Hampton Roads is heavily lobbying for Fort Monroe in Hampton as the new site for Amazon.The Harbour View area of Suffolk and the Virginia Beach Town Center are also being considered for the online retailer’s next campus. Amazon's plan is to open a second headquarters that will house 50,000 highly paid employees. Jim Moran, chairman of the Fort Monroe Authority board, thinks the historic site and former home of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command would be ideal for a tech company like Amazon. Moran points to the hard-wired communication lines the Army buried before the base was put on the closure list in 2005. It was later closed in 2011. But there were dorms, lecture halls, a library, a hotel, a marina, and more.
It has the kind of campus atmosphere that makes it a prime site for any large corporation because it’s almost self-contained,” says Moran. “It even has a moat.”[caption id="attachment_4713" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Amazon is considering the 200-year-old fortress as a potential campus site.[/caption] Virginia has pitched 10 sites to Amazon in the continental sweepstakes to land the second North American headquarters of the Seattle-based retail giant. In Northern Virginia, local governments have been directly involved proposing their plan, identifying four potential sites: Potomac Yard along the Potomac River in Alexandria, the state-owned Center for Innovative Technology straddling the Fairfax and Loudoun county line, and two Arlington County properties in Crystal City and Rosslyn.
The Greater Richmond Partnership has worked with the state and its consultant, McKinsey & Co., to identify the best prospects for Amazon to consider, including North Boulevard in Richmond, Tree Hill Farm in Henrico, and the former Galleria property in Chesterfield.
When asked about the three sites in Hampton Roads, the executive director of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Authority, Rick Weddle, wrote: “As you know, I cannot comment on specific economic development projects.”Steve Corneliussen, a spokesman for the Save Fort Monroe network, who has been a critic of efforts to overdevelop the historic site, said the idea of pitching it as a second headquarters for Amazon “sounds preposterous.” Corneliussen adds, “Fort Monroe is an ocean-facing, low-lying, sand spit,” referring to its vulnerability to sea-level rise and flooding. Still, the 200-year-old fortress remains in the hunt to win the bid.