Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Underestimating Consequences

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Underestimating Consequences

Alexandria city hall's unquestioning embrace of Amazon's HQ2 spanning Arlington County's Pentagon City and Crystal City and Alexandria's Potomac Yards illustrates city hall's misunderstanding of how development impacts city finances and overemphasizes development benefits while underestimating development's consequences. Their embrace is so single-minded that both municipalities have acceded to renaming the three neighborhoods to the marketing non sequitur "National Landing."

Our city hall has completely ignored how Amazon's novel business model turns neighborhoods into a package-thief's paradise. Such a criminal element, once attracted by packages on doorsteps advertising that nobody is home, may target residences to burglarize. Amazon's business model also siphons off business from bricks-and-mortar businesses, such as those on King Street, which will lose business to online retailers such as Amazon, leaving the city with losses of sales tax revenue and empty storefronts whose property values would decline, leading to lower property tax revenue.

It is hard to imagine how existing market affordable housing in Lynhaven and Arlandria will remain affordable in such close proximity to Amazon's HQ2. City hall crows about how much additional state funds will flow into affordable housing consequent to HQ2, but it is hard to imagine how this infusion of taxpayer funds will be enough to fully offset the loss of existing market affordable housing. We see a city hall which has sacrificed residents' quality of life on open space, density, and historic preservation in the name of affordable housing, yet throws itself at Amazon's feet regardless of the affordable housing consequence.

Why is our city government treating a distant corporation better than its own residents and taxpayers and sticking its head in the sand about the downsides of HQ2?

Dino Drudi