This editorial article is a part of State of Local Tech Month of Technical.ly’s editorial calendar.
Down in Arlington, two new towers are officially in the office game (and no, we’re not talking about a “Lord of the Rings” remake).
Amazon just announced that the first phase of its HQ2 build, better known as Metropolitan Park, has officially completed construction. The two 22-story buildings are 327 feet tall and feature 2.1 million square feet of office space.
The two towers are named Jasper and Merlin, one of which was a code name for a customer experience project with Alexa and the other a moniker for Amazon’s QuickSight product. The multi-millions of square feet boast enough room for 14,000 Amazon employees, and Amazon said that it’s already added 8,000 jobs at HQ2. By 2030, Amazon plans to add 25,000 positions in Northern Virginia.
“This project is extraordinary in many respects,” said Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey in a statement. “It will bring us significantly closer to fulfilling the community’s vision of Arlington and National Landing as an urban neighborhood with a better balance of office, residential and retail development, more and better public spaces and more and better access for pedestrians and cyclists.”
The park part of Metropolitan Park features a two-and-a-half acre public open space with a dog park and will host seasonal farmers’ markets on weekends. Amazon hopes it will be a central park for the community, in addition to a colossal workspace. In addition to office space, 50,000 square feet is set aside for retailers (Amazon already has 14 companies on board). The office area also includes a “dog wall” with framed photos of Amazon employees’ canine companions with their names and job title (what department their human parent works in).
Construction of Phase 1 began in early 2020 and continued over the past few years. However, the tech giant paused construction on Phase Two, Pen Place, earlier this year. While Arlington Economic Development Director Ryan Touhill had no updates on Pen Place’s development, he did cite Metropolitan Park as an example of HQ2 already “creating significant benefits for Arlington and the region.”
“Because of HQ2, the county and the Commonwealth accelerated funding for the expansion of transit options, our tech talent pipeline and new affordable housing opportunities,” he told Technical.ly via email. “And, Amazon is contributing to the community through significant investments in affordable housing, education and our nonprofit community.”
The announcement also comes a few days after the opening of Potomac Yard, the Metro station at National Landing (which will also have access to the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, once that’s completed). Touhill said that his employer will have further announcements on the region’s general economic development, including a possible rethinking of office building usage, “in the coming months.”
“Our top priority is to address the challenges in our local office market and we know this will require bold action and new ideas,” he said. “Our Commercial Market Resiliency Initiative has been a positive first step towards providing owners the flexibility to rethink how they use office buildings but we intend to bring additional policy recommendations forward this year. We are also focused on growing the number of companies in our target sectors by helping existing businesses expand and encouraging the growth of home-grown companies. Finally, we have numerous programs to support the continued recovery and growth of our small business, hospitality and creative sectors which are critical to building a diverse and resilient economy. ”
Until then, check out these photos of Metropolitan Park’s interior and exterior:
Knowledge is power!
Subscribe for free today and stay up to date with news and tips you need to grow your career and connect with our vibrant tech community.