Virginia state and city governments are putting together a war chest to boost the state’s chances of landing Amazon’s HQ2 project, according to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The newspaper said Gov. Terry McAuliffe confirmed the effort a day after Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms talked publicly about it.
“With support from the McAuliffe administration and local and regional partners, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership is planning to engage multiple third-party firms to help prepare Virginia to effectively compete for large, high-quality corporate headquarters projects,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd P. Haymore, a director of the semi-independent state authority. “This thorough and strategic planning work will support a variety of current and future corporate headquarters recruitment projects, as well as other potential investment and job creating opportunities.”
The report said the organizations hoped to raise $1 million to engage McKinsey & Co., a New York consulting firm, to help assess the strengths and weaknesses of Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Tidewater and Hampton Roads areas in competing for the project.
Amazon started a virtual land rush Sept. 7 when it announced that it was seeking a site for a second headquarters, to complement its current Seattle site. The company said it is looking for a city with a diverse and well-educated workforce with a population of more than 1 million, a nearby international airport, a public transit system and affordable housing.
Northern Virginia appears to fill the bill and is already the site of a major Amazon data center. Three Amazon warehouse and fulfillment centers facilities are located elsewhere in the state. It has also been noted by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post and is buying a home in D.C.
Fairfax County was quick to express interest in the prospect when the competition was announced earlier this month.
“Fairfax County would love to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters. In our community they would find a well-educated, talented and motivated workforce, and an outstanding quality of life,” said Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in a statement to FairfaxNews.