Amazon: Close, But No Cigar

    The decision has been signaled in national media accounts for the past couple of weeks, but Amazon made it official Tuesday morning: The Internet giant announced that it is splitting its proposed second new headquarters between the Crystal City neighborhood in Arlington, Va., and the Long Island City neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens.

    “We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said in a statement. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”

    Maryland may have missed out on the Amazon sweepstakes, but the state could still see residual benefits.

    “Amazon’s investments in each new headquarters will spur the creation of tens of thousands of additional jobs in the surrounding communities,” the company said in its statement. “Hiring at both the new headquarters will begin in 2019.”

    As part of the deal, it appears as if Crystal City is being rebranded as National Landing.

    Maryland put together a lucrative incentive package to try to lure Amazon to Montgomery County. But the company suggested that incentives were only part of the decision. “Economic incentives were one factor in our decision—but attracting top talent was the leading driver,” the company said in its statement, which includes links to the company’s full agreements with each jurisdiction.

    In related statements, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Arlington County Board Chairwoman Katie Cristol (D) touted the county and region’s highly educated workforce, superior public schools, transportation infrastructure and civic engagement — traits found in Montgomery County as well. It will be interesting to see what Virginia offered that Maryland didn’t.

    Click here to read Amazon’s full statement.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.