Expansion without Apple or Amazon


With Amazon out of the picture, Spring Hill could be on the table for Apple now as well.


new nonstop Southwest flight to San Jose. Thats a big deal


The Nerd Bird flies again…
(Edit: Even if it is only one day a week, on Sundays…)


Found a good postmortem on how the Triangle lost HQ2… or rather, how the four counties in the NoVa bid won (read: what we should be doing).


  • It wasn’t just incentives that won Amazon over. Heck, it might not have even mattered.
  • Virginia Tech wanted to expand to NoVa. This basically gave Amazon a custom-tailored workforce pipeline in its literal backyard.
  • Incentives included worker training, as well as improvements to infrastructure and education. (Let’s be honest, would North Carolina really do that?)

Highlights from the article (bold emphases mine):

[HQ2] became an effort to convince the Seattle-based company to see the area not just by the square foot but as a network of communities and neighborhoods. That was the idea, [Victor Hoskins, the economic development arm of Arlington County,] said behind a February meeting with Amazon officials at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria.
Beyond talking real estate and incentives, Hoskins said, the group hoped to convey the message of a unified region made up of unique neighborhoods and communities. “What we tried to do at that event was to give them a cross section across all of Virginia,” Hoskins said. “The conversations really were about schools, lifestyle, why people moved here.”

“The greatest caution that my colleagues and I have had probably came at the beginning, when we started to hear some speculation from other states about giving away the store. And we felt a lot of concern about whether Arlington could be competitive with a package that didn’t offer Amazon very much in the way of cash or taxes,” [Arlington Board Chair Katie Cristol] said.
“We knew that we would not put forward that kind of package — it wasn’t responsible.”

One of the most important parts of the proposal was the education piece. Virginia Tech, which had wanted to establish a campus in Northern Virginia for years […] was part of the play from the very initial bid. As part of the incentive package, the university agreed to open a $1 billion innovation campus that will provide training and research to help build a talent pipeline. It is scheduled to break ground in 2020 and open in 2022.

(Note: sure, NC State is already a thing. …but it’s harder to repurpose an existing pipeline that’s optimized for different industries/environments than it is to create and tailor a new one)

The revised package included workforce cash grants totaling up to $550 million for the 25,000 new jobs, or $22,000 per new job that’s created with a wage of at least $150,000.
State officials also pledged up to $295 million in infrastructure and education investments. That figure did not change when HQ2 was halved. “With the jobs being created by them, and the income tax and the sales tax, [Amazon] creates a funding source that we wouldn’t have had,” [Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian] Ball said.

I think there’s a lot we can learn from this, and what we (the Triangle as a whole) need to do better.


I think the point here is: DC and NY are vastly bigger, denser, more developed metropolitan areas. All the “substance” in here boils down to just that. It’s not very feasible that Virginia Tech building an entirely new infrastructure and frameworkˆ is more effective than an existing tech-based school shifting focus.

What it boils down to is that they always required a big, developed urban center with the desire to fork over oodles of tax dollars.

The idea of handing over millions (or billions) of public dollars to a profitable private company is gross and bad. Investment in education and public infrastructure? Sure. But most of this incentive tomfoolery is just a naked cash grab, and the public should start clamoring for the head of anyone that is willing to engage in it. Please don’t say that Raleigh should learn from this, it is bad and dumb.


It’s true that DC/NY are more developed and would probably look more attractive for that reason, but it doesn’t make sense that Amazon is purely motivated by trying to juice out extra tax breaks/money from already-rich metro areas… how else do you explain the fact they didn’t bite the bait for other cities that offered more in incentives?

Especially Montgomery County, MD., whose Bethesda site is also a metro away from the National Mall? Or Newark, NJ, which is also a train away from Newark Airport and Manhattan just like Queens?

On top of being just as connected to transit as National Landing/Long Island City and just as close to property owned by Jeff Bezos, Newark and Bethesda offered more money as incentives. If incentives were the top motivators, even if you bias your decisions towards the DC and NY metro areas, what Amazon announced does not make sense. This doesn’t mean that incentives are meaningless, but it means they were not the dominant deciding factor.

(Yes, incentives were one of the criteria for choosing the 20 finalists, but my personal conspiracy theory is that it wasn’t a make-or-break variable in the final decision)

Does that sound nitpicky? Yes it does, but I think it matters because overstating the impact of incentives also shifts the border between “vilifying the right cause” and “scapegoating a real but overhyped fact”.

If you feel like corporate incentives are socially irresponsible and misguided investments, then yeah, I am totally with you personally. But if you ask me, it’s not the fault of DC or New York or any other municipality; I think the blame for this sort of bidding war falls on Amazon for instigating this, the SEC for letting it happen, and all of us, the American people, for creating a culture that lets this happen (or doesn’t care for it) in the first place. It’s not a fault for Raleigh to address on its own, so using that as a reason should be irrelevant for this forum and website.

That’a why I said Raleigh should learn from it: because, from a purely North Carolinian and localist perspective, I don’t see this as a lesson on how to become an immoral moneymaker. I think HQ2 was a helpful lesson on a lot of things, like:

  • how do you brand and market a city to bring home historic outcomes?
  • what to you provide a company to enable and expand its reach to something unprecedented in human history?
  • what did we have to learn about ourselves and our town/region the hard way?
  • how are we honestly perceived? what does the rest of the country/world want of us that we’re not delivering (but apparently, people think we’re able to do so)?

…things that, if you remember the original purpose of this thread, Raleigh sorely needs to address to be better.


Each of Long Island City and Crystal City are more or less already part of the urban core and that is always what Amazon was looking for. Newark is in, well, Newark. So yes, the free cash giveaway was not the sole deciding factor, but the whole charade (it was all a charade) was always going to pick real estate in or immediately around a major urban center.

My point here is that there is not really a lot to learn from this whole experience. Sure, it was nice to be put on a list with Austin and Philly. But in the end Raleigh a contestant in a rigged beauty contest.



IMO, scale was always our bid’s major problem. This is why I have been incessant about how the Triangle’s population is described and communicated. The narrative out there was that we were a metro of 1.2 million, when in reality the Triangle is over 2million. Heck, Wake County alone is nearly 1.1 million.


This might be related:



Ok so Raleigh didn’t make the cut…Raleigh is not DC…NYC…NoVA or Charlotte. But so many times I hear and see on the news about how Raleigh is ranked at no.1 as the best place for high tech…new businesses and place for families. and that is great, good for Raleigh. I say steady growth is better than no growth at all…and I believe that the rest of the country is in for a shock when they see Raleigh really grows.

split this topic #77

A post was merged into an existing topic: Development at Saunders/Lake Wheeler


Uh…Charlotte didn’t even make the shortlist.

split this topic #79

8 posts were split to a new topic: Edison Office Tower

split this topic #80

36 posts were split to a new topic: Pendo’s expansion in DTR


An agenda item for Raleigh City Council’s Nov. 20 meeting recommends holding a public hearing on incentives for the projects at “the first City Council meeting in January 2019.”
Raleigh won’t make the firms public until two weeks before the hearing. “Because we are required to have the public hearing by state law, we have to lay out the essentials for public review prior to the public hearing,” [city spokesperson John Boyette] wrote.
Local participation in both recruitment and incentives is required [to deploy investment grants], according to state statute.

I am wondering. Why do certain projects have the public hearing before incentives are offered and then others not? Advance Auto Parts, Pendo or Amazon did not have any hearing or did they?


Maybe this is the case when companies request beyond a certain amount of incentives? Or maybe it is at the Council’s discretion?

Pendo's expansion in DTR

Wow now announcement of 400 jobs in Charlotte again - Lending Tree:


give us more in dt Raleigh please


Seems like the floodgates opened after the Amazon decision. About time!


Amazon announcement may have had something to do with it, but I think the increased incentives (whether you think they are good or bad) played a major role.