WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Amazon.com made the second planned headquarters in northern Virginia clean-tested on Saturday when local officials approved a proposed financial package worth an estimated $ 51 million against a small but vocal opposition.
People moving around in front of the roost before news conference about the announcement that Crystal City has been chosen as the home of the new Amazon headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, USA, November 13, 2018. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
Amazon in the month National Landing, a site jointly owned by Arlington County and the city of Alexandria, chose just outside Washington, along with New York City for its HQ2 or second headquarters. This followed a year-long search where hundreds of municipalities, between Newark, New Jersey and Indianapolis, competed for the tax sales and high-paid jobs promised by the project.
Amazon destroyed in February plans to build part of its second headquarters in the borough of Queen New York after local leaders oppose incentives promised by state and city politicians.
Arlington County Board voted 5-0 in favor of Amazon receiving the financial package following a seven-hour meeting held in a room filled with up to 150 citizens and representatives from local trade unions and advocacy groups. minorities.
There was a strong opposition from some residents and labor groups, some of whom added “shame” and woven signals to slogans, including “Do not reverse with Robinhood,” “Amazon makes too much work and under-finding, ”And“ Advocate us and not Amazon. “The escort was accompanied only by the police.
A few people asserted protests outside the county's office, “The united people will never break.”
Danny Candejas, the coalition organizer “For Us, Not Amazon,” who opposes the company's move into the area said: “We are fighting to ensure that wealthy people are not pricing people who live here.”
Some supporters in the sign kept up signals saying 'yes'; and Amazon is the main thing for Arlington.
One hundred and twelve people were registered to speak, an unusually high number in a local county meeting, with the chairman of the board who forced Christian Dorsey to cut the minutes of speech to two minutes, from three, to each regular speaker, and four minutes, from five, representatives of organizations.
Many speakers were opposed to Amazon's headquarters especially against direct incentives, citing the rising housing costs, likely displacement of low-income families, accelerated wage theft for construction workers, and a lack of guarantees. investment in affordable housing funds.
“Speculators are already progressing in house prices, landlords are rising rent and general contractors are raising their quotations for home improvement projects,” one person, Hunter Tamarro said.
Unions including the AFL-CIO challenged Amazon without a work agreement to sign projects with wages and benefits for workers hired to build the new buildings.
But supporters such as the resident of June Connell said that Amazon's presence would ensure that state funds were allocated to Arlington for investments in transport and higher education. “I want to get that money from the state,” said O'Connell. “Without Amazon, not a penny of.”
Holly Sullivan, Amazon's economic development pioneer, spoke and said the company will invest about $ 2.5 billion, creating more than 25,000 jobs with an average wage above $ 150,000 , which will generate more than $ 3.2 billion in tax revenue.
“As regards incentives, Amazon is only eligible for the financial incentive after we have made our investments and have office space in the community,” she said.
Dorsey, the chairman of the board, said before the vote that he hoped the measure would come forward. He said that Amazon would not solve the problems and concerns of the community, and that this was the first deal the county had to deal with when new revenue growth was used to fund it.
To be sure, the vote allowed an estimated $ 51 million, a fraction of the $ 481 million promised by the county. Only 5 percent of direct incentives. The state also offered the state an Amazon package that the Virginia General Assembly had approved without much opposition.
The $ 51 million direct financial incentive includes a controversial or cash grant of $ 23 million to Amazon over 15 years, which will be collected from taxes on Arlington hotel rooms. The grant is dependent on Amazon by occupying six million square feet of office space over the first 16 years.
In addition, Arlington offered to invest about $ 28 million over 10 years of property tax revenue in the on-site infrastructure and open space at the headquarters location.
Filing on the county board website says that the grant was $ 23 million and the $ 28 million in strategic public infrastructure investments “central in Amazon choosing Arlington for its headquarters.”
Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Edited by Richard Chang and Daniel Wallis