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Public art at Amazon’s HQ2 takes shape as construction continues ahead of 2023 opening

An art installation in the shadow of the under-construction first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 is getting taller.

Last month, crews began laying the groundwork to build “Queen City” by Nekisha Durrett, per Clark Construction, the group building out the first phase, dubbed “Met Park” and located at the corner of 13th Street S. and S. Eads Street.

The tower, situated in the park south of 12th Street S., will pay tribute to the former Black community by the same name, which was located nearby before it was razed by the federal government to make way for the Pentagon.

“We are excited to give you a closer look at our progress over the last few weeks,” Clark Construction said in an email on Friday. “The structure is starting to take shape. The installation will stand approximately thirty-five feet tall, when complete.”

The structure’s reclaimed brick façade will highlight the area’s past as a hub for brick production, while park-goers will be able to explore its decorative interior.

Construction of “Queen City” is expected to deliver with the rest of Met Park in 2023, Richard said.

When asked about a timeline for completing the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2, Richard said, “We’ll share more information [about the opening] in the coming months.”

The structure will be located in Met Park’s forthcoming green space. There is disagreement, however, over what it should be named.

Survey respondents, area civic associations and the National Landing Business Improvement District voted to name the 2.5-acre green space “Met Park” — the old name for the grassy patch that Amazon is paying $14 million to revamp.

They voted for the name “Pen Place” for the park in the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2, also dubbed Pen Place.

A majority of members of the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board, however, recommend naming Met Park’s green space Elm Park and Pen Place’s, Fern Park.

The least popular options, both in the survey and in the HALRB meeting in August, were Goldfinch and Chickadee Park.

Meanwhile, Clark Construction reported that crews made “a lot of progress” on the park and surrounding buildings last month. In an update from Sept. 16, the company said crews poured concrete on the “overlook,” which is the highest walkable point inside the park.

“Rubber surfacing is being installed under playground equipment,” the email said. “Additionally, we recently received the first stone shipment for seat walls that will be featured along pathways throughout the park.”

This time last year, workers placed the timber first beam in Met Park’s event center and began pouring the 10th floor of concrete.

This summer, Amazon announced four additional local businesses, including two restaurants, to open at Amazon HQ2. The tech company celebrated the “topping out” of Met Park in March.

The tech giant has, at this point, assigned “more than 5,000 employees” to its HQ2, Amazon spokeswoman Hayley Richard told ARLnow yesterday (Monday). It was first announced in April that Amazon had hired its 5,000th HQ2 employee.

To kick off the new school year, Amazon donated more than $250,000 to Arlington Public Schools and two D.C.-area nonprofits addressing food insecurity, to open food pantries at a handful of public schools in Arlington.

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