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Photos: Inside the Amazon HQ2 Construction Zone

The first phase of HQ2 is on track to finish in 2023.

The event center at Met Park, the two-building first phase of HQ2. Photographs by Daniel Swartz / National Landing BID.

On Wednesday, almost three years to the day after announcing Arlington as the home of HQ2, Amazon gave reporters and local officials an early look at the National Landing campus’s first phase —a pair of 22-story buildings called Met Park, as well as a two-acre public park—all slated to finish in 2023.

Construction of HQ2 began in 2020, and currently, there are nearly 1,000 workers on site. Their two main jobs at the moment: installing the facades of the office towers and building the park. When phase one is finished, it will comprise more than 2.1 million square feet, including 50,000 square feet of restaurants and retail. The park will bring a playground, farmers market, dog park, and other public amenities to the neighborhood. (Amazon employees, meanwhile, will have access to “dog terraces” on upper levels of the Met Park buildings, so they don’t have to descend all the way to street-level to give their pups a potty break during the workday.)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who attended Wednesday’s event, credited Amazon with revitalizing the neighborhood formerly known as Crystal City, and playing a major role in the record $77 billion in capital investment that has poured into the commonwealth over the last four years.

“Our economy, despite Covid-19, is doing very well. We’re in better shape now than we’ve been in a long time, certainly in my lifetime,” Northam said during an interview with Washingtonian. “I ran my campaign out of Crystal City. When you see it now, compared to back four years ago when I ran, it’s just a transformation.” Asked if it would be bittersweet to see HQ2 open under a Republican administration, Northam said: “Not at all. It’s more about Virginia. I’ve had good conversations with Governor-elect Youngkin. He’s got a business background, and I’m sure he’ll continue to be enthusiastic about the progress that we’re making.”

A view of the future two-acre park.

Amazon has committed to bringing 25,000 jobs to National Landing. At present, more than 3,500 Amazon employees are working in, or assigned to older, existing buildings there. The company is currently looking to fill 2,500 open positions.

HQ2’s first two retail tenants, petcare company District Dogs and coffee and cocktail spot RAKO Coffee, were also recently announced. Ironically (for, you know, an online-shopping behemoth) Amazon officials say that attracting small, local businesses is a key part of how they plan to turn National Landing into an 18-hour, mixed-use  neighborhood.

As for “the Helix” — you’ll have to wait until at least 2026 to see the most unusual of the HQ2 buildings come to fruition. The glassy swirl that many have likened to the poop emoji is part of phase two.

The buildings are getting clad in non-reflective glass to prevent birds from crashing into windows.
Met Park is expected to reach its final 22-story height in April 2022.


Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.