Amazon Opens Second Headquarters In Virginia

Amazon (AMZN) on Thursday officially inaugurated its second headquarters, known as HQ2, in Arlington, Virginia.

The plan for a second headquarters was first announced in 2017, during the tenure of Amazon’s founder and former CEO, Jeff Bezos. The opening of HQ2 coincides with a challenging period for the e-commerce giant, as it navigates the aftermath of the pandemic and copes with the need to downsize its corporate workforce, which has led to 27,000 layoffs.

However, Amazon Vice President of Economic Development Holly Sullivan emphasized that HQ2 is not merely an expansion for the company. Instead, she views it as a fulfillment of Amazon’s commitments, stating, “Today, we delivered on our commitment.” According to Sullivan, HQ2 will significantly enhance Amazon’s efficiency, particularly in terms of workflow across different time zones, as it eliminates the reliance on time zone constraints.

The newly constructed facility, called Metropolitan Park, encompasses 2.1 million square feet of office space, a 2.5-acre park, and 50,000 square feet of retail space, which will be occupied by local businesses such as a dog daycare and a taqueria. The campus consists of two 22-story buildings named Jasper and Merlin, designed with a focus on sustainability.

While the official opening took place on Thursday, Metropolitan Park has been gradually opening in phases over the past few weeks. Merlin, for example, has been operational for approximately three weeks. On the opening day, 3,000 employees were welcomed into the offices at HQ2.

The concept for HQ2 was developed before the onset of the pandemic and the subsequent rise of remote work. To address the changing work environment, Amazon incorporated features in the design to cater to the increased need for collaboration spaces. Sullivan highlighted the presence of central floors and breakout rooms in the building layout.

The company plans to bring a total of 8,000 employees to HQ2, all of whom will be locally hired from the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas. Sullivan mentioned that hiring is progressing ahead of schedule, indicating the positive momentum for the new headquarters.

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