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Baker: Prince George’s will bid for Amazon — with or without Md. backing

LARGO — Prince George’s County officials say they are prepared to go it alone in their attempt to secure Amazon’s proposed second corporate headquarters.

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Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and Senior Economic Development Adviser David Iannucci Tuesday describe Prince George’s County’s plans to compete for Amazon’s second headquarters. (Bryan P. Sears)

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced last week that he and his administration would put its muscle behind a proposal to try to entice the online retail giant to Port Covington. That announcement came as jurisdictions around the state began to firm up their ideas and submit them to the state Department of Commerce.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and Senior Economic Development Advisor David Iannucci said Tuesday they believe their proposal, which includes as many as three sites, is the strongest in the state because of its proximity to three major airports, subways, colleges and universities and what Baker described as a “well-educated workforce.”

“I think everyone, every jurisdiction will offer some type of incentive, but I really think those are the driving factors,” Baker said.

“We know they’re going to look in urban areas. We’re in the Washington region,” Baker said. “We think it offers the best chance.”

Baker appealed to Hogan to throw his support behind more than one site. The county executive said Hogan should follow his lead when the county was vying to be the home to the new FBI headquarters.

“We had two sites, and we supported both of them,” Baker said.

“We think the governor should do that with these sites,” Baker said. “This is a big win and we can get it for the state of Maryland.”

Baker added that “the Baltimore site is a good site. We think it should be promoted and it should be out there and given the opportunity to compete in the Baltimore region and Baltimore area.”

A number of Maryland jurisdictions have expressed interest in the online retail giant and that company’s desire to build what it calls HQ2, which could bring as many as 50,000 jobs.

Sites on Baker’s list in Prince George’s County include:

  • More than 8 million square feet of buildable space on nearly 129 acres of land in College Park.
  • A second site in Greenbelt that could be part of the first site proposal that would add 6 million more square feet on 100 additional acres near the Greenbelt Metro Station.
  • A third site with 10 million buildable square feet on 300 acres in New Carrollton.

“This would not be unlike what we did for FBI or MGM in terms of the types of incentives,” Baker said.

“We’re a big county, we’re used to promoting ourselves. That’s how we got MGM here. That’s how we’re building a hospital. That’s how we’ve gone to leading the state in job creation,” Baker said. “If we had to simply wait on the state to do that, we’d be where we were seven years ago.”

Iannucci said Tuesday he expected Amazon will have 500 sites from “hundreds of cities” from which to choose.

“We’re selling Prince George’s County,” Iannucci said.

He  said he expects that the state Department of Commerce would sift through proposals from around the state and pick the best one or two to showcase to Amazon.

“We’ll work through the council of governments and make sure Amazon sees this on our own just in case,” Iannucci said. “But these things, from an incentive standpoint, they have to be state driven.”

But Iannucci said that if the state doesn’t pick Prince George’s County as a leading contender, county officials will go around state officials and offer their proposals directly to Amazon.

“We’re trying to get Amazon’s attention, we want Amazon’s attention,” Iannucci said. “If Amazon says they’re interested then I have confidence the state of Maryland will support us.”

Last week, Hogan said he favored the Port Covington site and that his administration would lead an effort to bring Amazon to Baltimore.

“As for the governor and the sites in Baltimore, we know there are a number of sites in Maryland that are going to compete for this,” Baker said. “This is a big prize. We think that’s good and that’s healthy. We certainly, at the end of the day, want to see this in Maryland. We’re saying, and what we hope the governor is really saying, is there are great sites throughout Maryland and as the governor he would support those sites.”

Hogan said, however that, he would support any effort to bring the company to Maryland but said he believed the Baltimore site was best suited for the project.

That support to other jurisdictions could include workforce and tax credit incentive data.

“The governor believes Port Covington is a tremendous site, and the state will be supporting efforts to bring the Amazon HQ2 to Baltimore City,” said Amelia Chasse, a spokesperson for Hogan. “As the governor has said, he would welcome Amazon to any location within Maryland, and the state and the Department of Commerce will work hard on behalf of any jurisdiction submitting a proposal.”

 

 


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