In late February, Amazon’s choices for its second headquarters (HQ2) was whittled down to a list of twenty contenders across North America. Among these cities and locales included Maryland’s very own Montgomery County. Two other regions of the D.C. metropolitan area were represented in Amazon’s shortlist: the District itself as well as MoCo’s neighbor, northern Virginia.
“It’s really cool that Montgomery County made the list, especially since it’s not really as well known as some of the other cities that made the final cut,” Richard Montgomery High School sophomore Stephanie Wang said.
Other cities vying for hosting privileges include Toronto, New York City, Boston, Miami, and Dallas. Virtually all major cities throughout the US submitted initial proposals for review by Amazon.
The construction of a second headquarters would bring in an estimated $17 billion per year and $7.7 billion of wages per year to Maryland’s economy, according to the Baltimore Sun. The entire project would support more than 100,000 jobs in the area, whereas Amazon has indicated that it plans to hire 50,000 well-paid high-tech workers.
The vacant lot once housing White Flint mall is the most probable site of the headquarters, if Amazon were to select Montgomery County.
Not all advantages are quantifiable. An Amazon HQ2 in the White Flint mall would not only revitalize the local area but also draw in entrepreneurship and tech-savvy intellect to the area.
Faced with what many consider to be the greatest economic opportunity in years, Maryland politicians have been working to convince Amazon representatives that Montgomery County should play host to the Jeff Bezos’ conglomerate.
On April 4, the Maryland General Assembly approved of a massive $8.5 billion incentive package ($3.5 billion more than initially expected) to lure Amazon towards Montgomery County. Known as the Prime Act, the bill is currently the largest incentive package being offered by any of the finalist cities.
Roughly $6.5 billion will be directed towards state and local tax incentives and credits, and another $2 billion will be used for transit development. This bill, championed by the governor, will run its course to the governor’s desk, where Larry Hogan is expected to sign.
Many Marylanders were disappointed that Baltimore did not make the shortlist after vying for consideration, with the hopes that a project like HQ2 would bring serious and much-needed change and growth to the city.
The Amazon team paid a visit to all three local areas in early March. Visits and tours to the twenty shortlisted cities will spill over into April and beyond.
A guessing game continues among the parties involved-- Atlanta and Boston are crowd favorites to serve as host. However, many expectations rest upon the D.C. region as well.
Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is already closely affiliated with the D.C. region. He has a second home in the District, and, most prominently, is the owner of the Washington Post. D.C. is a frontrunner due to its proximity to lobbying organizations and the federal government as well as strong infrastructure and a functioning public transit system.
Rather than compete against D.C. or northern Virginia, Montgomery County stands to reap rewards if either of the three were selected. Even if HQ2 is positioned in northern Virginia or Washington D.C., Maryland will share some fringe benefits by virtue of physical and political closeness.
Amazon’s ultimate decision for its second headquarters is expected to arrive at the end of the year. Though the public continues to speculate, Amazon has not released much more additional information to the media in order to preserve the integrity of the process. Until then, our local officials will work on cultivating the county’s appeal to Jeff Bezos and his Amazon empire.
Written by Emily Tian
Photo Courtesy of Amazon
Published by PR Department