Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ocado skips across the pond, and Montgomery County, in U.S. HQ search

Just months after Montgomery County's humiliating-but-self-inflicted defeat in the Amazon HQ 2 sweepstakes, even Amazon's enemies are passing on MoCo in favor of Northern Virginia. Ocado, a British partner of Kroger that specializes in online grocery sales systems, announced yesterday it will conduct its search for its future U.S. corporate headquarters from gleaming offices in beautiful and booming Tysons. CEO Luke Jensen said he was "delighted" with the Tysons choice, and that the office would open in April.

Ocado has a service called Prime Now, that delivers groceries you order online within 2 hours. If the order is small enough, it might be delivered by scooter. Kroger - which owns Harris Teeter and Ralph's - has partnered with Ocado to prepare for the increasingly-competitive world of online grocery shopping, where its greatest rival will be Crystal City's Amazon.

Northern Virginia is becoming a hub for so many things, it's hard for our super-low-energy Montgomery County Council to even keep track, much less compete. But grocery firms are one of the latest; Lidl chose Arlington County for its U.S. headquarters in the most recent example before this. One can reasonably predict the high-tax, low-energy grass of bedroom community Montgomery County won't exactly look greener from Ocado's offices high above the bustling streets of Tysons.

This is just the latest humiliation for Montgomery County officials this week. It follows another disastrous job growth report (there wasn't any), and Montgomery County's leading economic development official returning empty-handed from an expensive SXSW junket. What Montgomery's selling...they just don't want it. They just don't want it.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Ocado will open a temporary office in Tysons, Virginia next month while it searches for a permanent location."

It's literally a scout team in a temp office space. Take your medication, you nut.

Anonymous said...

If they pick MoCo for their permanent location and add a full workforce it'll just turn into "it's not a Fortune 500 so it doesn't count."

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion, “Tyson’s” and “beautiful” can not be used in the same sentence, unless you believe that massive freeways, huge surface parking lots and free standing office buildings are beautiful. It’s just lovely to arrive in the middle on the Metro in the the Dules Toll Road, then traverse long bridges that dump you in the corner of a parking lot. Very few places to live, with almost no restaurants with sidewalk dinining. Two introverted shopping malls surrounded by massive parking lots and parking decks. You take your life in you own hands if you try to walk from one building to another. The entire place is one of the most pedestrian unfriendly places on this planet.

Of course over time, with selective urban infill, things will get better. But even with all of Tyson’s economic growth, is still looks and feels like a dreadful place, at least to me.

Anonymous said...

"the bustling streets of Tysons."

More accurate: "the soulless, gridlocked, pedestrian-hostile roadways of Tysons."

Anonymous said...

Tysons is being transformed into a real city. It will take time, but there is a plan. The placement of Metro stations, new development (commercial and residential) are all part of that plan.

The Boro, for example, is a very thoughtful mixed use development including corporate HQs, residential, movie theater and open space.

At the center of The Boro development is a 1-acre urban space known as Boro Park. This signature park is carefully programmed for different events, such as outdoor concerts, movies on the green, markets and festivals. Plazas and gardens provide multi-generational socializing around water features and play spaces. Anything like that in the Westbard plan?

Anonymous said...

8:11 AM Thankfully, you're not a planner

Anonymous said...

By "bustling streets" I'm guessing Dyer means traffic-clogged streets. 7:48 is exactly right. Tysons is the most hideous and unappealing business district in the region. Tenants only move there because of Dulles and the Beltway, and the fact that rents are cheaper than Bethesda, DC, and Rosslyn.

Anonymous said...

"I love driving in Northern Virginia!"

...said absolutely no-one, anywhere, ever.

OK, maybe Roald said it, once.

Anonymous said...

9:16am in terms of foot traffic, the streets of Arlington, DC, etc appear to be bustling more than downtown Bethesda these days. Some of the pop up bars in Tysons are actually pretty crowded. More is on the way with the Boro and other projects.

The stench of the failed MoCo night economy task force lingers in the air like a local bloggers Cal Tort burrito fueled fart.

Anonymous said...

9:28 There is a lot more foot traffic in Bethesda than Rosslyn Crystal City or Ballston. Downtown DC probably will always be more active than Bethesda.

Anonymous said...

9:24 AM Roads in MoCo aren't exactly moving free and easy. Ever been up and down 355 during rush hour in the evening?

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the name "Ocado" will trigger many idiot conservatives who will think it is an illegal MS-13 gangbanger or that bossy freshman CongressseƱorita from the Bronx.

Cy said...

Tysons is a pretty depressing place. Nice shiny buildings but they are artificially taller because they stand on top of massive parking garages. No street life. Their unofficial "town center" is the windswept plaza connecting the Mall to the Metro. Its pretty drab but if you live in Fairfax County that's all you got so they take it and its sad to see people so proud of that depressing space. In Montgomery County we have Rockville Town Center, Bethesda Row, Pike and Rose, and Downtown Silver Spring developments which are all active and booming. Tysons is dead and is designed as a skywalk-connected city much like Rosslyn in the 1980's. And there is little love for Rosslyn. Its dead even on the nicest days. Everyone stays in their towers and keeps to themselves. Maybe that is why Marriott, JBG, Pebblebrook, and other major financial corporations chose Bethesda as their home

Anonymous said...

"Kroger - which owns Harris Teeter and Ralph's - has partnered with Ocado to prepare for the increasingly-competitive world of online grocery shopping, where its greatest rival will be Crystal City's Amazon."

It would have been helpful to mention that Amazon recently acquired Whole Foods. Whole Foods specifically would be the competitor to Kroger's brands.

Anonymous said...

A British company? With the royal clusterfuck that is Brexit, that company will likely be gone by the end of the year.