Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Amazon? Crystal City and Queens?

I've sat for a day reviewing the decision to split the new 2nd headquarters between Queens and Crystal City.

I worked in the Pentagon area for 3.5 years and lived about 1-to-2 miles from the Pentagon and Crystal City.  I know the area well.

On the miserability index....saddling another 25,000 workers into Crystal City?  It's a solid '10'.

First, to reach Crystal City by car....you have to use the interstate chain either from DC, Maryland, south heading toward Richmond, or the Fairfax option.  All of them right now....maxed out with DC workers and Pentagon folks.  How another 25,000 workers transit in each day?  Unknown.

Maybe they were brought enough to buy a parking garage area on the south end of the METRO subway system.  Crystal City has a METRO link which goes south for about four miles, and then ends.  If you had some massive garage at that end point, you could herd the Amazon folks into that garage and force them to use the METRO for the last four miles. 

Second, housing.  In 2013, for a studio place (15 by 35).....I was paying $1,150 for place which I'd regard as basic and nothing special....with heat, cooling and electricity.  Today, it's probably near $1,300.  By 2021, with Amazon there....I'll bet they push the rent for the studio up to $2,000.  A two-bedroom place?  Probably by that point.....for a decent place....it might be near $2,750.

Buying a house?  Right in 2013, $400k was the basic standard, and for a better house....you needed $700k.  With Amazon in the local area?  I doubt if you can find anything for less than $750k.  Most of the houses south of Arlington will be rising in the range of 40-percent by 2021.  A guy who bought a great property back in 2005?  He won't just double his investment, but maybe even triple it by 2030.

What's Crystal City like?  It's an odd neighborhood.  Massive 10 to 15 story buildings for about a mile on either side of the road.  One Metro station in the middle.  Reagan International about one mile to the east.  Six to eight hotels. 

Crime?  Well, that's the odd thing.  Virginia cops are fairly aggressive.  What you found in DC.....simply didn't exist in Arlington or Crystal City. 

Eating establishments?  In Crystal City....at least in 2013, there were probably forty places where you could eat out.  My guess is that will double by 2021. 

The odd factor here?  Tons of Pentagon contractors will likely go and saddle up with Amazon, and the pay-scale that the Pentagon was used to....will escalate big-time.  The cost-of-living factor for GI's and civilian workers?  It'll have to go up by 50-percent. 

Arlington forced to add onto the 'Blue Line'?  I would take a guess that another 5-mile link will be added by 2030.  Maybe getting the link as far south as Woodbridge or Dale City, where you could park your car and avoid the interstate entirely.

Positive decision?  No.  I just can't see the logic to either Crystal City or Queens.  It's added onto the cost factor of salaries and made working at either site a miserable experience. 

728 Days

Here's the thing about today being election day....the clock starts ticking today....for the next election (3 November 2020).

As much as you think it's a relief to get over this election business and get everyone calmed down....nope, that clock is ticking by midnight.

If you go back forty years ago, in most states....you were lucky in a mid-term if 50-percent of the voters showed up.  But things have intensified and now it's a dramatic event. 

In some ways, it's become like a national circus touring the nation and everyone hyped up over a great act, and wanting the circus to be part of their everyday life.  In the three rings, there's a clown act....some tigers jumping hoops....some lusty lady swinging on ropes....an elephant dancing....some tame horses pretending to be wild horses....and some dude in a suit who seems to know the right moment to tug on your heart.

So get out your calendar and project out 728 days.  Prepare for everything to repeat itself again.