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Amazon HQ2 construction still on schedule, as work starts on revamped Metropolitan Park

Construction on the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City has reached a new milestone, as crews turn to revamping the adjacent green space.

Work on the office complex, located at the corner of 13th Street S. and S. Eads Street, remains on schedule, according to an Amazon spokesperson. The site is comprised of two, 22-story office buildings dubbed Met Park 6 and 7/8 and the forthcoming park area.

Clark Construction, which is overseeing the development, officially got started on the green space — also named Metropolitan Park — last week, according to an email the company sent Friday. Fencing around the site has been expanded to surround the existing park to maintain public safety during this work.

“We anticipate excavation activities will begin in the park area in mid-November,” the email reads.

The existing park space was mostly used as a place for dogs to run around and relieve themselves, though this summer it was home to a farmers market. The new $14 million park — designed by the firm behind New York City’s famous High Line — will feature more than two acres of public open space, including signature landscapes such as a forest walk, an edible garden and children’s play garden, as well as a dedicated dog run and community tables.

“Crews will excavate the existing park, removing 10,000 cubic yards of soil over the next several months,” Jeff King, Clark’s vice-president of construction, said in a video update last month.

This work will move from the edge abutting S. Fair Street to the edge bordering the office buildings, he said. This winter, crews will install drainage and irrigation systems and haul in new dirt to support the future park’s varied topography and vegetation.

“Our construction schedules time with planting seasons, with the first planting set to take place in spring 2022,” King said.

For dog owners nearby, the loss of the green space means frequenting other local parks.

“I know many of our neighbors use the park space daily,” King said. “We recognize that the shared community asset provides the space to walk your dogs, enjoy the outdoors and socialize.”

Knowing this, he said Clark Construction and Amazon spent several months this year sprucing up Virginia Highlands Park.

Clark Construction workers make improvements to Virginia Highlands Park (via Clark Construction)

King said the efforts were to ensure “it’s a great place and a respite for outdoor activities and community gatherings while met park is under construction.”

Amazon helped fund the creation of temporary dog parks at Virginia Highlands Park, along the 15th Street S. side of the park, which were installed earlier this year. Dog owners also have access to a few other parks within a mile of the fenced-off park, including Grace Murray Hopper Park (1401 S. Joyce Street), the temporary “Gateway Green” park (101 12th Street S.) and Long Bridge Park.

Area parks and their distance from Metropolitan Park (via Clark Construction)

Meanwhile, construction crews are completing one floor of the two office buildings about every week and a half, King said.

“Our crews have made significant progress on the site,” he said. “We anticipate topping both 22-story office buildings out in spring of 2022.”

Installation of the building’s façade will continue over the next 12 months, he said. Inside, crews are installing electrical and mechanical systems, sprinklers and drywall.

In its email, Clark noted there will be intermittent traffic stops in the coming weeks on the corner of S. Elm Street and 15th Street S. for deliveries.

Portions of 13th Street S. between S. Eads Street and S. Elm Street, as well as portions of S. Elm Street between 15th Street S. and 14th Street S., will be closed periodically to maintain concrete pump and truck access. Flaggers will assist with traffic flow, and road users will be able to access driveways, loading docks and entry points for adjacent buildings.

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