Amazon’s HQ2 in Virginia just cleared a major hurdle, and it reveals a key difference from its New York project

Virginia’s Amazon HQ2 is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The Arlington County Board approved a $23 million incentives package for Amazon during a six-hour hearing on Saturday, it said in a press release. Amazon representatives were in attendance and were asked questions by more than 100 local residents alongside the board.

The tax incentive is directly related to Amazon’s plan to build a second headquarters, known as HQ2, in Arlington County and will be fueled by a higher tax on hotel rooms in the area.

Amazon plans to use the tax revenue for “office development and infrastructure investments,” Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s head of worldwide economic development, said at the meeting. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment further to Business Insider.

Though the vote among the five-member board was unanimous, the atmosphere in the room was reportedly anything but. Amazon HQ2 supporters and detractors clashed, with protesters yelling and twice forcing the meeting to adjourn and reconvene, according to the Washington Post. One activist was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, according to a local NBC affiliate.

Read more: Opposition to Amazon HQ2 in Virginia is growing louder in the wake of its New York City defeat

Though the $23 million incentive is much smaller than the larger $550 million being offered by the state of Virginia, the win is hugely symbolic. Amazon abruptly cancelled its plans for a similar HQ2 in New York’s Long Island City after it said elected officials in the region whipped up local opposition.

The county board is roughly analogous to New York’s city council, which was largely hostile to the HQ2 plan. Arlington leaders’ unwavering support for Amazon indicates that at least one HQ2 project will likely see shovels in the ground before the end of the year.

“We plan to start hiring soon with the goal of having around 400 new employees by the end of the year,” Sullivan said during the meeting in Arlington.

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