Montgomery Planning Welcomes Amazon’s Headquarters to the DC-MD-VA Region

November 13, 2018

Montgomery County prepared for future major business headquarters in close proximity to Metro through new zoning and land use strategies

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), congratulates our neighbor, Arlington County, Virginia, on being chosen as one of the locations of Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2). After a highly competitive process that landed Montgomery County as one of the top finalists, Amazon ultimately chose Crystal City, VA and Long Island City, NY as the winning sites for the company’s second headquarters.

During the selection process, Montgomery Planning worked with the Montgomery County Executive’s Office, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and community groups to pitch Amazon on locating its second headquarters in the White Flint area of the county. This area is well suited to be the home of a signature business headquarters, such as Amazon, due to its proximity to Metro, available transportation connections, walkability and parks and open space amenities. The White Flint Sector Plan, which was completed in 2010, established the framework for this transformation.

“Although we are disappointed that Amazon will not call Montgomery County home, we are pleased that Amazon has decided to locate its second headquarters in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area,” says Planning Director Gwen Wright. “It will be a boost for the whole region’s economy.”

Earlier this year, Montgomery Planning worked with the County Executive’s office to develop land use strategies to help Montgomery County attract a major large-scale private company. In June 2018, the County Council passed a flexible provision in the county’s zoning code for a signature business headquarters use in a Metro-accessible area for companies with 20,000 employees. A signature business headquarters can be located within a mixed-use Commercial Residential zone near a Metrorail station with a maximum building height of 300 feet.

With this zoning text amendment, Montgomery County also shortened the development review process for a proposed signature business headquarters from 120 days to 60 days, while ensuring members of the public have adequate time and public hearing opportunities to review and comment on these proposals.

“With our new zoning and faster development review for major business headquarters, Montgomery County is poised to be the home of large private employers with tens of thousands of employees,” says Wright.  “We made these changes for the long-term benefit of the county, to increase the number of jobs and residents in Montgomery County, increase our tax base and achieve our planning goals for the county’s communities.”