Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III made a pitch Tuesday for online retail giant Amazon to build a second headquarters in his jurisdiction.
Several reasons for the majority-Black jurisdiction of more than 900,000: three sites are close to major highways and Metro stations; an educated workforce; and major colleges such as the University of Maryland in College Park and Bowie State University.
“We think that Prince George’s County has the best opportunity to [bring] exactly what Amazon wants,” he said at the county’s Economic Development Corp. office in Largo.
One of the sites in College Park which would construct eight million square feet on nearly 129 acres near the University of Maryland.
According to a proposed map, the Amazon headquarters could be built in College Park and land further north in Greenbelt, the same property county pushed to construct a new FBI headquarters. Both parcels adjoin the Green Line Metro tracks.
The final tract in New Carrollton would accommodate 10 million square feet on at least 300 acres near the New Carrollton Metro station.
Amazon, based in Seattle, labeled the project “Amazon HQ2.” According to a brief description on its website, the operation would bring up to 50,000 jobs and invest $5 million in construction.
David Iannucci, the county’s Amazon project leader, said the most important factor for Amazon’s decision to choose a site would stem on finding quality workers.
A document from the county’s Workforce Development Board (https://www.dllr.state.md.us/wdplan/wioaprincegeorgesplan.pdf) shows the annual salary for workers employed in the county is $57,044, nearly $7,000 more than the state average.
“The message that we are sending is Prince George’s County can compete for Amazon,” said Iannucci, a senior economic development advisor for Baker, who added the county may contend with 500 other proposals due next month.
The county’s plan comes four days after Gov. Larry Hogan publicly spoke Friday in favor of bringing Amazon to Port Covington in Baltimore.
“This could be transformative,” Hogan said in a Facebook post. “Not just for Baltimore City but the whole state of Maryland.”
Former NAACP CEO and President Ben Jealous, who’s running for governor in the Democratic primary, said Hogan has slowed down the Purple Line light-rail project in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and cancelled the Red Line rail project in Baltimore.
“While he talks a good game now on Amazon, his policies have put Maryland at a disadvantage,” Jealous said in a statement. “The truth is Maryland would have a stronger chance at securing the Amazon project if Larry Hogan had the courage to make smart investments in every region of our state.”
Baker, who’s also running for governor, said he doesn’t mind the Amazon competition.
“We know there are a number of sites in Maryland that are going to compete for this,” he said. “We think that is good and that is healthy. What we say for our sites is we are in the Washington region. We think it offers the best chance.”