In November, Amazon announced that it would award two cities (Crystal City, VA and New York) with 25,000 jobs (each) and $5.0 Billion in capital investment as a part of it’s highly coveted year long “HQ2 Competition”.
From the very beginning Amazon was welcomed with “open arms” by the political and business leaders in Virginia and Crystal City, just outside Washington, DC. But the reception in New York City was anything but warm. Before 24 hours had passed, New York elected officials were challenging the wisdom of a $3.0 Billion incentive package being offered by New York City and state, as well decrying that Amazon’s move to NYC would exacerbate an already difficult affordable housing situation.
Amazon’s decision to move to Crystal City “will put Arlington County at the epicenter of e-commerce [globally]” according to leading Economist Anirban Basu. Apparently officials in Virginia agree. Since the November HQ2 announcement, local officials in Virginia have been busy fast tracking approvals to get their 25,000 Amazon employees into buildings and new affordable housing projects in close proximity are being approved at a rapid pace. Meanwhile Amazon is bogged down in getting even simple approvals for it’s New York location through.
Sherman Ragland, CCIM, Dean of the Realinvestors®️ Academy and leading real estate strategist believes that Amazon will soon cancel the move to New York City in favor of moving 25,000 jobs to Baltimore. According to Ragland, “The state of Maryland has been in the hunt for Amazon since the start of the HQ2 competition. Last year, the Maryland Legislature approved $8.5 Billion in incentives to attract Amazon, at the request of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. That’s more than double the amount offered by New York. That money is still legally available to Amazon should they choose to cancel their move the New York and pick Baltimore, Maryland”.
Ragland went on to say, “More importantly, the original decision to split HQ2 into two locations was because of Amazon’s desire to have a location that could support both the growth of their Amazon Web Services (and related) business, as well as the need to be near the creative talent that will be required to make Amazon Prime Video and game streaming viable competitors to NETFLIX and Apple’s new streaming service. With major entertainment players like Viacom, Sirius XM Radio and (soon) Discovery Channel being based in New York, it made sense for Amazon to strategically locate some senior level jobs in New York. However, Baltimore City offers Amazon an opportunity to capture some of the same creative class talent needed to dominate the (quickly) emerging online entertainment world. Maryland and Baltimore have proven to be reliable partners for the entertainment industry with a strong track record hosting such block busters as Homicide, The Wire and House of Cards.”
According to Ragland, “Amazon can not only garnish the talent it was looking for in New York by choosing Baltimore, it can also (still) capture $8.5 Billion in incentives put on the table by the State of Maryland last year. More importantly, it can be up and running in less time than it will take to navigate the gridlock it currently faces in opening up offices in New York.”
Ragland shared, “Amazon now finds itself in the position of having to choose to either continue to fight an uphill battle with the New York political leadership who appear to be adamantly opposed to Amazon having a presence in New York City. Or, getting similar talent, albeit at a more competitive price, in Baltimore and picking up $8.5 Billion in financial incentives from the State of Maryland. It’s really not a hard decision to make, but Amazon better move quickly before the citizens of Maryland change their minds too.”
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