Killing Time in the Crystal City [National Landing]

Here is Amazon’s account of the deal.  I actually don’t feel this will ruin my life so much, not at 1/2x, or will that be .3x, or what?

And get this, on the new name for the area: “National Landing will have “no finite boundaries,” Landrum says.”  Here is further WaPo coverage.


Why Nashville? For healthcare?

I don't think it was driven by healthcare. It's more likely that Nashville was just a good central location for a regional operations center and would be substantially cheaper to operate than an office in Atlanta.

"Our Retail Operations division handles customer fulfillment, customer service, transportation, and supply chain, amongst others. The Operations Center of Excellence will be the Eastern U.S. regional hub for the tech and management functions of this division. "

Considering that UPS's and FedEx's main hubs are in Louisville and Memphis, I agree that geographic location is what Amazon was probably looking for with Nashville.

This should be a marginal win for you in DC. 25,000 more high-salary employees should mean at least a few dozen more delicious food establishments for you to blog about.

You know who else liked to rename cities?

The Soviets?


I wish there was some way to kill these incentives nationally. I've seen $1-1.5 billion reported this morning. Equal taxation under the law.

And it saves you those Foxconn style embarrassments.

It seems I am channeling none other than Mercatus!

Oh oh, when Mercatus and The Atlantic agree ..

Great for our slumlord rentals, more warm young bodies for DC, excellent. Rich get richer.

Nice scoop by WaPo economist reporter Heather Long, why indeed is Virginia only giving half of what NYC is giving? And the transportation incentives arguably are a public good, so it will benefit everybody. I guess VA could play "hardball" since Besos was intent on moving to DC anyway, so the NYC deal was the 'surprise' (my take).

Bonus trivia: "Crystal City" (or National Landing? now) used to be at the same level as the adjacent cities, but due to terrible road designs and wind dropping silt, its raised the roads so now the entire city is 30 feet higher than back in the 1960s. You sometimes get the opposite effect with farmland sinking due to water depletion but in cities, often due to wind erosion dropping sediment, it's the opposite effect (cities rise over time, and buildings are built over older structures, a ziggurat of sorts).

"Last year, the now Mayor-Elect of Alexandria, Justin Wilson"...a while ago, like two years ago, the WaPo had an article on the mayor of Alexandria position, which is largely for people who want fame rather than money, as the salary was low five figures (like $50k a year). Maybe that's changed now.

Wouldn't the wind dropping 30 feet of silt bury the roads, rather than somehow migrate under and lift them?

Repaving the road raises it. Happens in residential areas too. Here in the Philippines, they finally put asphalt over a major concrete road nearly 30 years after laying it.

I had to google National Landing, as I'd never heard of it before. Apparently it's just a branding name that Alexandria and Arlington came up with for a combined area of Potomac Yard, Crystal City, and Pentagon City.

Thank you providing both Amazon's account and the Washington Posts'.

Predict that approximately 0 federal employees are hired away by Amazon but nevertheless the feds will use Amazon pay in pay comparability studies resulting in greater pressure for higher locality pay in the DC area, thereby demonstrating the complete bankruptcy of the Federal Employees Pay Compensation Act.

Predict that Virginia never again elects a Republican governor.

Any doubt that Amazon gets the JEDI award are now dispelled.

Predict that substantial numbers of new Amazon employees will buy housing in South Arlington and that there will be significant shift away from the current North Arlington domination of the county politically.

Predict that Arlington County will use this as an excuse to lard up their already massive funding for low-income housing with higher property taxes driving out the few remaining middle class residents and creating a San Francisco type culture of extreme wealth and extreme poverty with nothing in between.

Predict that Alexandria remains the sad sack jurisdiction in the DC metro area. The influx of the money will do nothing to improve local schools because of incompetent administration.

Predict that once Amazon moves into Crystal City economic growth in the area will plateau. Amazon will dominate the area, increase rents and salaries leading other potential commercial tenants in the area to look elsewhere.

In 10 to 15 years when creative destruction catches up to Amazon, the Crystal City area will become a slum.

d'oh should be Federal Employees Pay Comparabiity Act of 1990.

It is interesting how much micromanaging "central planning" there is in the US, as a country with a relatively capitalist reputation. In both places the deal depends on square footage of certain buildings. You can read market-oriented economists talk about a general tendency of, say, the property tax to distort inputs or the timing of investments somewhat. But what you have here is a command-and-control dictates of how to build the offices.
Also interesting that these incentives run exactly counter to the normal course of local planning: local planning stipulates maximum square footages (FAR's); this stipulates minimums. "Everything not forbiden is compulsory."

From the accouncement. "This is a giant step on our path to building an economy in New York City that leaves no one behind." - NYC Mayor de Blasio

Glad to see democrats catching up to Trump in matching their words with reality

I am happy too see that Arlington made it! The DFW area is a growing economic hub and has ample space for newcomers. I am surprised by their specific choice as Arlington has less of a reputation for office space than other cities like Irvine or Plano. In any case great for Amazon, great for DFW, great for Texas and great for America!

Umm.. Arlington, VA.

Umm... Irving, not Irvine.

"According to Amazon, the cost per job for New York taxpayers is $48,000, compared to $22,000 for Virginia and $13,000 for Tennessee."

That's a pretty big discrepancy and since it doesn't include city money, it's probably even larger.

Economically is this a good deal for each area? I would assume that the numbers are still positive for NY, but when you subtract the money out of the expected tax payments what is the net? How much does it shift the taxes to other taxpayers? Is the amount at the lower end still a good deal? Or just the least worst option?

To correct some of the misconceptions ...

The architecture of Crystal City is not bad at all, for its time. There are about 1000 buildings in what is called Crystal City and the adjacent blocks of Arlington, and the worst 100 buildings are very bad, but the other 900 are just as beautiful as the average building in my beloved Northern Virginia. And there are a lot of interesting trees, I hope they keep them all and even add a few. There is no reason not to.

The neighborhood does have a lot of character. For example, the only strip club inside the Beltway and not in DC used to be in Crystal City. (I am against strip clubs on principle, but having just one in a neighborhood is not the end of the world). I once had to listen, on a subway ride from Pentagon City to Huntington, to some Laurel and Hardy like pair discussing the true love one of them felt for one of the strippers - I no longer have photographic recall of most funny things I have heard, as I used to (the way Hendrix reportedly remembered every classy blues lick he had ever heard, with photographic memory) but I think the Olly guy said to the Laurel guy - "I know she still wants to work as a stripper when she dates me but I think she is my soulmate anyway" ! --- You aren't going to overhear classic comments like that on the ride from MSG to Jamaica (they both embarked at the Crystal City stop).... The only head shop I have ever seen in this area is - or was - in Crystal City (on the 21st street block). (I am against my friends smoking pot - makes them dull - but I am not, in principle, opposed to head shops, and I do want reparations for every American unjustly arrested for simple possession of a herb that naturally grows in their homeland ....)

And there is a fantastically Wolfean (Gene) underground passage, or corridor, blocks and blocks long, under about 20 or 30 of the tall buildings, in a row that stretches under most of Crystal City's 3/4 mile of tall buildings, that makes the underground part of Madison Square Garden look quaint and small. (I used to work at the Pentagon on night shifts and, as many hundreds and hundreds of yards of so-banal-they-are-beautiful basement corridors there are in the Pentagon, Crystal City has got those corridors beat by a mile ) .... I could go on.

The main point is, though, there is a river there. DC is not going to be Paris in the next 20 years, but when you think of what the French and their mostly home-grown architects did to make a few miles of the poor boxed-in Seine (fresh water river) look like heaven on earth, or at least like what a new-to-the-English-language friend of mine calls a city that she has "heard it is romantic", then you think maybe a few changes to our (estuary salt water) Potomac are possibly going to be ok.

Plus - I have to give Bezos props for not inflicting 50k new employees on any one area. That was nice of him. 20K is about the decent limit, and I appreciate that he respected that

Local knowledge is good.

And to be fair, Ollie may have married the woman who was his soul mate, and their children might now be classmates of the children of my middle class friends at the local high schools, possibly even at TJ. But if you could have seen the sincere look on his face, and the way Stan was so ready to agree with everything he said ---

Good times.

If I have said it once I have said it many many times

God loves us the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way

Look I am not going to tell you which Bible verse is for you the verse that explains to you in your human heart what you should be doing with your life

God loves you

Every time you open the Bible, say to yourself, God loves me, and expects me to be the Friend to him that He was to me .... wake up


And to be fair, Ollie may have married the woman who was his soul mate.

If you pray for people, pray that they will be kindly treated by their soul mates.

Pray that they can be kind enough to want a better world for other people, no matter what:

that is such a small thing to pray for, and every sincere prayer will be answered.

Don't let anyone tell you that there are only a few saints in this world and that God listens to those saints more than God listens to you.

God hears every prayer.

Yours more than mine (but I am fine with that, there are some things that I can never explain, the reason why I am fine with that is one of them.)

Yours (your prayers) as much as anybody's.

Trust me, God loves you, and God thinks you are more interesting than I am. Trust me on that, I have my faults but pride is not one of them. I treat my friends with respect: every single time there is an opportunity to show disrespect to a friend, I desist, because friendship is sacred, and I make sure it is clear:

every single time

Anyone who has ever treated me well, or been kind to me, is someone who God will be kind to, and will treat well, as long as my prayers are listened to. Trust me.

Pray for the small things first, then pray for the big things. Be optimistic. God loves you. God loves you, without a doubt, as much as he loves me, and probably more.

And remember - every single tree in Crystal City - I stood up for every one of them, I tried to say what needed to be said for their prosperity, I remember how they looked, every season of the year. It is hard to explain, but it is true.

Yours (your prayers) as much as anybody's.

It is hard to explain, but it is true.

I remember - present tense.

Never live in the past unless the past you live in is redeemed (I will redeem the years the locusts have eaten, said God to the prophet Joel)

remember your most simple prayer is as beautiful as any other prayer

remember that the people you saw every day, and did not notice

were more loved by God than I am

every day of their life.

And I am fine with that because

because I know the joy of caring about other people.

God loves us the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way

It is no small thing to be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world

I know you know that is true

the funny thing is you might be reading this and you did not expect me to say

you know how true this is

God is real and God wants you to wake up

Wake up

the only tragedy is not being a saint

Not listening to the word of God, the word of God that is so clear




"To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved" George MacDonald, riffing on Novalis.

The only tragedy is not being a saint, not listening to the word of God.
We do not have many friends in this world, God is our friend.
Trust him, and love him:
please, please, please, wake up.

If nothing else, remember this: when was the last time someone told you they were certain God loved you more than God loved them? I meant it ....

please wake up, God loves you and God is not only real

Friendship and kindness are real, too, and ...

God loves you


maybe you are good at math and know what that means, in which case, congratulations

maybe math is not your subject, so I will put it in other words

wake up in the real world where you and God try, together, to make the world a better place: with love in your hearts

Together, you and God, making as much of this world a better place as you can

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