September 19, 2017
The Washington Business Journal
By: Karen Goff
Prince George’s County is offering up four options for Amazon’s HQ2, one of which would include land that was being considered for the FBI headquarters consolidation.
County economic officials have identified numerous sites in College Park, Greenbelt and New Carrollton as ideal fits for the retail giant’s $5 billion second headquarters. Amazon, in a request for proposals released Sept. 7, said its HQ2 would expand, eventually, to 8 million square feet and 50,000 well-paying jobs.
“Obviously, we still want the FBI,” David Iannucci, the county’s top economic official, told me. “Nothing has changed. But 50,000 is more than 11,000 [jobs the FBI would bring]. If the FBI chooses Greenbelt, obviously the Greenbelt option will be off the table.”
The acreage Prince George’s will pitch to Amazon is a combination of land owned by the University of Maryland, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and private entities. Iannucci said he has had productive conversations with various landowners about being in the mix, but Amazon would have to negotiate for and purchase the parcels.
The options have been submitted in response to the Maryland Department of Commerce’s fast-track request for Maryland jurisdictions to nominate sites for Amazon HQ2.
The Prince George’s proposal is expected to be among hundreds nationwidesubmitted to Amazon. Locally, the District, Alexandria and Montgomery, Arlington and Fairfax counties are all at least examining the prospect, while the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is looking at ways to promote the D.C. area as a region.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker said it is too soon to talk county and state incentives, but breaks would be “not unlike what we did for MGM or the FBI.”
Here’s where Prince George’s sees potential:
College Park, 128.5 acres: This includes 25 acres around the new Hotel at the University of Maryland, 25 acres at the American Center for Physics, and several parcels of 3.25 to 22.25 acres owned by the university outright or with joint venture partners, including Corporate Office Properties Trust (NYSE: COPT).
The College Park option would provide for the 8 million square feet Amazon is seeking to build, Iannucci said, while siting the retailing giant next to the state’s flagship university and its tech-savvy future workforce.
Greenbelt, roughly 200 acres: With the FBI, for now, off the table, Prince George’s is pitching 82 acres by the Greenbelt Metro station just southwest of I-95, 34 acres just east of I-95 and 73 acres in the Capital Office Park. The office park, acquired by Florida’s Morning Calm Management in December for $49 million, offers more than 800,000 square feet of developed office space, providing Amazon the 500,000 square feet it has requested for immediate occupancy — that is, by 2019.
Iannucci said he has had productive discussions with both Morning Calm and Renard Development, which has an option to acquire the WMATA-owned land at Greenbelt as part of its effort to land the FBI.
“Without the need for 350-foot security barriers, I think we can do 6 million square feet, plus or minus,” in Greenbelt, Iannucci said.
Garth Beall, Renard’s development manager, said the Greenbelt site has the advantage of already being entitled for GSA or commercial use.
“We could break ground in two months,” he said. “I don’t know if any other site could say that.”
College Park-Greenbelt combo, 300-plus acres: The county will also suggest combining the land around the Greenbelt Metro, one Metro stop away from College Park, with its College Park pitch. That would give Amazon the ability to build up to 14 million square feet between the two sites, if needed.
New Carrollton, 300-plus acres: County officials say 300 acres, made up of existing buildings, redevelopment sites and greenfield, could be amassed for Amazon in the area bounded by Route 50, Route 410, Route 450 and I-95 at the New Carrollton Metro station.
North of the station is land owned by Berman Enterprises. On the south side, Urban Atlantic owns land where Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic plans a 176,000-square-foot administrative and IT facility.
The New Carrollton option could accommodate 10 million square feet or more of development, county officials said.