- The Montgomery County (MD) Planning Board has approved hotel giant Marriott International's plan for a $600 million downtown Bethesda headquarters and flagship hotel, putting the company one step closer to its anticipated 2018 groundbreaking, according to WTOP.
- The company offices are currently located in suburban Bethesda, but Marriott officials said they wanted to move to a space with ready access to mass transit and other downtown amenities.
- Marriott considered other locations in Virginia and Washington, DC, but announced its decision to stay in Bethesda after Montgomery County offered the company a $60 million incentive package. The company anticipates being able to move its 3,500 employees into the new space by July 2022.
In January, Marriott announced that it had decided a developer for the project — a joint venture between Boston Properties and Bernstein Cos. The JV will own the office building, and Bernstein will own the hotel as part of a hotel management agreement.
Scoring a corporate headquarters typically means economic growth for the chosen city and state, and local governments like Montgomery County, are often motivated to offer up tax breaks and other incentives in order to secure a commitment. Marriott joins a growing list of big businesses anchoring their headquarters in areas that offer such companies incentives to build there.
Such is also the case for states and metros trying to win Amazon's second North American headquarters, dubbed HQ2.
The company received 238 proposals from those wanting to score the $5 billion project and its potential 50,000 employees. And many bidders weren't shy about including a healthy incentive package. New Jersey offered the biggest payout at $7 billion while Irvine, CA, offered the second-largest sum at $5 billion in breaks. Amazon is used to being on the receiving end of such benefits, with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reporting that the company has received a minimum of $613 million in tax breaks to build warehouses in certain locations and another $147 million to construct data centers.
It's anyone's guess where Amazon will choose to develop its new offices. However, according to a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, Detroit residents are those most eager about the prospect of Amazon coming to town. The survey found that more than 25% of those living in the area said they would like to work for the internet retailing giant while more than 75% said HQ2 would be a positive influence on the Detroit metro area.