Virginia Developer Ties Millions in Employee Stock to Closing Amazon Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Employees of JBG Smith Properties, the real estate firm that owns the sites where Amazon.com Inc. plans to build a campus in Northern Virginia, could reap stock awards worth tens of millions of dollars if they can close the deal.

The property owner handed out about 868,000 special stock units to an unspecified number of managers and other employees last year, worth about $35 million as of Tuesday’s close. The units are tied to Amazon entering into definitive leases or commitments to buy property from the firm within four years, according to a regulatory filing.

Some of the awards are tied to the recipients remaining on their jobs for the next five years. More than half also have additional performance criteria that weren’t specified. About a quarter of the stock units, worth $9.8 million as of Tuesday’s close, were awarded to JBG Smith Chief Executive Officer Matthew Kelly.

Virginia Developer Ties Millions in Employee Stock to Closing Amazon Deal

Amazon announced in November it would set up new major campuses in New York’s Long Island City and Virginia’s Crystal City area, which has been rebranded as “National Landing.” JBG Smith said it has entered into “an agreement of exclusivity and negotiations” for the Amazon offices in Virginia, but hasn’t signed any “definitive documentation.” Amazon backed out of New York earlier this month following criticism by community activists and politicians of tax breaks granted to the company, and concerns about the impact on housing costs and transportation.

“If we are not successful in negotiating and executing definitive documentation regarding National Landing and our properties as Amazon HQ2, Amazon may determine not to proceed with the selection of National Landing as the site for Amazon HQ2,” the company said in the filing.

If all goes according to plan, JBG Smith expects to develop about 4.1 million square feet on behalf of the technology giant, as well as lease out around 500,000 square feet in several of its existing buildings. More than 40 percent of JBG Smith’s holdings are located within a half mile of the site where Amazon is planning to set up its new offices. The real estate firm said it incurred $2.8 million of costs related to “pursuit of Amazon headquarters” in 2018.

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