NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The new MGM National Harbor, a massive $1.4 billion Maryland resort that has provided a boost to the local economy, played host to an economic forum Wednesday that featured some of the region’s top leaders.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland gathered to discuss a range of topics including infrastructure, transportation and economic development.
One area of particular interest was the idea of luring Amazon to the region as the company looks for a location for its second headquarters.
“I think our region will be at the top of the list,” said McAuliffe, pointing to the area’s educated workforce, airports and Metro system. “We have all the assets that Amazon would be looking for.”
Cities and states around the country are preparing to bid in hopes of landing the company’s facility and the estimated 50,000 jobs it would bring.
Cardin said Gov. Larry Hogan has made the matter a priority.
“He is working with our federal delegation to make us as competitive as possible,” the senator said. “We need to make sure that companies understand that this is a region friendly for business.”
And Bowser said the District is putting together a “very aggressive” pitch.
“I asked my deputy mayor immediately to reach out to our surrounding jurisdictions to see what they were thinking,” said Bowser.
This comes as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is expected to vote on a plan to offer Metro development sites as part of the region’s bid.
Metro will not make any pitches itself directly to Amazon but instead would offer to negotiate deals to include its development sites in any proposals area developers come up with.
If the board votes in favor, General Manager Paul Wiedefeld would be able to negotiate inclusion of Metro property in any headquarters solicitation.
Among criteria in Amazon’s request for proposals is the need for approximately 100 acres of certified or pad-ready space, or infill sites that could accommodate 8 million square feet of office space by 2027.
While Metro itself does not own 100 acres of shovel-ready land, it does have several joint development sites that could be included as part of a land assemblage with others to meet Amazon’s build-out requirements.