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Sneak Peek: CE Returns to Amazon HQ2

Amazon's new second-headquarters facility is open for business—which brought us back to the multibillion-dollar megaproject for another tour.
By Grace Calengor
September 14, 2023
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“Come here on Saturdays, Sundays, the central green is packed with yoga, farmers markets, music.…” Jeff King, a Clark Construction Group vice president, isn't talking about Paris, New York or even Washington, D.C. He's describing the lush Metropolitan Park campus—aka Met Park—in the bustling heart of Arlington, Virginia, home to Amazon’s new HQ2 facility.

After a years-long, multibillion-dollar megaproject—chronicled at the halfway-point in a Construction Executive article—HQ2 is open for business. CE recently returned for a follow-up tour with King, seeing all the final details of the impressive build for ourselves, from dog parks to coffee bars to banana trucks—and, of course, the Amazon offices themselves.

HQ2's twin 22-story office buildings flank a 2.5-acre public park featuring a central green space filled with native trees and plants, an art installation, two outdoor dog parks, intertwining walking paths and more. The area pays homage not only to the site's identity prior to Amazon’s arrival, when it was already known as Met Park, but also to its residents even further back. The centerpiece of the Met Park green space is an art sculpture titled "Queen City" by Nekisha Durrett, a D.C.-based artist. The 35-foot-tall, 5,000-brick cylindrical tower is a tribute to the Black citizens of Arlington's Queen City neighborhood, who were displaced in the 1940s by the building of the Pentagon and its surrounding roadways. Inside the tower, visitors will find 903 tear-drop shaped bulbs suspended from the ceiling—representing the 903 displaced individuals. Durrett worked with 17 Black ceramicists from around the country to complete the piece.

The rest of the green space also houses small and large dog parks, a playground, a shaded seating area and many patio spaces leading up to the two office buildings. Upon entering the office buildings, visitors and employees are welcomed by an open-concept design and lots of foliage, plus a coffee bar—no explanation needed. The lower-level atrium is open to the public and, on especially nice days, also open to nature as garage doors roll up to let in the sunlight. A brief stroll up the first flight of stairs opens to a co-working/co-mingling space.

Then, behind the security entrance, employees file along to their offices. Should they ever need a mid-day break, HQ2's spacious terraces—some even complete with their own dog parks—boast loads of natural sunlight and more natural greenery. Employees will also have access to game rooms, arts and crafts labs, bike cages, locker rooms complete with showers and a parking garage outfitted with EV charging stations.

During our tour, King told us that building such an intricate project in the midst of an already-bustling metropolis required coordination. Clark had to consistently communicate with its subcontractors, designers, landscape architects and Amazon itself, as well as Arlington County and the more than 4,000 surrounding residents during each phase of the build. Plus, because Reagan National Airport sits just to the east of Met Park, the team had to alert the FAA to any and every tower crane installment, movement and removal.

CE explores these and other challenges with an in-depth interview with Jeff King in our upcoming September-October print edition. Don't miss it!

by Grace Calengor
Grace Calengor is associate editor of Construction Executive.

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