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Potential Designs for Park Next to HQ2 Revealed

(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) The well-known design firm working to reimagine Metropolitan Park in Pentagon City has revealed some of its initial design concepts.

James Corner Field Operations, the firm behind New York City’s High Line, presented the designs in a virtual public meeting last week, alongside representatives from Amazon — which is footing the bill for the design work and park renovations — and Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

The current park, nestled in the middle of a group of apartment building and Amazon’s future HQ2, is largely flat grassy spaces, alongside trees, roads, and sidewalks. Its primary users are the apartment residents and their dogs; Amazon is planning to use part of the park for construction staging.

With Amazon moving in in a few years, however, it’s set for some big upgrades.

“As Amazon has said from the outset we want our Arlington HQ to become a destination that will draw people in, meet the needs of the neighborhood and our employees, and help build a sense of community,” said Brooke Oberwetter, Head of Community Affairs for HQ2. “I’m excited about the design concepts that are being put forward for consideration… with your feedback and ideas we can make sure this amazing space is an asset for the entire neighborhood for years to come.”

There were two overall design themes presented: “social gardens” and “the forest walk.” Some of the potential park features include:

  • A central lawn could host 500-1,000 people for events like movie nights
  • A children’s garden near HQ2 daycare center
  • A fitness garden with exercise opportunities
  • A game lawn with lawn bowling, bocce and badminton
  • A dog run for both large and small dogs
  • A hammock garden
  • A play garden
  • A community garden and orchard table for outdoor dining among fruit trees
  • A cafe terrace and culinary garden with outdoor dining and restaurants in front of one of the HQ2 buildings
  • A main promenade, that’s more of a meandering path in the “forest” design
  • Several pieces of public art, some of which might be along a shady and meandering art walk
  • A large shade trellis that can be used for festivals, markets and a banana stand

A survey conducted as part of the design process found that the top five park uses requested by residents were “sit and lounge,” “enjoy nature,” “stroll and walk,” “attend events,” and “dine and drink.”

The designs call for the removal of on-street parking spaces and “redundant” sidewalks from the roads that run through the park, and the addition of new trees and vegetation. With that and an expansion of the park into part of the HQ2 property, the new Metropolitan Park would have more than 100,000 square feet of space, according to the presentation.

“Hundreds of new trees and plants… will radically transform [the park’s] capacity to sequester carbon, offer urban habitat, shade and surfaces for the absorption of stormwater, among many other environmental benefits,” the presentation touted.

The final design will be an amalgamation of the two themes, based on feedback the designers receive from a new public survey.

“By sharing these two schemes it is not our intention that we pick one and move forward but that we take the best aspects of each and combine them into a different third final scheme that best reflects your values and aspirations for a future Met Park,” said a representative of the design firm.

The “refined plan” is set to be revealed on June 10 in another online presentation, with additional refinements made through July. The County Board is expected to vote on the final plan by September.

A video of the presentation is below.

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