Amazon’s HQ2: 3 Ripple Effects for Associations

With one of two new Amazon headquarters planned for Northern Virginia, associations in the DC region are likely to see some big shifts in the local market in the coming years. Here are three possible ripple effects.

Amazon’s planned move to Northern Virginia’s Crystal Cit … er, National Landing promises to bring big-tech flavor to a region better known for big government and an abundance of nearby advocacy shops. And while the company is also putting a footprint on the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, its arrival on the outskirts of Washington, DC, is likely to be acutely felt by many associations that call the area home.

What should they expect? Here are a few possible effects:

More competition. Amazon is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs and to generate an ecosystem in which other nearby tech companies follow suit, so the battle for talented employees will likely get tougher. Competition for business and personal space may heat up too: Amazon is widely expected drive up already-expensive real estate prices in the region, making both office space and housing harder to come by. Those trends might lead some organizations to look for homes in other nearby regions that didn’t get the nod from Amazon. Already, some cities within a day’s drive of Northern Virginia, such as Raleigh, North Carolina, and Baltimore, are seeing ways to turn the HQ2 decision into a net positive.

More wide-ranging tech savvy. The DC region was already known to be tech-forward (see a recent CompTIA study, for example). But much of its technology sector is built to serve the federal IT apparatus, while Amazon’s portfolio is different, encompassing a mix of cloud computing, retail, and tech services. A recent piece from FedScoop suggests that Amazon chose DC because of the area’s existing technology base but that the company “could produce a more advanced and current technology workforce in the region.” That would benefit associations and other area employers looking to hire workers with high-level tech skills.

More nearby education options. A decision by Virginia Tech to build a billon-dollar Tech Innovation Campus near the new Amazon headquarters reportedly helped the area seal the deal.  “We’ll be scaling up significantly to meet the new challenge,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands told The Washington Post. Meanwhile, Fairfax, Virginia-based George Mason University will launch a new institute for digital innovation. Both investments could lead to thousands of new tech-savvy graduates in the region, and the rising tide of educational opportunity could raise every ship, not just Amazon’s.

(Julie Cooper/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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