• For more information on Green Party membership or to contact Green Party leadership, email info@greensofarlington.org Join the Arlington Greens on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 7:00 pm at Ballston Firehouse Community Room (George Mason Drive & Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA)

December 12, 2019

Statement to the Arlington County Board:  Reject the Rezoning Request for Amazon’s Buildings in Pentagon City

The Arlington County Board will consider a zoning request from Amazon to build a 2.1 million square foot complex in Pentagon City that will hold 12,000 employees plus retail stores on December 14.  Amazon has offered the county $20 million for affordable housing construction in exchange for an extra half million square feet of office space. We urge Arlington residents to attend and speak against Amazon for the following three reasons:

    the 2.1 million square foot project will lead to excessive carbon emissions;

Amazon’s offer of $20 million for an extra half million square feet of additional office space is far     below the economic value of that space;

Amazon’s $20 million offer does nothing to significantly mitigate the negative effect of this project on affordable housing in Arlington.

Environmental effect of project undercuts County’s goal to meet Paris Climate Treaty.–This proposed project is not carbon neutral and not a green building despite a LEED certificate.  The project will not use 100 percent renewable electricity until at least 2030.   There is already abundant renewable energy available for large companies like Amazon if they decide to pursue it.  Google already does this for its new facilities in the U.S.   Amazon should pledge it will use only renewable electricity immediately in the project; and add on-site solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling to cut carbon emissions.

This project will use 36 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 67 million cubic feet of natural gas annually.  This will increase commercial use of electricity and natural gas in Arlington by 2 percent each and contribute 30,000 metric tons of carbon emissions a year.

In September, the county board approved goals for the community energy plan that require a drop of about 5 percent annually in carbon emissions; the board cannot approve Amazon’s project as presented today, and expect that we can reduce carbon emissions in Arlington.  What do we choose: the Paris Climate Treaty or Amazon?

A half million square feet of extra office space approval is worth a lot more than $20 million.–Amazon wants you to allow it to add a half million more square feet of office space not allowed under current zoning.  Office space in Pentagon City rents for about $40 per square foot annually; 500,000 square feet thus provide an annual rent of about $20 million a year or over 30 years $600 million.   How about asking Amazon for a $200 million lump sum?

 $20 million will not offset at all Amazon’s negative effect on affordable housing.–Housing prices in Arlington since HQ2 was announced have risen 10-30 percent; rental costs are also expected to follow a similar pattern.  A 10-percent rise in rents in Arlington will cost renters about $100 million more a year.   $20 million in AHIF will finance the building of about 200 new CAF units for 200 households.  There are about 50,000 rental households in Arlington—14,000 households earning under 60 percent AMI.  Does financing 200 new subsidized units offset the harm to 50,000 rental households in Arlington?  No.   Amazon should offer ten times the $20 million offered at the least.

 

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