Crystal City, Virginia

Amazon’s goal is to create a sort of campus for its employees, one with tons of entertainment and activities to explore. Crystal City, National Landing, and Arlington are changing due to the news of 25,000 new jobs coming into the area.1 More and more people are moving to area because of jobs the have and jobs they will have with Amazon. Outside of Amazon, more businesses are opening up in the area due to the proximity with a major corporation.2 This has driven up high prices in the housing market and we see the beginnings of edging people out of the area who can not pay to stay. Lower-income families are either leaving Crystal City or not entering the “pearly gates” to begin with.3 This will prove to be a problem to Jeff Bezo’s campus idea because finding low-wage workers will be harder due to the fact their wages can not afford the city.

The area of Northern Virginia already has a high, competitive housing market with increasing prices. However, since Amazon has picked Virginia for HQ2, the surrounding area has seen a spike of over 14% in the last 3 years.4 This is not necessarily a giant difference in the rest of the housing spike, but this area’s plan are relying on affordable housing for low-wage residents. There has not been any legislation or policy proposals to cap or subsidize housing for lower-income families in the area that directly relates to the growing problem due to HQ2. 5

Concept designs for Crystal City new apartments and residential areas

One solution which is arising naturally, is the public transportation. Crystal City is working on new public transportation to better serve the incoming Amazon HQ2, there is evidence that low-wage workers are using this to find cheaper housing outside of steep housing market.

The housing market is growing and many in condos, there have been almost 1,000 new condos or apartments since Virginia hosting HQ2 was announced, with 5,000 more in city plans.

Why does this matter?

Amazon coming into Virginia and setting up its second headquarters will have many benefits to the state and its residents. Primarily in tax revenue and all the jobs that are being created because of the company.

Median sale prices of home in Crystal City

As you can see above, sale prices in Crystal city have sky rocketed from an already high median of $600,000. 6

However, the plans are dependent on low-wage workers who can work in the entertainment side of the city to serve its residents, and the housing market is edging them out. There has not been any policy proposals that will address this specific issue.7 Crystal City has the issue in the past of created a new way to live and shop, the Underground, with little thought into how to sustain it.8 This is the same issue that is happening now with the whole city being reliant on a working class but ignoring them in the plans.

This also speaks to the initial proposal being in an already affluent area. Virginia could have built up a lower income area rather than Crystal City where it is once again ignoring lower tax bracket families.

  1. Leanna Garfield, 2017, “Amazon Has Triggered a $5 Billion Bidding War — Here Are the Craziest Proposals for Its New Headquarters” Entrepreneur, Oct 19, 2021, https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/303381
  2. Michele Lerner, 2020, “Amazon update: Second headquarters development and the area’s housing market,” The Washington Post, Nov 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/amazon-update-hq2-development-and-the-areas-housing-market/2020/11/18/3057e766-15fa-11eb-ad6f-36c93e6e94fb_story.htm
  3. Michele Lerner, 2020, “Amazon update: Second headquarters development and the area’s housing market,” The Washington Post, Nov 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/amazon-update-hq2-development-and-the-areas-housing-market/2020/11/18/3057e766-15fa-11eb-ad6f-36c93e6e94fb_story.htm
  4. Michele Lerner, 2020, “Amazon update: Second headquarters development and the area’s housing market,” The Washington Post, Nov 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/amazon-update-hq2-development-and-the-areas-housing-market/2020/11/18/3057e766-15fa-11eb-ad6f-36c93e6e94fb_story.html
  5. Michele Lerner, 2020, “Amazon update: Second headquarters development and the area’s housing market,” The Washington Post, Nov 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/amazon-update-hq2-development-and-the-areas-housing-market/2020/11/18/3057e766-15fa-11eb-ad6f-36c93e6e94fb_story.html
  6. Amy Dobson, 2019, “Prime Real Estate: Amazon HQ2 Adds $200,000 To Crystal City Home Prices,” Forbes, Aug 20, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/amydobson/2019/08/20/amazon-hq2-price-surge-adds-200000-to-local-home-prices/?sh=6fc992d8f98
  7. Amy Dobson, 2019, “Prime Real Estate: Amazon HQ2 Adds $200,000 To Crystal City Home Prices,” Forbes, Aug 20, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/amydobson/2019/08/20/amazon-hq2-price-surge-adds-200000-to-local-home-prices/?sh=6fc992d8f98b
  8. William Morris, “Amazon HQ2 Bidding War‘ Stirs Criticism,” Finance and Commerce, Nov 13, 2018, https://umw.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.umw.idm.oclc.org/newspapers/amazon-hq2-bidding-war-stirs-criticism/docview/2134999419/se-2?accountid=12299.