Amazon HQ2

Amazon Pausing Construction on HQ2 in Crystal City, Virginia

The company still plans to open HQ2's first phase as planned in June — but the second phase, which was set to begin this quarter, will be put on hold

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Amazon is pausing construction on the large HQ2 campus it has planned for Arlington, Virginia, the company confirmed to News4 on Friday morning.

The stoppage does not affect all of HQ2, which is located in an area of Arlington traditionally called Crystal City, but which Amazon has dubbed National Landing. The first phase of HQ2 construction, Metropolitan Park, is almost done and will open as planned in June, the company said.

Amazon will hold back on starting the second phase, PenPlace, which was expected to include the campus' eye-catching Helix building. Construction on PenPlace was set to begin in the first quarter of this year.

"We’re always evaluating space plans to make sure they fit our business needs and to create a great experience for employees," John Schoettler, Amazon's vice president for World Wide Real Estate and Facilities, said in a statement, "and since Met Park will have space to accommodate more than 14,000 employees, we’ve decided to shift the groundbreaking of PenPlace (the second phase of HQ2) out a bit."

News4's Aimee Cho obtained the statement Friday morning, confirming news first reported by Bloomberg.

Metropolitan Park consists of two 22-story office towers and is expected to include more than 50,000 square feet of retail space for small local businesses, as well as a 700-person meeting center that will be available to community groups, Amazon has said.

The delay only affects PenPlace, which would bring to Arlington three more 22-story office buildings, a 700-person meeting center and the Helix — a 350-foot helix-shaped tower that was approved for construction last April.

News4's Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss reports on the approval of Amazon's HQ2 helix tower and its impact on the Arlington area.

The formal groundbreaking on that second phase of construction was set for around this time. Now, it's on hold indefinitely.

Amazon says it now has more than 8,000 workers in the D.C. area. Schoettler said Met Park will be able to accommodate more than 14,000.

"Our second headquarters has always been a multi-year project, and we remain committed to Arlington, Virginia, and the greater Capital Region – which includes investing in affordable housing, funding computer science education in schools across the region, and supporting dozens of local nonprofits," Schoettler said. "We appreciate the support of all our partners and neighbors, and look forward to continuing to work together in the years ahead.”

Plans for Amazon's HQ2 were announced back in 2017.

But as the rapid growth Amazon saw during the pandemic slowed down, in January the company announced layoffs expected to affect as many as 18,000 employees.

Other Amazon workers expressed frustration in February over a recently announced return-to-office mandate that would require them to be in the office at least three days a week beginning May 1.

The pause on PenPlace does not mean any additional roles are being eliminated, Amazon told News4. According to Bloomberg, the company has committed to spending $2.5 billion and hiring some 25,000 workers in Arlington, Virginia by 2030.

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