Metro’s chief has until Oct. 19 to prepare a proposal and convince Amazon officials that building a second headquarters on transit-owned and adjacent property would benefit the 50,000 new employees.
“We have a fantastic system. We’re moving a million passengers a day in the total system,” General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Thursday, Sept. 28. “Clearly we have one of the best systems in the country. That will be the pitch. I think we are a plus-plus in the proposal and we just have tremendous opportunities in the region.”
One requirement from the online giant based in Seattle stems from at least 100 acres of land available, or enough acreage to accommodate eight million square feet of office space by 2027. Metro doesn’t have that.
Officials with the second busiest transit agency nationwide can pitch how 15 sites are anchored by Metrorail and Metrobus lots, one of Amazon’s prerequisites.
Because the transit agency has property in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, the bid would be coordinated with officials from those respective jurisdictions.
The agency has financial concerns, such as the review of next year’s fiscal budget later this month.
Amazon officials labeled the project “Amazon HQ2” and have invested $5 million in construction. The proposal seeks to construct another site in regions with more than one million people.
According to the company’s request for proposal document, some of the other requirements are:
- A stable and business-friendly environment;
- Within 45 minutes of an international airport; and
- No more than two miles from a major highway.
Metro will face plenty of nationwide competition such as Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert announced last month he wants to entice the second Amazon operation in Detroit. According to various media report, the billionaire who founded Quicken Loans will work with officials across the river in Windsor, Canada.
Locally, officials in Prince George’s County are pushing for three sits in College Park, New Carrollton and Greenbelt to bring in Amazon.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has said he supports a second headquarters to Port Covington in Baltimore.
The nonprofit research and public policy outfit Brookings Institute looked at which metropolitan areas would fit into Amazon’s second headquarters.
For instance, Houston and Dallas have the land, but less developed transit systems.
The District, Boston and New York City have transit systems that could accompany employees. However, associated with a high-cost living.
Meanwhile, Metro officials are optimistic about how Amazon would not only boost the agency, but the entire D.C. region.
“This is a unique opportunity for Metro to contribute to the Washington region’s efforts to secure the new Amazon HQ2 as well as recruit a new major employer at a Metro station,” stated a resolution approved by the board of directors Sept. 28. “Amazon HQ2 would be a significant contributor to Metro’s ridership and its overall financial sustainability.”
Wiedefeld would have to present a proposed site plan and get the board’s approval prior to submitting an application to Amazon.