Friday, February 3, 2017

MoCo Council humiliated again as Rosslyn scores Nestle corporate HQ

750 jobs are coming to...Rosslyn, not Montgomery County, as Northern Virginia handed the impotent Montgomery County Council their briefcases again in the economic development game this week. Monday Properties announced Wednesday it has signed Nestle as the anchor tenant at 1812 N. Moore Street, a 35-story office tower in Rosslyn, Virginia. Nestle's corporate headquarters will relocate to the building from California, a state with an increasingly-poor business climate like MoCo.

$16 million in incentives from Arlington County and Virginia (humiliatingly, a small fraction of the $62 million-and-counting MoCo and Maryland taxpayers had to shell out just to move the Marriott deck chair down the Titanic deck from Rock Spring to downtown Bethesda) were just part of the success story. More business-friendly tax rates and regulations, Metro proximity and direct highway access were some of the advantages Rosslyn enjoyed. "Virginia offers a business-friendly environment," Nestle said in a press release Wednesday.

"Easy access to transportation" was a major factor, according to the Washington Post. 1812 N. Moore is right at the Rosslyn Metro station, and has direct highway access to I-66, I-395, the Whitehurst Freeway, Jefferson Davis Highway, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway, plus straight shots to Reagan National and Dulles airports.

Virginia was already home to over 70 corporate headquarters, and to many more Fortune 500 corporate headquarters than Montgomery County or Maryland. Nestle is a Fortune Global 500 company.

According to the Post, Virginia had been courting Nestle for over a year. Not a word was spoken about pursuing Nestle by Montgomery County elected officials during that time. As the top food company on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Nestle would have been a good fit for the White Oak area, near the FDA. Or in an office tower above the Wheaton or Bethesda Metro stations. The Council didn't even try.

And so, the humiliation continues. Montgomery County has failed to attract a single major corporate headquarters in two decades. It is the only jurisdiction in the D.C. region to suffer a net loss in private sector jobs since 2000; all others around us had a net gain. Our elected officials' intentional failure to complete our master plan highway system has left us with the worst traffic congestion in the nation, and no direct access to Dulles International Airport, the preferred flight hub for international companies.

As a result, Montgomery County finds itself a bedroom community for the job centers elsewhere in our region. Our private sector economy is moribund. The County is running a long-term structural budget deficit, as expenditures continue to swamp revenues. Even our once top-rated school system in now in a steady decline.

It's clear our County elected officials don't understand how the private sector business world works, and have no interest in learning. Time and again, they've proven they can't hit major league pitching when it comes to economic development. The results are being borne by the taxpayers in the form of record taxes, to make up for the low revenues our incompetent County Council has generated through its failed policies.

Voters will have to finish the job in 2018 they began by approving term limits in 2016. Throw the bums out.


  1. NoVa is strategically a better location thanks to proximity to DC, airports and infrastructure. But that doesn't mean Maryland can't try to make itself look a little more attractive. We refuse to expand our side of the Beltway, 270 or to add a new Potomac river crossing. Throw zero tax incentives on top of that, why would major corporations come here? I know small business owners who live in MD but opened their businesses in VA. I can't even criticize Maryland overall as much as MoCo. Look at PG county...National Harbor, MGM, etc. Forget attracting tourists, MoCo cant even attract locals from DC and VA!

  2. I think the previous commented at 12:25 starts to make a good point about strategic location that can't be fixed, but then looses me complaining we also can't attract tourists. Uh, yea, because of another strategic disadvantage we can't fix - lack of access to the river. There is a national park cutting MoCo off from the Potomac, and none of our other water bodies matter. Also, no we don't have an airport, and I suspect spending Billions of dollars on an outer crossing closer to Dulles still won't actually deliver a company (Plus BWI is more than doubling the sizeof their international terminal so lets not write off that yet). It's also a lot easier to court a company ready to move when you have large empty or nearly empty trophy class office towers lying around. Very few companies that are relocating across country and who did so in relative silence are willing to wait 5 years for entitlements and construction of a new building.

    I will agree the County does not help market itself, and I can't understand why they're not more aggressive in company outreach. I suspect they don't thin they stand a chance in competing with most companies and therefore don't try; instead putting all their eggs in bio-technology (note reports we are almost out of lab space so that is still growing) and cyber (stupid move, that's already clearly been going to the Baltimore area). I also don't see what roads on the master plan of highways have not been built that would matter. M83 in Clarksburg won't bring jobs, and as much as I think the Legion Bridge and Beltway should be widened, it would come at more cost than any similar project in Virginia because the Beltway was shoehorned in narrow right-of-way through existing development in much of MoCo, and is along side or on top of creeks much of the way. I bet the list of homes that would need to be taken, and streams that would need to be dealt with far outnumber the impacts needed to widen the Beltway in VA which was built when that area was mostly rural (similar to PG county) where expansion into the median (note we don't have one) made expansion much less painful.

    1. The unbuilt roads include the new Potomac River crossing to VA Route 28, the M83 Highway (which would divert upcounty-bound traffic at the future Watkins Mill interchange, thereby freeing up capacity on I-270), the Northern Parkway, the Northwest Freeway, the North Central Freeway, the Rockville Freeway, Barney Circle Freeway, the Palisades Freeway, and I-95 through the District.

  3. @ Anonymous February 3, 2017 at 12:25 PM, I agree with you a little about the lack of MoCo infrastructure and how other jurisdictions might appear more business friendly because of that... BUT, you are dead wrong when you claim, "[that MoCo] Throw[s] zero tax incentives on top of that..." MoCo offers MILION$ in tax abatements, grants, etc. to companies that threaten to leave MoCo or that might (and rarely) do set up shop here. MoCo has even given MILLION$ to companies that threaten to leave and then go bankrupt. And worse yet, the ROI on these "deals" (tax abatements in exchange for a business ciming to the county) NEVER pays off... taxpayers always take it up the @$$.

  4. It is not county leaders at fault but all the high people living in Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac who blocked all land in up county for future development, the reason they want greenery within their reach. Since getting to DC and VA is convenient for them they do not let any other project go through by funding all council and state representatives to block development else where. Morons are these people who have a myopic vision, I wish their properties become run down and they loose all their real estate investments and then hope sense will walk in to their brains.

    The Dems who control the county and state politics have all the time to talk about Dog parks and pandering to their voter base but have no time for working on single economic development.