In a major turn of events, Amazon has paused construction of its sprawling second headquarters campus in Crystal City, Virginia, amid recent layoffs at the firm and leaders reexamining office needs due to remote work trends. The e-commerce giant’s head of real estate said it has stopped work on the project but is still committed to its investment in the area, where the company is planning to spend $2.5 billion and is expecting to hire around 25,000 workers. So far, the first phase of the HQ2 development, the 2.1 million-square-foot office development Met Park, is nearly done and will be completed and occupied as originally planned. The construction delay is expected to impact the next phase of the development taking shape nearby, which entails three office towers and a corporate conference center tower.
Amazon began the search for a second headquarters location back in 2017, in a closely-watched decision that led to fierce competition between cities across the country looking to lure the company in with tax breaks and incentives. After initially choosing Long Island City, Queens, then pulling out of that plan on Valentine’s Day in 2019, Amazon landed on Crystal City, just across the river from Washington, D.C. A deal with government entities in Virginia involved Amazon agreeing to around $800 million in tax breaks and infrastructure improvements in exchange for 25,000 jobs. The construction pause echoes similar moves from Amazon last summer, when the company announced it was halting construction on six planned office buildings in Bellevue, Washington and Nashville, Tennessee in order to better accommodate hybrid work.