Amazon’s second headquarters is open for business, nearly five years after the e-commerce giant picked Northern Virginia in one of the most high-profile real estate site searches in history.
The Seattle-based company on Monday began moving thousands of employees into a pair of 22-story towers in Arlington that are part of Metropolitan Park, the mostly completed first phase of the development known as HQ2, according to an Amazon statement.
The move into the towers at 510 and 525 14th St. S, which is set to continue through the summer, comes as Amazon has ordered thousands of employees to return to work at offices. It has also joined other tech giants in laying off thousands more workers and shedding office space around the country.
The company’s 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, John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president of global real estate and facilities, said in the statement.
“So far, we’ve exceeded the projections laid out in the agreement we signed with Virginia in 2018 by creating and maintaining over 8,000 jobs at HQ2,” Schoettler said.
The towers, named Jasper and Merlin, the codenames for two of Amazon’s biggest products, are slated to house roughly 14,000 of the employees, including 8,000 workers that Amazon has already hired, putting the company ahead of its year-end goal and representing a 60% increase since spring 2022.
The company has been operating its East Coast headquarters from leased office buildings in the area during the construction of HQ2.
The employees now moving into Met Park are a combination of those moving from Amazon’s leased offices in the area and hybrid or remote workers who live in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, an Amazon spokeswoman said in an email.
Amazon released more than 50 photos of the mixed-use complex to house its main headquarters on the East Coast. The first phase of the expected $2.5 billion investment sits on more than 6 acres in Pentagon City that was previously vacant warehouses and parking lots.
Amazon’s goal was to reduce the carbon footprint of the concrete used in the buildings, based on research that shows concrete alone accounts for over 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, the company said. To that end, it has clean-energy technology and sustainability features built into a meeting room with a timber ceiling made from 70-foot laminated planks of sustainable material.
Using low-carbon concrete mixes and other sustainable materials allowed the company to reduce the carbon footprint of Met Park’s concrete structures by 20% compared to the industry baseline, the company said.
The development has other features that contribute to the company’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions across all operations by 2040. The buildings will be powered by 100% renewable energy from a solar farm in Virginia.
Each new building includes three floors dedicated as “centers of energy” — places for employees to gather, have meetings or grab a coffee or some food prepared in one of the complex’s three commercial kitchens.
The development includes lounge-like work and meeting spaces with a cafeteria and food market, outdoor grills, park space, billiards tables and other recreational activities.
The first phase also has about 50,000 square feet of retail space, including a bike shop, pet daycare and several restaurants, cafes and bars.
Amazon said it expects to have a grand opening for the new complex in mid-June.
The second phase of HQ2, to be called PenPlace, is delayed indefinitely amid economic uncertainty and continued work-from-home trends following the pandemic, Amazon announced in March. That phase is set to include a striking, spiral tower modeled after a double helix that would serve as its centerpiece.
CoStar Digital Assets Management Specialist Matthew Mann contributed to the article.