TONIGHT (Tuesday, Nov. 20) at 7 pm
Pre-Legislative Session Public Hearing
City Council Chambers,
Alexandria City Hall
TONIGHT, please join me, and the other four members of the Alexandria Delegation to the General Assembly, for our annual pre-legislative-session public hearing.
This is a great opportunity to let your elected representatives know
what you want to see us fight for in Richmond!
Please note November's Mark's Monthly Meetup will be the Sunday after Thanksgiving, from 4-6 pm.
As the 2019 legislative session draws closer, I am beginning to make final decisions about what legislation I will introduce. Sunday will be your last chance to share with me any suggestions you have as to which 15 bills you would like to see me put forward in 2019.
As usual, feel free to arrive late or leave early in this informal session.
Hope to see you THIS SUNDAY at Los Tios in Del Ray!
Amazon is Coming to Town
A digital rendering of National Landing, the future site of Amazon's Northern Virginia headquarters.
As everyone in Northern Virginia with a pulse knows by now, Amazon has announced it will be splitting its new headquarters between Arlington/Alexandria and New York City. As the only Virginia Delegate to represent both Alexandria and Arlington, I've been watching developments closely. About two-thirds of the area that will soon be called National Landing will be located in the 45th district I'm honored to represent in the House of Delegates.
The same day Amazon announced its intention to build its headquarters in Crystal City (Arlington), Alexandria announced the creation of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in the city’s Oakville Triangle between Del Ray and Potomac Yard.
Proposed National Landing neighborhood,
including location of Virginia Tech's new Innovation Campus.
Amazon is expected to bring 25,000-40,000 new jobs to the region which will pay an average wage of about $150,000 each. Hundreds of millions of new dollars will be invested in local education, transportation, and affordable housing. Billions will be pumped into our economy: definitely a boon for local homeowners and businesses. Our economy will be more diversified, and more commercial properties means higher tax receipts for our localities.
At long last, the southern entrance to the new Potomac Yard Metro Station is expected to be built. I'm also looking forward to working with Amazon and local officials to connect the Arlington and Alexandria parts of my district with a beautiful pedestrian/bicycle bridge that links our two communities together and beautifies the Four Mile Run area that separates our sister cities. These are all very welcome new developments.
On the other hand, I also know that for many of my constituents, last week’s announcement brought anxiety over the prospect of rising housing prices and worsening traffic congestion. There is also concern over how much Arlington and Virginia paid Amazon to make this project a reality.
In sum, both groups – those who are excited and those who are anxious – have valid reasons to feel the way they do. I know that elected officials and community leaders at all levels will need to be deliberate and vigilant in working to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs that this big development brings to our community.
Proposed site of "National Landing" commercial areas outlined in red.
Amazon will make capital investments of no less than $2.5 billion in their move to Northern Virginia. The project is expected to result in more than $3.2 billion in new state revenues over the 20-year incentive term with Amazon, after accounting for direct company incentives. That $3.2 billion number does not account for likely increases in local property tax revenue.
Amazon will create at least 25,000 new jobs over the next 10-12 years with a minimum average salary of $150,000 (note: all wages in excess of $850,000 will NOT count towards the average), with potential to create a total of 38,000+ total jobs.
Because of the way the Commonwealth’s incentives plan is set up, state economic experts believe the deal will produce a more than six-to-one return on investment over the term of the performance agreement.
Government Incentive Payments
Arlington and Virginia will provide post-performance incentives to Amazon totaling no more than $750 million. Because payments will be provided only after the jobs are created ($22,000 per job for the first 25,000 qualifying new jobs; $15,564 per job through the next 12,850 jobs), the incentives will generate net positive revenue for Virginia from day one.
All funds agreed to be provided by Virginia or local governments must be appropriated through the regular appropriations process. We in the Virginia General Assembly will be voting on whether or not to fund the incentives outlined in the deal. So will the Arlington County Board and Alexandria’s City Council. Arlington and the Commonwealth of Virginia have signed Memorandums of Understanding with Amazon, promising to provide these incentives; Alexandria has not. Alexandria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Virginia Tech related to the new Innovation Campus.
Virginia Tech Innovation Campus/Investments in Higher Education
Virginia Tech Innovation Campus
The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus will deliver leading programs in computer science and software engineering for graduate and doctoral level students. Virginia Tech will provide a one-million square foot mixed-use campus with academic, residential, and commercial space for entrepreneurs and companies; and neighborhood-serving retail. Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth will be the main funders of the project. Alexandria has made no hard financial commitments to the project at this time but may provide them in the future. No residential properties are being displaced under this plan.
Excerpt from the Memorandum of Understanding
between the City of Alexandria and Virginia Tech
The Commonwealth of Virginia plans to invest up to $375 million for academic space and operational support over the next 20 years. The performance-based master’s-degree investments will be provided both to Virginia Tech for the new campus and to George Mason University for its Arlington campus. State financial support will be contingent upon the institutions raising philanthropic funds on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis for these investments.
In addition to these higher education investments, Virginia will work to create a public K-12 system that includes an integrated STEM and computer science curriculum for every student. Virginia will invest $25 million in the K-12 STEM and computer science for students and teachers over the next 20 years. The Commonwealth will also invest $25 million to expand tech internship opportunities for higher education students to better connect them to tech jobs over the next 20 years.
TRAFFIC AND HOUSING
The two concerns I hear most often from constituents regarding the Amazon deal relate to traffic and affordable housing. I'm pleased to report substantial direct commitments on both fronts.
Investing in Transportation
In transportation, the state will invest $195 million in improvements in the first phase of the project (the first phase = first 25,000 jobs created) and an additional $100 million if Amazon expands in the future.
The projects to be funded are:
- Additional entrances to Metro stations at Crystal City and the southern end of Potomac Yard;
- Improvements to U.S. Route 1, the major north-south artery through Crystal City;
- A pedestrian bridge connecting the Crystal City campus to neighboring Reagan Washington National Airport; and
- An expanded transit network for Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard.
Similarly, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria have already committed over $570 million to date for transportation projects in these areas, including rail connections, transit facilities, corridor connectivity, and multimodal capabilities to move cards, pedestrians, and bicyclists safely through the area.
I am committed to working with my fellow legislators and local stakeholders to make these investments in smart transportation infrastructure we so desperately need.
Investing in Affordable Housing
Arlington County and the City of Alexandria project annual investments of at least $15 million over the next decade (total: $150 million), resulting in the creation and preservation of 2,000 to 2,400 units in and around the Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Columbia Pike areas and through the City of Alexandria.
The Office of the Governor of Virginia has promised me $225 million in new money for affordable housing and an additional 3000 units or so.
My main priority is making sure we protect and expand affordable housing in the area and we do everything in our power to keep Alexandrians and Arlingtonians in their homes.
As founder of Virginia's Transparency Caucus, I will always let you know what I find out, as the different aspects of this massive project materialize. If you have specific questions I have not answered, let me know and I will do my best to get you answers.
I will be working to make sure that local residents get first consideration for Amazon's new jobs. I'm confident this will not be too difficult: our highly competent and knowledgeable workforce was largely what lured Amazon here in the first place.
I will also advocate for implementation of Project Labor Agreements on construction and infrastructure projects, preferably with union contracts that maximize quality work. I will insist we protect vital green and public space.
I won't be in this alone. Many decisions will be made by your Arlington and Alexandria local governments, by the Governor of Virginia, and by Amazon itself. But rest assured, I will always be at the table fighting for your needs.
Amazon is moving to Northern Virginia to join our community.
Not to remake us in its image.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION RESOURCES
- Arlington leaders have a Facebook Live town hall tonight, Nov. 20, at 6:30 pm
Alexandria leaders' Facebook Live town hall recorded on Nov. 19
Governor Northam's Site with Details on the Project
Alexandria's Site on the Project
Arlington County's Site on the Project
Arlington will be hosting a four-part Virtual Learning Series on Amazon (see link above):
Monday, Nov. 26 at 6:30 pm:
Economic Development and Planning
Thursday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 pm:
Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 6:30 pm:
Schools, Higher Education and Workforce
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm: Housing
- Monday, Nov. 26 at 6:30 pm:
- Arlington will be hosting a four-part Virtual Learning Series on Amazon (see link above):
Every Election Day,
whether Primary or General,
whether I'm running or not,
I visit every one of the 22 precincts
I am honored to represent in the 45th District.
whether I'm running or not,
I am honored to represent in the 45th District.
Agudas Achim with Alexandria City Councilwoman-elect Amy Jackson
Charles Houston, with a furry constituent
George Washington, with Alexandria City Councilman-Elect Mo Seifeldein
Ladrey, my home precinct!
Linden (Aurora Hills)
Shirlington, with Arlington County Board Member-Elect Matt de Ferranti's mom!
Please Join Me!
Alexandria Legislative Delegation
Pre-Session Public Hearing
Alexandria City Hall, City Council Chambers
301 King St., Alexandria
Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony
301 King St., Alexandria
Mark's Monthly Meetup
2615 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria
It is always my honor and privilege to serve you.
Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax in Virginia's 45th District