Arlington Board of Directors Approves $ 23 Million Incentive Package for Amazon Crystal City Central Establishment
This story is being updated.
The Arlington County Board unanimously approved an incentive package for Amazon of $ 23 million to build a headquarters in Crystal City on Saturday. The demonstration was repeatedly interrupted by protesters. Shame "and twice forced board members to flee the room for a moment.  The 5-0 vote was the final measure to provide local and state subsidies to the online retail giant as part of its much publicized plan to create at least 25,000 jobs over 12 years in the suburbs of Northern Virginia.
The vote took place at the end of a six-hour testimony and debate in which supporters praised the project's economic benefits during the campaign. Pents warned that an influx of high-paid workers would raise housing prices and displace low-income residents.
Many speakers carried signs, and some praised Amazon for promising to create jobs, and others who hailed it because of the opportunity to raise house prices and encourage gentrification.
Opponents had hoped to postpone the vote until further public hearings in which online retailers answered questions directly from everyone in the community.
Supporters argue for the value of jobs and the economy They expect it to be brought to the region and the region.
Later that day, Chief Executive Officer Christian Dorsey (D) had to interrupt the meeting after opponents demanded the right to ask questions to Amazon officials. A break of 15 minutes followed when they learned that they should not ask questions from corporate representatives. The opponents sang "shame, shame" and "ask hardball questions."
They had spent the last three hours witnessing with Amazon supporters, but they wanted a direct back and forth with company executives. Dorsey had previously asked the audience to respect the board's process and ask questions from the board. (Amazon founder and CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Not long after the board resumed the hearing, demonstrator Chris Otten was physically pushed out of the room and screamed. Right in front of the room he was held by police and security personnel on the floor. He was removed when he approached the board and shouted that a vote should not be allowed.
Charles Wagner, one of Amazon's supporters of argued that the company would "grow our economy, expand our tax base and diversify our economies away from the federal government."
June O & # 39; Connell, a 30-year-old resident, said Amazon's presence would ensure that Arlington receives state funds to improve traffic and investment in higher education.
"I want this money from the state," said O & Connell. "Without Amazon, we would not get a dime."
Opponents said that Amazon does not need or deserve public subsidies, that the arrival would displace low-income communities and that they did not deal well with the community
As Kinsey Fabrizio, a member of the Consumer Technology Association, contacted Amazon praised the community, the opponents of the Amazon community laughed loudly and pulled a charge from Dorsey. Inhabitants Ibby Han told the board that he supports Amazon, "They merely repeat the story of Virginia, preferring the elite primarily to the workers."
NAACP local and regional AFL-CIO officials rejected the online giant's unwillingness to sign a project labor contract with wages and security arrangements for workers involved in building the buildings in the Amazon.
"This demand has been voiced by virtually every elected official in Northern Virginia," said Virginia Diamond of Northern Virginia AFIA AFL-CIO.
Before the hearing opened, a few dozen demonstrators gathered on the steps of the administration building. A smaller number demonstrated in favor of the project.
Amazon claims are "Affordable Living, Not Amazon" and "Do not be the opposite of Robin Hood." The pendants bore stickers saying, "Amazon stands for Arlington," and carried a sign saying "Crystal City welcomes Amazon.
With so many people speaking out, Dorsey reduced the allowed time per speaker from the normal three minutes for individuals to two minutes and from the normal five minutes for representatives of organizations to four minutes.
In the four months since Arlington won a nationwide competition for the facility known as HQ2, residents of Arlington asked questions about their impact on their neighborhoods and community.
The district's five online Q & A sessions have been viewed 14,000 times and some 400 have visited the network's Unity events to discuss the terms of the Amazon Agreement. Board members and County employees also met with numerous civic organizations, served on several boards, and appeared on television, on the Internet, and in news articles to discuss the deal.
Both Amazon and the real estate company JBG, the main contractor of the project, have met with business groups, principals, 50 nonprofit groups and others. However, these sessions did not satisfy critics' demands for an open public meeting for those who had questions or criticisms.
Most Arlingtonians, Northern Virginians, and residents of the Washington area support the arrival of Amazon, as surveys have revealed. Business organizations, universities and nonprofit groups have spoken out strongly in favor of the deal.
A vocal group of activists has attempted to block the project, saying that the county and the Commonwealth should not provide incentives to one of the world's most valuable companies. They also demanded housing and occupational safety for existing residents.
These opponents – including left-wing organizations and immigrant groups – felt empowered after Amazon abandoned plans to build a New York City headquarters last month that also had 25,000 jobs. The company withdrew after criticizing the plan by a few elected leaders, unions and community activists.
According to the authorities, the net tax impact of the Amazon project on Arlington could be worth further efforts Revenues of $ 162 million over 12 years and $ 392.5 million over 16 years.
The incentive agreement promises that the world's largest online retailer will receive approximately $ 23 million in cash when it occupies 6,055 million square feet of office space in Crystal City and Pentagon City 2035.
The money would come from an expected Increase in hotel, motel and accommodation tax paid by visitors; Amazon would receive up to 15 percent of this growth, depending on how much of the company's land will be actively used by 2020 every year between 2020 and 2035.
Amazon's offices will be located in an existing special tax district where part of it is located. Property tax revenues are flowing into infrastructure improvements such as parks and wider sidewalks.
The incentive agreement states that from 2021, half of all new revenue from this district will be used specifically for improvements in the Amazon buildings over the next ten years. The grant has an estimated US $ 28 million, but the district says it's not a subsidy to Amazon, as the improvements benefit other companies in the immediate area. Amazon will have the opportunity to express its opinion on how the county uses the money, although the board will make the decision.
The County Amazon also offered the opportunity to use its fast fiber-optic network connection, which would be the subject of a separate agreement if the company decided to do so.
It is still unclear whether Amazon pays the local business tax This tax is only levied on certain types of business. Amazon has not announced which of its business units will be based in Arlington. If the company pays the license tax, some of its operations could be eligible for a rebate of up to 72 percent under an existing program designed to attract technology companies.
While Arlington spurred on the details, the Virginia General Assembly passed and Governor Ralph Northam (D) signed an incentive package for Amazon worth up to $ 750 million.