“Amazon reviewed 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to host HQ2, the company’s second headquarters in North America,” the company said in a press release. “Today, Amazon announced it has chosen the following 20 metropolitan areas to move to the next phase of the process.”
The list of areas is below.
- Atlanta, GA
- Austin, TX
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Columbus, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Denver, CO
- Indianapolis, IN
- Los Angeles, CA
- Miami, FL
- Montgomery County, MD
- Nashville, TN
- Newark, NJ
- New York City, NY
- Northern Virginia, VA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Raleigh, NC
- Toronto, ON
- Washington D.C.
“We’re pleased that Arlington and our partners in Northern Virginia are being considered for Amazon HQ2” County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to showcase why Arlington’s excellent workforce, schools, transit options and proximity to the nation’s Capital make it an ideal location for innovative, field-leading businesses.”
In all, 238 communities in North America submitted proposals.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s office sent out a press release touting the top 20 selection Thursday afternoon. An excerpt:
The Northern Virginia proposal included four sites for consideration in Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and Loudoun County. Northern Virginia is a region positioned at the cutting edge of innovation and technology, comprised of bustling mixed-use developments; 11 Fortune 500 companies; thousands of top technology firms; a top-five talent base; a hub of innovators, entrepreneurs and investors; diverse cultural amenities; and one of the friendliest business climates in the U.S.
“We couldn’t be prouder that Northern Virginia has been selected as one of 20 candidate locations for this historic project,” said Governor Northam. “The Commonwealth’s strong proposals for the Amazon HQ2 project represent an unprecedented level of local and regional collaboration, as well as strong support from Governor McAuliffe’s Administration and leaders in the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia’s outstanding business climate and world-class workforce make our Commonwealth the right place for Amazon to place this key base of operations. We look forward to a continuing partnership with our Northern Virginia communities to show Amazon and job creators all over the world that the Commonwealth is the best place to locate and grow.”
“This is an exciting time for Virginia,” said Victor Hoskins, Director of Arlington Economic Development. “The opportunity to showcase Northern Virginia’s incredible assets, from our top-notch workforce and unparalleled transportation access to our vast residential opportunities and proximity to the nation’s Capital, to Amazon’s top executives is truly a win for all of us, and it would be a win for all of us. We in Arlington look forward to working together with our Northern Virginia partners to demonstrate to Amazon that the Commonwealth is indeed the ideal location for HQ2.”
More from an Amazon press release, after the jump.
Arlington County and seemingly every other place in North America is competing to host Amazon’s second corporate headquarters. But while the odds seem long, Crystal City actually has a good shot at being one of the finalists in Amazon’s search.
The D.C. area is widely regarded as a likely contender for “HQ2,” but sources tell ARLnow.com that the District itself is unlikely to get the headquarters, in part due to high taxes, high real estate costs, a lack of available contiguous space that meets Amazon’s expectations and a lack of congressional representation.
That would leave the areas surrounding D.C. as contenders, and none has the available space and is more accessible to downtown, transit and an airport than Crystal City.
Specifically, commercial real estate sources tell us, Crystal City and Potomac Yard are, in combination, regarded by many as the region’s best chance at landing HQ2. Among the advantages:
- Available contiguous office space and developable land, thanks to BRAC and the development of Potomac Yard.
- Only having to deal with one primary property owner, JBG Smith, which owns much of Crystal City and Potomac Yard. (The company did submit a bid, the Washington Business Journal confirmed this week.)
- Proximity to Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines.
- Close proximity to a major airport, Reagan National.
- An urban “downtown”-like setting with restaurants, hotels, shopping and other amenities within walking distance.
- Congressional representation.
- Low state taxes.
As outlined by Washingtonian, Crystal City also comes with all of the benefits of the D.C. region: ample tech talent and universities nearby, proximity to the federal government, and an easy drive for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos from his new Kalorama mansion. It also comes with some of the negatives: higher real estate costs than smaller cities, high cost of living for workers and thus higher salary costs.
Fresh off of its big win in attracting Nestle’s U.S. headquarters, Rosslyn has also tossed its hat into the HQ2 ring, sources tell us. Rosslyn has many of Crystal City’s pluses but, we’re told, lacks developable space and would be tight quarters for the online giant.
Arlington Economic Development, meanwhile, is keeping its pitch to Amazon close to the vest, publicly revealing few details. Likewise Angela Fox, CEO of the Crystal City Business Improvement District, declined to comment for this article.
Making the Case for Amazon in Crystal City — Amazon’s planned second headquarters would find a good home in Crystal City, according to Washingtonian magazine writer Dan Reed. He said the combination of a major airport close by, good transit links from Metro and the fact that it remains “underutilized” after Base Realignment and Closure makes it an attractive option. Reed also suggested Poplar Point on the Anacostia waterfront in D.C. or the Discovery District in College Park, Md. as other places that fit the bill. [Washingtonian]
More Than 40 Drone Flights Detected at Fort Myer — A study to detect unmanned aircraft found that 43 drone flights were picked up over Fort Myer over a 30-day period beginning in August. It is in the middle of a no-drone zone, with flights requiring specific permission from the Federal Aviation Administration. The report suggests the flights could have been from “well-intentioned” tourists at the nearby Arlington National Cemetery and other National Parks. [WTOP]
Leaf Collection Begins Next Week — “The Arlington County government’s vacuum-leaf-collection program is slated to begin November 13 and run through December 22. Each civic-association area is slated to get two passes during the cycle, with signs posted three to seven days before each pass, government officials said. Schedules also will be posted online. Residents wishing leaves to be vacuumed away should place them at the curb by the posted date, but avoid putting them under low-hanging wires or near parked cars.” [Inside NOVA]
APS to Slow Down Planning for Instructional Focus of New High School Seats — Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington School Board agreed to slow down the process of determining an instructional focus for the 500-600 new high school seats at the Education Center until a task force looking at the school’s strategic plan has finished its work. The plan had been for Superintendent Patrick Murphy to bring initial ideas for the site to the Board in December, but staff said slowing down would allow a “big-picture view of all high-school needs in the county.” [Inside NOVA]
Virginia Man Tried to Board Plane With Loaded Gun at Reagan National Airport — A Manassas man tried to board a plane at Reagan National Airport last Thursday with a loaded gun. The Transportation Security Administration detected the 9mm semi-automatic handgun during security checks, confiscated the firearm and cited the man on a weapons charge. It was loaded with seven bullets. [WJLA, WRC]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Badaro’s Big Plans — As we reported yesterday, a fast-casual Lebanese restaurant called Badaro is opening in the former NKD Pizza space in Virginia Square. According to Eater, restaurateur Jay Zein hopes to open the Badaro by December 1. “From there,” reports the website, “he says he’ll install a second location around Arlington, Virginia, by summer 2018 and ‘then expand beyond that.'” [Eater]
Fleet Elementary Time Capsule — Students, school administrators and county officials were on hand yesterday to fill a time capsule at the under-construction Alice West Fleet Elementary School, next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. [Twitter]
Roads Next in Line for Changes at DCA — With a $1 billion expansion project underway at Reagan National Airport, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is now looking at DCA’s network of roadways as the next thing in line for upgrades. [InsideNova]
Arlington Resident Climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro — Arlington resident Janene Corrado has climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Corrado’s fundraising quest started when her father was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2011. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Amazon Key Coming to D.C. Area — Amazon is planning to launch a service called Amazon Key that would electronically grant delivery drivers access to your home to securely deliver packages. The service “is exclusively for Prime members in select cities and surrounding areas,” including the D.C. area. [PoPville]
“I can tell you that yes, our proposal was submitted, but we’re not releasing any details of specific sites or anything due to competitiveness reasons,” an Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman said in response to an inquiry from ARLnow.com.
Generally speaking, there are two Metro-accessible corridors for Amazon to choose from in Arlington: the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and the Crystal City-Pentagon City corridor. In an informal poll asking where Amazon should build its new headquarters, readers gave a slight edge to the R-B corridor.
Amazon is expected to announce the winning city for its “HQ2” at some point in 2018.
— Jonathan O'Connell (@OConnellPostbiz) October 23, 2017
Arlington Pitching Brainpower to Amazon — Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins plans to emphasize Arlington’s highly-educated workforce — 70 percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher — in trying to woo Amazon’s new headquarters to the county. [Washington Business Journal]
Animal Control Called for Normal Raccoon — Someone called animal control to report a raccoon “acting strangely” on the 600 block of S. Carlin Springs Drive last week. An animal control officer responded and determined that “its behavior was normal.” [Twitter]
Snowblower Application Deadline Nearing — Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation loans out snowblowers to groups of residents, on the condition that they agree to clear sidewalks for neighbors in need, in front of bus stops, etc. The application deadline for this coming winter is Oct. 13. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Arlington VA
Amazon, the giant online retailer/streaming video producer/cloud services provider, is searching North America for a second headquarters, and Arlington says it is submitting a proposal to put the county in the running.
The new headquarters, according to Amazon, will bring up to 50,000 well-paying jobs and $5 billion in investment to whichever city the company chooses. In return, Amazon is seeking enough space to build up to 8 million square feet of office in a concentrated area, and tax breaks and other economic incentives.
The Crystal City area and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor fit the bill for many of the things Amazon is seeking, especially a talented workforce and transit connections, though the real estate is likely a bit more expensive than Amazon is hoping for.
Would you like to see Amazon come to one of those Arlington neighborhoods, with all the economic benefits that come with it, or would you prefer the company look elsewhere?
Online retail behemoth Amazon just announced that it is searching for a place to build a second headquarters, and Arlington officials say the county is tossing its hat in the ring.
Amazon is looking to build its “HQ2” in North America, in a metropolitan area with a population over 1 million and room to build up to 8 million square feet of transit-accessible office space in a pedestrian-friendly setting. The new headquarters is expected to come with $5 billion worth of investment and will create up to 50,000 jobs, with an average salary north of $100,000.
Other requirements include being within 30 miles of a population center and no more than 45 minutes away from an international airport.
Arlington, officials say, could fit the bill — and the county is planning to respond to Amazon’s request for proposals.
“Yes, we will be pursuing the opportunity,” said Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell, adding that it is “too early to say which specific locations would be under consideration.”
One potential option is Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood, which has a burgeoning tech scene and an existing plan to build up to 9.7 million square feet of office space, partially through the demolition of aging, vacant office buildings. It is also transit and highway accessible, within walking distance of Reagan National Airport and much of its office space is owned by one company.
Another option is Arlington’s millennial-heavy Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, along the Orange Line. Rosslyn recently scored Nestle’s U.S. headquarters and Ballston has been active in trying to attract tech companies and fill soon-to-be-vacated office space.
O’Donnell declined to say what Arlington’s pitch to Amazon will be, but the transit accessibility and skilled, young professional workforce is likely to be a selling point. Economic incentives and tax breaks from the county and the state will also undoubtedly be involved — Amazon has stated that will be a determining factor.
Competition for the new headquarters will be intense, as the winning jurisdiction will be instantly transformed into a formidable technology center. In the Washington region alone, D.C., Loudoun County and Prince George’s County have already indicated that they will also be pursuing Amazon.