It’s official: the Arlington County Board unanimously approved plans for the second part of tech giant Amazon‘s HQ2 in Pentagon City.
The second and larger phase of Amazon’s second headquarters, known as PenPlace, consists of approximately 3.3 million square feet spread between four renewable energy-powered buildings. Three are 22-story office buildings, while the remaining “Helix” building (the one that looks like a giant soft-serve cone, if you’re being polite) is focused on amenities and features native plants. The Acorn LLC– and JBG Smith-developed campus also features two-and-a-half acres of open space, retail pavilions and an underground garage.
When completed, the project will offer enough space for 25,000 employees, and Amazon has said it’s already hired 5,000. The tech giant also previously said that it plans to complete the project by 2025.
Stakeholders and community members expressed their thoughts on the project during Friday’s approval meeting, which featured around 80 in-person attendees. Alongside the campus, the tech company has promised to build a community high school, provide $30 million for Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, construct open spaces, improve transportation and offer other benefits to the city’s community.
Board representative Matt de Ferranti said during the meeting that he thinks the project will help Arlington “enable the inclusive economic growth that is possible” for the community.
“Three years ago, when we considered the performance agreement, I closed by saying [that] we have to close the distance between the world as it is and the world as it should be,” de Ferranti said. “The evidence from the last three years of partnership is that we, the county, and Amazon and the community are helping get us closer to the world as it should be.”
The new HQ2 is part of a larger development project from JBG known as National Landing, which also includes the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. Together with AT&T, the developer plans to create a smart city powered by a 5G network. JBG will be selling PenPlace to Amazon for $198 million, according to an SEC filing — a $40 million leap from the initial price. While some have welcomed the plans for the region, others are concerned about what it will mean for affordable housing and the fate of current residents.