It appears another new restaurant is coming to Amazon HQ2.
Makers Union has applied for a Virginia ABC permit for a location inside Amazon’s second headquarters at 510 14th Street S. in Pentagon City.
The pub is owned by the local restaurant group Thompson Hospitality, which also operates Matchbox, Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, Wiseguy Pizza, and a number of other local restaurant concepts.
This would be the second location of Makers Union, the first location of which is in Reston. The menu consists of gastropub-styled lunch with more upscale choices for dinner.
ARLnow has reached out to Thompson Hospitality to confirm the opening and other details but has yet to hear back as of publication. Eater reported last year that the company was “in talks with Amazon to put some of its restaurants into HQ2.”
Reston-based Thompson Hospitality launched three decades ago with the purchase of several Bob’s Big Boys. It has since become a nearly billion-dollar company, with most of its restaurants still in the D.C. area. The group has recently added locations in Florida and Ohio, with more expansion potentially on the way.
Locally, it recently opened a couple of new restaurants in McLean.
Over the last year, Amazon has announced a slew of new businesses and restaurants that are coming to the first phase of the company’s second headquarters, dubbed Metropolitan Park.
Many of them are local, including Peruvian Brothers, Good Company Doughnuts, Conde’s Bike Shop, Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream and Taqueria Xochi.
Amazon’s Metropolitan Park office complex is on track to open this summer along with many of the businesses. However, the second phase of the company’s massive Pentagon City presence is currently on “pause.”
Taqueria Xochi and Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream are among another group of local businesses that are set to move into Amazon’s HQ2.
Amazon announced today that four more businesses will be opening up in Pentagon City, in the forthcoming first phase of the company’s second headquarters dubbed Metropolitan Park.
The group includes Westover-based Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream, Alexandria-based Mae’s Market, popular D.C. taco spot Taqueria Xochi, and an outpost of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Arlington, which is based in Virginia Square.
All of the businesses are planning to open up this summer, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to ARLnow, along with the rest of “Met Park.”
This new shop will be Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream’s third location. It originally just had a shop in Westover Village before expanding to Vienna a year ago.
“You know, we present ourselves as your friendly neighborhood ice cream shop. We are ingrained in the Arlington community,” co-owner Toby Bantug said in a press release. “When we heard that Met Park’s focus was going to be on giving local community businesses expansion opportunities, we knew it aligned with our philosophy. It goes hand in hand.”
MoCA Arlington, the county’s preeminent art museum, is opening an “Innovation Studio” at Amazon HQ2.
This will be “where the public can experience the artistic process directly by interacting with artists and making art themselves,” said Amazon’s press release. The space will offer artists talks, public programming, and a museum retail store.
“When the organization was established, one of MoCA Arlington’s founding principles was to connect the community to contemporary art and artists,” said MoCA Arlington Executive Director Catherine Anchin. “This continues to be the mission that guides us today. Next year, we’ll celebrate our 50th anniversary, and our new location in Met Park will help us reach more of the county’s residents and visitors, providing a venue to celebrate the energy and creativity of both artists and the community.”
The coffee shop and cafe Mae’s Market, which opened in Old Town Alexandria in 2021, is also expanding with a second location inside of the new office complex. It’s owned by Nicole Jones, who also runs Del Ray’s Stomping Ground but it will be shuttering this month and turned into a taqueria.
The Amazon HQ2 shop will be the same concept as its original Mae’s Market in Old Town, per the press release.
Finally, popular D.C. fast-casual taco eatery Taqueria Xochi is making its move across the river with its inaugural Arlington location at Amazon HQ2. Launched by two chefs who cooked at celebrity chef José Andrés’ restaurants, it earned rave reviews when it first opened on U Street NW in 2020.
“Our dream when we opened the first Taqueria Xochi location was to bring authentic Mexican food to the D.C. area,” said co-owner Teresa Padilla. “Our tacos, how they are served, the simple ingredients, and the bold flavors are the same you would find on a trip to Mexico. To launch this second location at Amazon’s HQ2 is an expansion of that dream.”
These four new businesses joins a number of others that have previously announced their moves into the complex along S. Eads Street.
The already-announced businesses include Peruvian Brothers, Good Company Doughnuts, District Dogs, and Conte’s Bike Shop. Some are expected to open in the coming months, with the HQ2 complex along S. Eads Street wrapping up construction and set to open as soon as May.
Conte’s Bike Shop could open later this month in Pentagon City, perhaps making it the first business to open at Amazon’s new HQ2.
The nearly seven-decade-old, Virginia-based bike shop is planning to open its newest location inside of the still-under-construction office complex at 1350 S. Eads Street late this month or in early May, manager of strategy and operations George Lee told ARLnow. It will be situated adjacent to Good Company Doughnuts, which is set to start serving later in the summer.
If Conte’s Bike Shop meets that timeline, it will be the first business to open within the first phase of Amazon’s second headquarters, also known as “Metropolitan Park.”
The 4,000-square-foot store will be a bit different than other Conte’s locations, including the one in Virginia Square, in that it will feature a small cafe with complimentary coffee and will be focused “on being a start/stop/mid-ride point for cyclists with [Mt. Vernon Trail] access just a few blocks away,” per Lee.
It will also host “inclusive beginner-friendly group rides” and provide retail sales, repair services, and rentals like its other stores.
“It is a big deal for us as we are now the bike shop in the DC area with the best coverage of locations so customers are able to utilize services that come with bike purchases in any of our locations; we have a lot of customers in this area that used to travel 30-40 mins to get to a bike shop and now there will be one on their door stop,” Lee said.
This new location will be Conte’s second Arlington shop. The company also has stores in Alexandria, Vienna, and Falls Church. In total, the company has 21 locations in five states plus D.C.
Last May, Amazon announced that Conte’s and several other businesses were set to move into HQ2. Two months later, it announced that Peruvian Brothers, Good Company Doughnuts, and others would be joining them there as well.
“We are also humbled to have been selected by Amazon as a local… family business with deep history in the market as one of the most professional and approachable bike shops,” Lee said.
Conte’s hoped-for spring opening comes a bit sooner than Amazon’s planned summer debut of HQ2. Last month it was reported that the company was delaying construction of the second HQ2 phase — with the distinctive “Helix” tower — due to economic conditions and post-pandemic work patterns.
Three years ago this month, Amazon started setting the stage for construction of the first phase of its second headquarters.
Since then, construction work has continued on-pace, with banners across the Pentagon City site, located at the corner of 13th Street S. and S. Eads Street, heralding a 2023 arrival.
Now that 2023 is here, an Amazon spokeswoman says work on the Metropolitan Park or “Met Park” phase of HQ2 — comprised of two office towers and a $14 million public park renovation — will wrap up in time to open this summer.
“Construction is well underway and nearing completion at Met Park,” says Hayley Richard. “We’re excited to open Met Park and start welcoming employees, neighbors, and visitors to our offices and public park spaces this summer. We will share a formal date and more updates in the coming months.”
In this phase, a block of warehouses were torn down and two LEED Platinum towers totalling 2.1 million square feet are being built in its place.
“Inside both towers, crews are working their way up the building installing signage, furniture, and floor paint,” Clark Construction said in an email last week.
Several local businesses will be moving into the 65,000 square feet of street-level retail: a daycare and a spa, Arlington’s second Conte’s Bike Shop, a slew of restaurants and cafés, and District Dogs. It’s unclear if RĀKO Coffee will still be moving in after the company’s first location closed and its goods were auctioned off.
Nearby, Amazon is also turning a large patch of grass south of 12th Street S. into a park with lush, meandering paths, dog areas and public art. The art installation — “Queen City” by Nekisha Durrett — pays 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. The structure’s reclaimed brick façade will highlight the area’s past as a hub for brick production.
“We have started placing exterior brick on the Nekisha art sculpture, and have added fencing and lighting around the daycare center, and begun laying stone pathways,” said Clark Construction, which also filmed a tour of the under-construction park.
The number of current HQ2 employees working from home or from leased office space in Crystal City remains somewhere above the 5,000 mark. In September this year, the tech company told ARLnow that it had assigned more than 5,000 employees to HQ2, after it was first announced in April that it had hired its 5,000th HQ2 employee. Some 28 jobs are currently posted on its job board for Arlington.
That puts Amazon one-fifth of its way toward its promise to bring 25,000 jobs to its second headquarters, in divisions ranging from web services to retail to Alexa.
Amazon and other tech companies such as ride-sharing platform Lyft are seeing their upward trajectory falter after years of accelerated growth during the pandemic. Like other companies, Amazon intends to lay off workers and pare back on spending. Some 18,000 employees could be let go in a cost-cutting effort targeting its corporate ranks, human resources, Alexa and retail.
When asked if these economic conditions were impacting hiring at HQ2, Richard demurred.
“Regarding your other questions, while I don’t have anything to share on that story, what I can tell you is that our long-term intention and commitment to the communities where we have a presence, like HQ2, remains unchanged,” she said.
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.
The @ACHS_Key_Club members helping to restock the classroom bins of food from @FoodForNeighbor and @AmazonFresh @ACHSmavericks #serviceprojects pic.twitter.com/ZkjpdyIKGO
— Lara Macdonald (@LaraMacAPS) September 29, 2022
To address food insecurity in the @APSVirginia community, @AmazonFresh and @FoodForNeighbor are supporting our families by donating food and other essentials to brand new pantries in some of our schools. #APSisAwesome pic.twitter.com/rN7v6Q9VPu
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) September 20, 2022
A towering remembrance of the former Black community of Queen City is slated to be included in an Amazon-funded park next to HQ2.
Arlington’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) is set to review the proposed public art installation, from D.C. artist Nekisha Durrett, at its meeting tonight.
A presentation prepared for the meeting shows a 30 foot tall brick chimney stack, with the words “Queen City” written in brick, along the footpaths of the new Met Park in Pentagon City. The park is currently under construction after the County Board approved a $14 million, Amazon-funded renovation project two years ago.
The revamped park is expected to re-open at some point next year.
The proposed red brick structure, harkening back to the area’s past as a hub for brick production, will also include a decorative interior that park-goers will be able to freely enter.
Made with reclaimed bricks and illuminated by LED uplighting, the tower will seek to carry forward the legacy of the Black enclaves of Freedman’s Village and, more specifically, Queen City — two of several that dotted Arlington a century or more ago.
Freedman’s Village, founded on the former estate of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee during the Civil War, was closed by the federal government in 1900 and became part of Arlington National Cemetery. Queen City was founded nearby in response to the closure of Freedman’s Village.
But Queen City, too, would eventually be razed by the federal government — in 1942, to make way for the freeway network built around the newly-constructed Pentagon.
From the doctoral dissertation of Lindsey Bestebreurtje, Ph.D., a curator in the National Museum of African American History and Culture:
Together with the adjacent community of East Arlington, Queen City was located in south-eastern Arlington on flat land, prone to flooding from the nearby Potomac River, near several factories and along the Washington, Alexandria, and Mt. Vernon trolley line. Queen City was built around the Mt. Olive Baptist Church which had roots in Freedman’s Village. Saving one-fourth of an acre for the church, the remaining land was parceled into forty lots to be sold to church members leaving the Village. With small plots of 20 feet by 92 feet, this subdivision transformed the former farm land into a more dense and suburban environment. Many of the homes constructed by former residents of Freedman’s Village at this time were reminiscent of the simple clap-board houses they called home in the Village, making housing type another product of the Village’s diaspora.
By 1942 more than 200 working class families lived in modest but well-kept frame houses. Just as was the case in Freedman’s Village, where residents saw a thriving community, outsiders saw the black neighborhood as a ghetto. In January of 1942 construction began for the Pentagon’s road networks in the path of the communities. Properties were seized through [eminent] domain laws with modest payments. With this loss some community members left the area entirely, while other residents and institutions relocated to Arlington’s remaining black communities of Hall’s Hill, Johnson’s Hill, or Green Valley.
The dissertation notes that the destruction of the Queen City community was personally approved by the president at the time.
Members of the public have a chance to help name the parks at Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City.
Arlington County is encouraging residents to choose from a list of names or submit an option through an online survey.
The first and second phases of the company’s headquarters project are known as Metropolitan Park and PenPlace, respectively. The park at Metropolitan Park, which is identified as “south park” in the survey, is located south of 12th Street S., while the PenPlace park is to the north.
There are three proposed names for each of the parks, which only include green spaces and won’t change the names of buildings, the campus or neighborhoods.
Choosing simplicity, the Department of Parks and Recreation recommended Met Park and Pen Place as the names for each since they are familiar in the “development and planning context,” according to a presentation given to the Parks and Recreation Commission in June.
The department recommended foregoing the longer “Metropolitan Park” for the abbreviated version most people already use referring to the project — Met Park. And they recommended inserting a space to emphasize the word “place” in Pen Place.
The other options for each park are below.
- Pen Place
- Fern Park
- Chickadee Park
- Met Park
- Elm Park
- Goldfinch Park
The proposed bird names are a nod to the creatures that may be seen in the spaces — and which will benefit from the use of bird-safe glass in the building designs, according to the presentation. And the tree names refer to streets adjacent to each park.
After gathering public feedback, the County Board is set to approve the final park names in November.
Metropolitan Park’s public space, which Amazon is paying $14 million to revamp, is in the shadow of the under-construction first phase of company’s HQ2 and will total about 2.5 acres. The park plans include lush meandering paths, a central green for gatherings and events, tables for outdoor dining, two 2,000-square-foot dog parks, an edible garden and public art.
Meanwhile, a 2.75 acre public park is planned at PenPlace, featuring water elements, including a signature fountain, a central confluence and a stormwater meadow. The County Board approved the plans for PenPlace, the second phase of HQ2, in April this year.
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.
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.
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.
A new farmers market may be coming to Pentagon City.
On Saturday, April 17, the County Board is planning to hear a permit request from the National Landing Business Improvement District about holding an open-air farmers market at the plaza area in the northern portion of Metropolitan Park, about 2-3 blocks from the Pentagon City Metro station.
The farmers market would take place on Saturdays, April through November, from 8 a.m.-noon. However, the market would not start until June this year, National Landing BID spokesperson Ashley Forrester tells ARLnow.
The reason for the delay, writes Forrester, is so that the BID can do more planning in advance and set themselves “up for success in future years” for when there’s a new park.
Metropolitan Park is on the verge of getting a $14 million makeover courtesy of Amazon and its new, adjacent HQ2, with design work from James Corner Field Operations of New York’s High Line fame. That project is expected to be completed in 2023.
The market will be operated by Freshfarm Markets, which runs nearly 30 markets in the D.C.-area including four in Arlington.
If approved, the market would be able to accommodate up to 20 vendors, who would park along 13th Street S. and S. Fair Street.
The staff report notes that the area around Metropolitan Park contains several high-rise, multi-family apartment buildings, so they expect most patrons to the farmers market will likely walk or bike there.
The County Board will review the use permit for the farmers market again in a year, April 2022.
This additional market would give Arlington nine active farmers markets, a number of which have opened or will be opening in the coming weeks.
Pre-ordering is still being encouraged as a safety measure, but all the markets are open for in-person shopping. It’s a change from early last year when markets were briefly shut down due to the pandemic and, then, allowed to reopen only for pre-order sales.
Arlington County has kicked off the review process for PenPlace, the second proposed phase of Amazon’s HQ2.
For PenPlace, located at the intersection of Army Navy Drive and S. Eads Street, Amazon is proposing 3.3 million square feet of solar-powered office space divided among the lush, futuristic building, dubbed “The Helix,” and three, 22-story office buildings with ground-floor retail.
The 11-acre site, which could accommodate up to 16,000 employees, will also have 2.5 acres of public open space, three retail pavilions and child care. A network of 2,100 parking spaces and loading areas for trucks will all be underground.
And, of course, there will be the “The Helix,” the distinctive building described as “a 350-foot tall spiraling office building that recreates a climb in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
County officials say there will be numerous opportunities for virtual public engagement and are encouraging people to get involved in the process. The County Board is anticipated to hold a public hearing on PenPlace by the end of 2021.
“We have always had a highly engaged community and we’re proud of the valuable input that we use to fashion the best possible outcomes,” Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said during a meeting last night (Thursday) that kicked off the review process.
He added that Arlingtonians “are civically minded, they’re knowledgeable, and they so often bring us the best ideas that add to original plans that have been put forward.”
County Manager Mark Schwartz said the review process will resemble the process for Metropolitan Park — the first permanent HQ2 phase — which the County Board approved in December 2019 and is set to be complete in 2023. Located near S. Eads Street and 15th Street S., Met Park features 2.1 million square feet of office space across two towers and 2.5 acres of public park space.
“We are starting the process — there’s a road ahead of us,” Schwartz said. “It’s a proposed plan and we’re going to have a lot of conversations with the community.”
John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president for global real estate, said the public input for Met Park proved valuable as Amazon mapped out PenPlace.
“The PenPlace design plans build on the community input we received during the Metropolitan Park approvals to raise the bar even further on accessibility, design innovation and sustainability,” he said, adding that Amazon is aiming for LEED Platinum certification for its PenPlace buildings.
Over the course of the next 10 months, online engagement opportunities will be held at multiple points in the process.
In April and May, the Long Range Planning Committee will consider how Amazon’s project fits into the county’s plans for future development in the area and will take input from nearby civic associations, property owners and county commissions.
Then, the Site Plan Review Committee will take over, during which time the committee can ask Amazon to make changes based on their reviews and community feedback. After the SPRC, PenPlace will go to the Planning Commission before going to the County Board for approval.
Meanwhile, the Department of Parks and Recreation will lead a review of public spaces in the area as part of a Park Master Planning Process. Community members will also be able to provide feedback on this process during online engagement opportunities and through online questionnaires, county staff said.
At the county’s request, an in-depth multimodal transportation assessment is also ongoing, Gorove Slade Transportation Planner Dan VanPelt said. The principal focus will be weekday rush hour traffic, although some attention will be paid to weekend retail traffic, too, he said.
Amazon has unveiled plans for the PenPlace site in the second phase of its $2.5 billion HQ2 in Pentagon City, including a lush office building shaped like a double helix.
The company will build 2.8 million square feet of office space across three 22-story buildings, an amenity building with a community gathering space and daycare center, and three retail pavilions. The focal point will be The Helix: a 350-foot tall spiraling office building that recreates a climb in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
PenPlace will also have three acres of open space with a dog run and a 250-seat amphitheater, for public use.
Amazon will start filing designs and technical documents with Arlington County Tuesday morning, Amazon spokesperson Adam Sedó said during a call with journalists on Monday.
The tech giant aims to go before the Arlington County Board by the end of 2021, with construction starting in 2022 and ending in 2025, said John Schoettler, Amazon Vice President Global Real Estate and Facilities, during the call. He affirmed that so far, HQ2 remains on-schedule.
PenPlace is bounded by Army Navy Drive, S. Fern Street, 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street. Amazon owns the entire block after it bought a hotel on the site in September. The hotel is currently being torn down.
Schoettler said Arlington County has given Amazon more flexibility for this phase than for the first phase of development on the Metropolitan Park site, which includes two, 22-story concrete office buildings, retail and open space.
“The County Board told us for PenPlace, we really want you to push the envelope,” he said. “It really gave us a clean canvas to try new things.”
The Helix will be the highlight of the site and the tallest building, said Lead Architect Dale Alberda, who works for the international architecture firm NBBJ and helped to design The Spheres within the company’s Seattle headquarters. Throughout PenPlace, he said, the designs keep employees, who will number 25,000 across HQ2, close to nature and the community.
“Amazon has been challenging us to think about how people can connect to nature not just outside when the weather is good, but inside as well, so that it’s available all day, all the time,” Alberda said.
Schoettler said Amazon is also working hard to use sustainable energy. As part of its goal of LEED Platinum certifications — and to meet its pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040 — the buildings will be powered by a solar farm in southern Virginia.
The headquarters will feature one-quarter mile of new protected bike lanes and more than 950 onsite bike spaces as well as below-ground parking for about 2,100 cars and underground loading zones for trucks. There will also be a new bus platform on 12th Street S. near the main entrance to PenPlace.