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Wrestling the Amazon Effect, Joint Project
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Wrestling the Amazon Effect, Joint Project

The Arlington County Board and Alexandria City Council will consider ways they can cooperate to manage the growth expected from Amazon’s HQ2, Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus and George Mason’s School of Computing, during a joint work session on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.

The elected bodies of the two jurisdictions will meet from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Gunston Community Center, 2700 S. Lang Street, in Arlington.

The meeting is open to the public, but no public comment will be taken.

“Amazon’s HQ2, coupled with the Commonwealth’s significant new investments in transportation and affordable housing, represent unprecedented opportunities and challenges for both Arlington and Alexandria,” Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. “It requires unprecedented cooperation between our two communities to ensure that the benefits do not accrue only to a few, while the many cope with the challenges.”

Among issues the two elected bodies will consider are whether to consider a joint entity focused on creating and preserving affordable housing, moving transit plans forward and ensuring the availability of workforce training.

The unusual joint approach is meant to address concerns in both communities about the impacts on rents, housing prices, schools, streets, the environment and more in the wake of Amazon’s arrival and expected expansion over the next 15 years to 25,000 employees.

Dorsey noted that some 5,000 people attended an informational Career Day that Amazon hosted in Crystal City of Sept. 17.

Arlington and Alexandria’s exploration of new areas to cooperate and collaborate on issues affecting both community builds upon a long history of collaboration in putting together this new partnership. The two collaborated on the Crystal-City Potomac Yard Transitway, and each developed an Affordable Housing Master Plan to improve housing affordability. Mixed use development in the Crystal-City-Potomac Yard corridor has been guided by Arlington’s Crystal City Sector Plan and Alexandria’s North and South Potomac Yard Plans. Arlington’s Transit Development Plan and Alexandria’s efforts to add a Metrorail station to Potomac Yard have helped create a transportation infrastructure to support future development. The two jurisdictions also have cooperated on the Four Mile Run Restoration Project to restore and improve natural spaces in the area.