Utility work for HQ2’s stalled second phase set to start next week

The Helix, part of Amazon’s HQ2 Phase Two development at the PenPlace site (photo courtesy Amazon)

Some early utility work in anticipation of the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2 is scheduled to start next week.

The first phase of the massive office complex in Pentagon City opened last summer. The second phase, located across 12th Street S. from the first phase and known as “PenPlace,” is delayed indefinitely.

Despite work-from-home trends and the company cutting jobs, Amazon has said that it still plans to eventually move forward with PenPlace. The utility work is the first tangible sign of that commitment since the delay announcement.

“Planned construction at PenPlace consists of installing utilities around the site and within the street right-of-way to support the future development and in coordination with Arlington County’s Street Improvement projects,” said an email to the community from Clark Construction.

“Utility work will begin on March 18, 2024 along S. Fern Street, S. Eads Street, and 12th Street S. Traffic realignment on 12th Street S between S. Fern Street and S. Eads Street will be one of the first activities to occur in order to facilitate this work, at which time the sidewalk on the north side of 12th Street S will be closed,” noted the email, sent earlier this week.

Clark says work will take place “within the County’s permitted work hours of 7 AM to 9 PM (Mon-Fri) and 9 AM to 9 PM (Sat, Sun, and holidays).”

The Washington Business Journal first reported on the planned utility work. Amazon told the paper that it has “made ‘no changes’ to its hiring or construction plans.”

PenPlace is slated to include the distinctive, spiral “Helix” tower and a permanent location for Arlington Community High School.

Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said last year that the Board was told the delay in starting the PenPlace project would likely be about a year.

Garvey told ARLnow last night that, at this point, remains the expectation.

“We are not hearing anything new from Amazon about Phase II,” she wrote. “The expectation still is that they will move forward with Phase II this year. I believe they are evaluating how office space is being used post-pandemic to inform what they ultimately build.”

“In other words, as far as we know, nothing has changed,” she said.