Amazon completed the first phase of its $2.5-billion HQ2 in Crystal City, Va., this month, but the 2.8-million-sq-ft second phase remains on hold. The online retail giant is asking state officials to deliver the first round of incentive payments for the mega-development, sited across the Potomac River from the nation's capital.

Known as Metropolitan Park, phase one of Amazon’s second headquarters includes a 2.1-million sq ft office complex, more than 50,000 sq ft of retail space and businesses. The project also includes more than 175 native trees and plantings, and offers public art installations, walking paths, places to rest, a children’s garden and a play area. 

The completion of MetPark comes on the heels of an announcement in March that the 2.8-million-sq-ft PenPlace—including a distinctive 350-ft-tall helix-shaped tower—is delayed indefinitely. In March, Amazon also asked Virginia for nearly $153 million in state incentive payments, which would be the first funds to be paid out since the tech giant agreed in 2018 to build a headquarters complex in the state. 

The incentive deal Virginia used to lure Amazon to build a second headquarters to complement its original Seattle location comes with the expectation that Amazon will bring 25,000 jobs to Arlington County by 2038. Amazon, in turn, receives a $22,000 grant for each job.

John Schoettler, Amazon vice president of global real estate and facilities, said in a statement that the delay is unrelated to staff reductions announced by the company earlier this year.

As designed, PenPlace includes three 22-story office buildings to accommodate 13,000 employees. Pending approval by local officials, PenPlace could break ground as early as next year. Amazon says construction could be completed as early as 2025, while local officials reportedly say the project could last until 2035.

Open for Business 

In addition to providing office space for Amazon employees, Metropolitan Park benefits the wider Arlington community, Schoettler said in a statement, noting that the ground level of the project is open to the public. On nice days, Schoettler said garage doors open to reveal the building’s atrium with seating and access to a coffee shop.

Designed by ZGF Architects and developed by JBG Smith, Metropolitan Park was influenced by the natural beauty of Virginia and the unique history of the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region, Schoettler said.

“We are creating an open, thriving area that enhances Arlington’s National Landing business district with a new public park space, 14 locally owned small businesses, improved neighborhood connectivity, and other amenities encouraging activity 18 hours a day,” Schoettler said. 

Clark Construction Group started work on phase one in 2020. It includes two 22-story buildings—named Jasper and Merlin—each 327 ft tall. The  200,000 cu yd of concrete for the mid-rises is enough to fill the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool six times, Schoettler said.

Kate Bates, president and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce said Amazon has made good on promises to include local retailers and women- and minority-owned businesses in the project.  

“Amazon is not only stimulating the local economy, but also fostering diversity and inclusivity within the retail industry,” she said in a statement.

Christian Dorsey, the Arlington County Board chairman, said phase one brings the community closer to its vision of an urban neighborhood. He said in a statement that the project provides a “better balance of office residential, and retail development, more and better public spaces, and more and better access for pedestrians and cyclists.”