Amazon’s HQ2 Opens For Business

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The first employees were welcomed inside Amazon’s second headquarters on Monday, a little more than five years after the e-commerce giant first chose Arlington, Va., as its home for what’s now known as HQ2.

Hundreds of employees began working in Metropolitan Park, a pair of 22-story office towers that make up the first phase of HQ2, according to Amazon. The two buildings, named Jasper and Merlin, which were once code names for Alexa and Amazon Web Services, are both 327 feet tall.

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A more official opening is scheduled for June when roughly 8,000 employees will be required to work at least three days a week in the office, according to the company.

“This project is extraordinary in many respects,” Christian Dorsey, Arlington County’s board chair, said in a prepared statement. “It will bring us significantly closer to fulfilling the community’s vision of Arlington and National Landing as an urban neighborhood with a better balance of office, residential and retail development, more and better public spaces, and more and better access for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Construction at Met Park began in early 2020 under strict health and safety guidelines.

In March, Amazon paused construction of the second phase of HQ2, PenPlace, which consists of three 22-story office towers, and the Helix, a 350-foot tall corporate conference center and indoor garden, which mirrors the plant-filled orbs in Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Amazon acquired the property from developer JBG Smith last summer for $198 million. 

It’s unclear when work on PenPlace will start up again.

When complete, the HQ2 project will include more than 2.1 million square feet, including 50,000 square feet of retail.

“When we chose Arlington, Virginia, as the site of our second headquarters, we committed to become part of the local neighborhood and among the most trusted business and community partners in the region,” Amazon said in a prepared statement. “Our investment in HQ2 and the surrounding area will result in 25,000 Amazon jobs by 2030 and support thousands of indirect jobs across the region.”

The 14 initial retailers who will open this year are Conte’s Bike Shop; District Dogs; Hustle Fitness; Social Burger; South Block; Good Co. Doughnuts & Café; Celebree School of National Landing; GLO30; Peruvian Brothers; Taqueria Xochi; Toby’s Ice Cream; Mae’s Market; the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington; and Makers Union. 

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.