In the latest cost-cutting effort at the e-commerce and cloud company, Amazon has suspended construction on its second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
Amazon has about 8,000 employees at the site in Arlington, working on the already completed Phase 1 of a new campus called Med Park. Construction of the second phase, called Benplace, was slated to begin this year. The site will include three office buildings and a “helix,” a 350-foot corkscrew-shaped tower that will be the architectural centerpiece of the new office center — the largest outside of Amazon’s home city of Seattle.
The company said the suspension was not related to recent job cuts announced earlier this year, in which it plans to cut 18,000 people from its corporate workforce following years of rapid hiring.
“We’re always evaluating space plans to fit our business needs and create the best experience for employees,” John Schoedler, head of Amazon Real Estate, said in a statement Friday.
Amazon said it remains committed to the $2.5bn plan, which it expects will bring 25,000 workers outside of Washington DC by 2030.
The delay, known as HQ2, was first reported by Bloomberg, indicating that Amazon is tapping the brakes on years of heavy investment and expansion. It has also canceled or delayed other office programs in the U.S., and said it would have to wait to start some graduate programs.
Amazon’s decision to build a second major office complex outside Seattle sparked a bidding frenzy in 2018, with the e-commerce group promising that several cities should be considered as destinations for tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. Stonecrest, a town in Georgia, offered to change its name to “Amazon” if elected.
After making a shortlist of 20 cities, Amazon’s initial decision to split its proposal between Arlington and the neighboring New York City area of Queens drew heavy criticism and accusations. and other incentives.
Amazon dropped its New York plans after local opposition led by Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but said it would pursue plans in Arlington.
No date has been given for when construction will resume. However, the company has committed to several public utility projects that were slated to be completed by early 2025.
“As Med Park accommodates more than 14,000 employees, we decided to make Pennplace’s rejuvenation a little bit more,” Schoedler added.
“Our second headquarters has always been a multi-year project, and we’re committed to Arlington, Virginia, and the greater Capital Region — including investing in affordable housing, funding computer science education in schools across the region, and supporting dozens of non-local profits.[s].”