Amazon has hired 3,500 HQ2 workers
Construction on two towers more than half finished
Amazon.com Inc. has hired 3,500 of its 25,000 planned workers for HQ2, the tech behemoth’s $2.5 billion East Coast headquarters in Arlington. Meanwhile, construction on the two office towers for HQ2’s first phase, Metropolitan Park, is more than halfway complete, company representatives said during a site tour Wednesday.
Amazon has added about 500 HQ2 workers since September.
In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly passed an incentive package that would pay Amazon up to $550 million in grants for hitting annual goals toward hiring 25,000 HQ2 workers at a stipulated average annual wage by 2030. The company has about 2,500 positions that it is working to fill immediately, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, said Wednesday.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who was present for the HQ2 progress tour, said, “We knew coming into our administration that we needed to diversify our economy. We have always been very dependent on the military and government contracting — and we always will be — but to bring in a company like Amazon was a large step moving forward in diversifying our economy in Virginia.”
“Met Park” will have two 22-story office buildings, 50,000 square feet of retail space, a roughly 2-acre park space and a 700-person meeting center that community groups will be able to use for free. The site is set to be completed by 2023, and Bethesda, Maryland-based Clark Construction Group LLC is on schedule for the project, Clark Construction Vice President Jeff King said Thursday.
As of mid-November, roughly 800 local employees are working at the site, Huseman said, and a new floor is constructed every 8 to 10 days.
Last month, Clark Construction passed the halfway mark on its concrete operations, King said, adding that the company has poured 160,000 cubic yards of concrete since HQ2’s groundbreaking. Crews were working on the 15th level and were preparing to frame level 16 on Wednesday. In September, the contractor started on the exterior facade. King estimates that Met Park as a whole is about 40% finished.
The towers will include ground-floor retail space, with Amazon signing two retailers so far: Rako Coffee Roasters and pet care company District Dogs. Amazon anticipates having about seven to 12 retailers, including a child care provider, Amazon Senior Asset Manager Kristin Rincon said. The largest available space for retailers is about 12,000 square feet.
In the park space, crews are currently excavating about 10,000 cubic yards of dirt to make way for underground irrigation and foundation work. The park will include more than 300 trees and 50,000 plants, as well as dog runs, recreation areas, a playground and farmers’ markets.
Amazon HQ2’s proposed second phase, PenPlace, is expected to include three more 22-story buildings and the 370,000-square-foot, distinctively spiral-shaped “Helix” building. Arlington County supervisors will likely vote on whether to approve Amazon’s PenPlace plans in early 2022.
Kristi Smith, executive vice president of development for Bethesda, Maryland-based JBG Smith Properties, said that the developer’s housing portfolio in Amazon HQ2’s National Landing neighborhood now includes 2,586 existing apartments, 800 units under construction and a development pipeline with the potential for 2,500 units. JBG Smith is Amazon’s development partner on HQ2, managing the first phase of HQ2’s construction and leasing existing office space to Amazon for HQ2 workers during construction.