- The first phase of development for Amazon's second headquarters at Metropolitan Park in Arlington, Virginia, is expected to finish on time in 2023, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Brian Huseman, vice president of public events at Amazon.
- On Nov. 17, HQ2 partners Amazon, JBG Smith, and Clark Construction invited reporters and local officials, including Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, to tour the active construction site for Metropolitan Park.
- Once complete, the campus will feature two 22-story LEED-Platinum office buildings, as well as 50,000 square feet of retail space — leased with a focus on local small businesses — and a 2-acre public park on the central green. The development will be powered by electricity from a new, 45-megawatt solar farm currently under construction in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
In total, the Metropolitan Park campus will encompass 2.1 million square feet of developed space in National Landing, located within walking distance of the Pentagon City Metro station as access to Washington, D.C.
The 2023 completion estimate matches the timeframe given by Amazon in late 2019, just before the project's groundbreaking in early 2020 — as well as before impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
"Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, I'm truly proud to share that we've hit all of our critical milestones," said Jeff King, vice president of Clark.
Within the last month, he said, the construction team had passed the halfway mark on its concrete operations, set the timber roof on the on-site event center and begun work on exterior facade installation.
In an effort to counteract supply chain disruptions and material delays, Clark's teams have made an effort to order the project's necessary supplies ahead of schedule.
"[This] is something we typically would try not do," King said. "...It takes a lot of planning with our trade partners and our team to ensure we have the room to bring things on earlier than we would want to, and then develop that into our overall plan so that we maintain schedule and efficiency and create a safe workplace for our workers."
Impact and Outreach
One of the project's major considerations has been the impact on its immediate neighbors. The Metropolitan Park site is surrounded on four sides by as many as 4,500 residential units and hotel rooms. Many of these residents have been working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting in April 2020, excavation and pile driving operations at the site overlapped with a stay-at-home order in Northern Virginia. Clark provided notice to residents about its work and efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including plans to provide earplugs to those in nearby residential buildings.
Despite these efforts, in May 2020, a local resident began a petition demanding that work be stopped at the site until the stay-at-home order had been lifted, prompting local news coverage and responses from Arlington County board members. While work was not stopped, Amazon's team is continuing to work with residents’ groups regarding construction noise and interference.
"We've been working hard to keep our workforce safe and our community safe while keeping the project on schedule," King said. "All of our neighbors have been home working for a long time… We're making sure that we're being respectful to their needs, and what they're experiencing...so that they're on board with us, and we can continue driving the job forward."
Structural work is ongoing at the office buildings. According to King, the team is close to extending its construction cranes to their final heights, and expects to top out the office buildings in early 2022. Installation of the exterior facade, a series of individual glass and metal modules, will continue through the middle of the next year.
Whiting-Turner will serve as the general contractor for PenPlace, the second phase of Amazon HQ2. The project is currently under review with the Arlington County Site Plan Review Committee, pending public hearings with the Arlington County Planning Commission and County Board.