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Amazon’s job impact may not be immediate, but DC-area leaders are still excited

FILE- This Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, file photo shows a view of Crystal City, Va. On Tuesday, Nov. 13, Amazon said it will split its second headquarters between Long Island City in New York and Crystal City. Development along major highways in Northern Virginia and Washington have led to “unreasonable traffic delays on a daily basis” in the past few years, with drive times that used to take 40 minutes ballooning to up to 90 minutes, said Thomas Cooke, professor of business law at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON — While regional leaders are excited over Amazon bringing a new set of offices to the D.C. area, it does not mean workers will start swarming Crystal City and Pentagon City tomorrow.

“I don’t think Amazon’s going to impact the region all that much for a long time,” said Jack Evans, D.C. Council member and Metro Board chairman.

Crystal City has lots of empty office space after Base Realignment and Closure, and other shifts in recent years.

“The place is virtually empty,” Evans said. “Amazon is not going to bring 25,000 people immediately — they’re going to ratchet up to that — so I think it’ll be great for Crystal City because you’ll start to put more people in those buildings. But, as far as impacting the region, I don’t see it at all for a long time.”

Still, leaders at Metro and elsewhere in the region are only ramping up their tendencies to cite Amazon as a reason to support all kinds of improvements, some of which have been requested for years by people with less clout.

“With Amazon, I think this ’20 budget just has taken on a new level of significance as we start to ramp up and prepare for what’s coming to the region,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.

“The region’s changing around us very quickly, and transit’s going to play a large part in that, and we need to step to the plate for that,” he told the Metro Board Thursday.

Arlington County and Metro Board member Christian Dorsey echoed others in praising Metro fixes — those already done and those in the pipeline — as crucial to getting the deal done.

“Very much key to their choosing to come to our area was that we had demonstrated last year that this region could really deal with big problems, specifically Metro, and that same level of cooperation will be tested to figure out housing, to figure out broader transportation challenges,” Dorsey said.

He emphasized that Amazon is coming to his home county.

“Amazon is headquartering in Arlington, and this whole thing of National Landing, that’s actually not a thing other than something to describe the area … but they are planning on occupying the extant neighborhoods of Pentagon City and Crystal City, which are in Arlington,” Dorsey said.


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