NVAR Economic Summit Panelists Discuss Regional Partnerships and Amazon Success
THERE WOULD BE NO NATIONAL LANDING – the newly branded region that will house Amazon’s Arlington headquarters – without collaboration in Northern Virginia.
“Let’s go back to September of 2017 … when all the Northern Virginia localities got together – Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax and Loudoun – and we decided to work with the state in putting a pitch together for Amazon’s HQ2 campus,” Christina Winn, economic development director of Prince William County, said at the 2019 NVAR Economic Summit on Sept. 5. (In 2017, Winn served as business investment director for Arlington County Economic Development.)
At this initial meeting, Winn explained, economic developers from each of the localities came with site proposals.
“Alexandria came with a site, and Arlington came with a site – they happened to be right next to each other,” Winn said.
Panelists take questions from the audience. L-R: Stephanie Landrum, Victor Hoskins and Christina Winn.
The sites pitched by Arlington and Alexandria were owned by the same developer, JBG SMITH, and shared many of the same assets, including its work force, airport and transportation system, Winn said. In fact, planners from Arlington and Alexandria had already been developing a transportation system to connect the two areas. By combining sites and creating National Landing, the joint proposal was capitalizing on already existing transportation networks and community plans. In addition, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) had encouraged collaboration among jurisdictions by adding incentives for joint proposals, which “created a platform that was really unique from all the proposals that came from around the country,” Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (and former director of Arlington County Economic Development), added.
As the jurisdictions started to put together a joint response to Amazon’s Request for Proposal, they also organized a meeting with all the universities in Virginia.
“We said, ‘Who has a great, big, bold idea about increasing the tech talent pipeline? … Lots of people had ideas, but President Sands of Virginia Tech stood up and said, ‘Not only do I have an idea; I have a blueprint,’” Stephanie Landrum, president and CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, said.
Virginia Tech was quietly involved in the project from early on and was an integral component of the pitch, she added.
“There are not 25,000 unemployed tech workers sitting in the D.C. market right now just waiting for these jobs,” Landrum said. “We needed to show Amazon that there was a pipeline of continuous people coming into this market, which is how the VT innovation campus came to be.”
Northern Virginia was announced as a chosen location for Amazon HQ2 on Nov. 13, 2018, and since the announcement, regional leaders have made significant strides in continued collaboration.
On September 16, shortly after the Economic Summit, an official announcement was made introducing the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA) – an alliance of 10 jurisdictions from Northern Virginia.
“Ultimately, the regional pitch to Amazon resulted in Northern Virginia winning the biggest economic development project in modern history. Additionally, it bolstered the case for creation of a Northern Virginia regional economic development effort, proving that Northern Virginia localities are stronger together,” the release stated.
The Alliance is comprised of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Arlington County, City of Fairfax, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, City of Falls Church, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park, and Prince William County Department of Economic Development.
“NVAR has been among other business groups advocating that we must act as a great metropolitan region as we move forward,” Mary Beth Coya, NVAR senior vice president of public & government affairs, commented on the announcement. “Some of that collaboration has been happening among our Virginia EDAs. Northern Virginia Realtors® were also a major part of working to bring together Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. to seek Metro funding.”
The take-away: through collaboration on key matters that affect our economy and real estate market, Realtors® and Northern Virginians help ensure the success of the region and its residents.
The Future of Real Estate
At the 2019 Economic Summit, Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights with the National Association of Realtors®, shared 11 points impacting the future of real estate. To view all economic summit presentations, visit NVAR.com/econsummit.
Dr. Jessica Lautz shares trends impacting the real estate industry.
1. LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING INVENTORY
The lack of affordable housing inventory is a nationwide problem. The nation is short by five to six million homes.
2. BUYERS ARE SWIPING LEFT…ON LOVE
Marriage rates are dropping drastically. In the 1960s, more than 70% of adults were married; now, it is less than half.
3. CARETAKING NOW NEEDS A LINT BRUSH
There is a drop in birth rates in the U.S. because of finances, but people are placing importance in pets (89% would not give up pet due to housing).
4. STUDENT DEBT IS CRUSHING FINANCES
Student loan debt continues to delay home buying and selling.
5. BANK OF MOM AND DAD
One-third of first-time buyers use down payment help from friends and family.
6. BAR HAS RISEN ON BUYER EXPECTATIONS
In the age of HGTV, buyers’ expectations have risen and shown that staging brings in a better offer.
7. TENURE IS LONGER
People are staying in homes nine to 10 years
8. MARIJUANA IS A BUDDING ISSUE
Commercial inventory changes include demand for warehouses and land, which has the potential to cause residential and fair housing issues.
9. IBUYERS: A GOOD HEADLINE?
The buzz about iBuying continues, but only 5% of households have heard of iBuyers and eight in 10 would not consider using one.
10. AGENT USE IS HIGH
87% of buyers use agents, and over half of people buying new builds are still using an agent.
11. HOMEOWNERSHIP IS A GOAL
Apple pie, baseball and home ownership! Owning a home is still part of the American Dream.