November 15, 2019

Northern Virginia Is Keeping Amazon’s 25,000 Jobs, and Wants You to Know It

“Oh, yes, we are pleased,” she said. “It speaks to certainty that we know what we are doing and put a lot of planning and effort early on into it.”

From the beginning, Virginia officials said, their preparations differed sharply from those of other cities that applied to Amazon. Residents and others were generally welcoming, in contrast to the steady drumbeat of protests in New York.

For years, the region had planned and made improvements to roads, subways, trains and bike lanes to accommodate a major corporation like Amazon, Ms. Backmon said.

A bipartisan state board of legislative leaders that reviews major incentive deals had many hours of discussions on Amazon before an agreement was reached for the new campus, said Stephen Moret, who runs the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

“The fact that that group exists and was so heavily engaged periodically throughout the 14 months was a major contributor for how well things have rolled out at the state level,” Mr. Moret said in a recent interview. He said Arlington and Alexandria officials had been briefed about Amazon in closed sessions multiple times as well.

Late last month, the Virginia legislature overwhelmingly passed a $750 million incentive package for Amazon, which the governor signed into law. It provides Amazon with $550 million in grants for the first 25,000 jobs it creates, and $200 million more for creating 12,850 additional jobs in subsequent years.

Officials in Nashville, which landed a smaller development project from Amazon, with about 5,000 jobs, also drew distinctions between their approach and New York’s. The city and Tennessee offered a combined $102 million in tax incentives, significantly less per job than New York’s multibillion-dollar promise. And Nashville’s offer didn’t come with some of the attention-grabbing perks that New York’s did.

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