business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Washington Post has a story about the opening of Amazon's HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia.

On the one hand, it is a boon to the neighborhood.  "In Arlington, the arrival of the company — whose founder, Jeff Bezos, owns the Washington Post and whose board member Patty Stonesifer is the Post’s interim CEO — has brought in protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks and expanded bus routes. More than a dozen new restaurants are set to open this summer, with an Amtrak station and new condos on the way … Local elected officials and many civic leaders have largely welcomed the company, praising its donations toward area nonprofits and billion-dollar efforts to preserve and create affordable housing."

On the other hand, some local activists "warn that Amazon is bringing thousands of highly paid workers to a region already struggling with high housing costs and added office buildings amid a sharp turn to remote work — all to the tune of as much as $750 million in taxpayer subsidies from Virginia … Peter Rousselot, president of the slow-growth group Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future, said the rapid transformation of the neighborhood has not accounted for the thousands of people it will bring into the county, which is already struggling to keep up with an influx of new residents."

In every development of this scale, there will be positives and negatives.  In this case, some of the issues facing the community would have bene hard to predict;  after all, it was conceived and launched pre-pandemic, and there have been enormous economic changes in the past few years.  I would hope that the powers that be in Arlington will pay attention to the Seattle example, where Amazon both fueled tremendous economic growth and prosperity, but also fueled sky-high rents and in many ways changed the essence of the city.