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Amazon delays groundbreaking for HQ2’s second phase

Editor’s note: This story is developing and will be updated.

Amazon has delayed the groundbreaking of the second phase of its $2.5 billion headquarters project in Arlington, Virginia, the company confirmed to Construction Dive. Amazon spokesperson Rachael Lighty said timing on Phase 2’s groundbreaking is still to be determined, but that pre-construction work will move ahead this year. 

The company confirmed that work has not been paused on the first phase of the project, which is due to be complete in June. Lighty said the company is still evaluating its space needs, and no changes to the project’s second phase have been determined at this time.

The move, announced Friday, comes in the wake of the company pausing warehouse and fulfillment center construction at facilities across the country.

The delay is a result of the abundance of space at Met Park, the first phase of the project, said John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president of World Wide Real Estate and Facilities, in an email. 

“We’re always evaluating space plans to make sure they fit our business needs and to create a great experience for employees, and since Met Park will have space to accommodate more than 14,000 employees, we’ve decided to shift the groundbreaking of PenPlace (the second phase of HQ2) out a bit,” Schoettler said.

Phase 1 is being developed by Bethesda, Maryland-based REIT JBG Smith and built by Bethesda-based contractor Clark Construction. It will feature two 22-story LEED-Platinum office buildings, as well as 50,000 square feet of retail space — leased with a focus on local small businesses — and a 2-acre public park on the central green.

Baltimore-based Whiting-Turner is the general contractor for the second phase of the project. When completed, Phase 2 is expected to include a 350-foot-tall glass structure known as The Helix adorned with trees and native foliage as the centerpiece, along with three 22-story office towers surrounded by retail buildings, woodlands, an amphitheater, a dog run and large areas for bicycle parking. 

Clark Construction, JBG Smith and Whiting-Turner did not provide comment by publication time.

The project in Arlington, just outside Washington, D.C., is Amazon’s second U.S. headquarters. The other is in Seattle.

The delay is not the first for the tech giant. Last month, Amazon said it had 99 properties that have been either delayed, closed or canceled, totaling nearly 32.3 million square feet of real estate. This is on top of the scores of layoffs the company has undertaken in recent months, including an 18,000 job slash in January.