Welcome to the Amazon

By Maxwell Miracle, Copy Editor

After searching the nation for a new administrative center to complement their Seattle facility, Amazon is poised to deliver two additional corporate headquarters to New York’s Long Island City and Northern Virginia. Virginia’s new “HQ2” will be built less than nine miles away in Crystal City, a municipality of Arlington. While the commercial benefits of Amazon’s move are likely to elevate Northern Virginia’s economic prosperity, some have expressed concern regarding possible effects on traffic and housing that could shape the region for decades to come.

To staff their new Virginia facility, Amazon has pledged to directly create 25,000 jobs with an average yearly salary of $150,000. Roughly half of these jobs will be in technology-related fields such as software development and data analysis. While Northern Virginia already contains a large concentration of technologically skilled workers — one of the reasons it was selected for HQ2 — these jobs will likely create an influx of new residents.

An increase in well-paid, well-educated inhabitants has the potential to infuse the region with wealth and drive economic expansion. “All the new Amazon workers will need to buy food and clothes and electronics just like everybody else,” said Peter Buddendeck (10). “This will support and grow local businesses, which will open up new jobs in the area.” According to a report by the Virginia Chamber Foundation, Amazon’s move will generate approximately $14.2 billion in economic activity, $1.83 billion in state tax revenue, and 59,000 new jobs in the next 12 years.

Some native Virginians express worry about the potential repercussions of a population boom. New residents would spark an increased demand for housing, driving up the cost to purchase or rent homes with close proximity to HQ2. This trend would likely benefit homeowners who could see their real estate valuations rise. However, it could negatively affect renters, who could see their monthly rate climb as new arrivals chasing jobs flood the market. “An increase in housing prices might drive Falls Church students and their families out of the area,” said Ved Verma (12).

Others fear that the already gridlock-ridden nature of the D.C. metro area will be exacerbated by an increased number of commuters. Workers on their way to jobs directly or indirectly created by Amazon could further congest essential thoroughfares. “Even during regular weekdays, the Arlington area gets a lot of traffic,” said frequent driver Rojo Ramiandrisoa (12). “So they might need to divert some of this traffic onto roads in our area.”

As HQ2’s long-term effects remain uncertain, some students and faculty have cautious optimism regarding what it might bring to the region. “It’s like when an Amazon package shows up at my front door,” said Tommy Vu (10). “I’m excited but ready to be disappointed.”