A look back at 2019, the year of Amazon’s HQ2

A little over a year ago, Amazon announced Northern Virginia would be home to its second headquarters, and a surplus of changes have occurred throughout the region ever since.

tall buildings with 18th street sign
Crystal City is now known as the new home of Amazon HQ2. (Photo by Aaron Spicer)

Right before the start of 2019, tech giant Amazon announced it would add a second headquarters in Northern Virginia, causing both excitement and concern about what the move will do to the region’s economy. 

Now, as we enter into 2020, we take a look back at the progress Amazon has made in the project, the changes Arlington County has implemented and what exactly is going to happen next. 

November 2018

  • Amazon announces the addition of HQ2 in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, bringing with it 25,000 jobs (on top of the more than 8,500 employees already in Virginia) at average salaries of $150,000.
  • Virginia Tech University announces it will build a $1 billion Innovation Campus for grad students on the same day Amazon announced the location of HQ2. 
  • The contractor of the tech mogul’s project is JBG Smith Properties. 

Winter 2019

  • Home sales in Northern Virginia rose 5.4% in December, compared to the same time period in 2017, boosted by a 28% increase year-over-year in Arlington and Alexandria, per the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. The impending arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 is believed to be a big driver of those numbers.

Spring 2019

  • Various public transportation improvement projects come into fruition as a result of the expected influx of people on the roads and transportation system. Projects include adding two-way traffic to Route 1 and the addition of a new east entrance to the Crystal City Metro station, which is now in the concept design phase.
  • Amazon submits its first plans for HQ2 to the Arlington County board for approval in March, 2019. The plans reveal a pair of 22-story buildings at Metropolitan Park that will take up about 2.1 million square feet. Below the buildings, there will be a parking garage, according to the plans. 
  • Arlington County Board approves $23 million in grant money to Amazon, spread across 15 years. 
  • Amazon officially signs the leases of three Crystal City sites: 241 18th Street South, 1800 South Bell Street and 1770 Crystal Drive. 

Summer 2019

  • Virginia Tech decides on Alexandra’s Potomac Yard, which is about 2 miles south of the new headquarters in Crystal City, for the location of its Innovation Campus. The campus is currently in its planning phase. 

Fall 2019

  • The Seattle-based company hosted the first of its Amazon Career Days on Sept. 17, in an attempt to fill the first round of jobs before even breaking ground on HQ2. 

December 2019

  • On Dec. 14, the Arlington County board approved Amazon’s first new construction plan, paving the way for the start of work on two towers in Pentagon City, according to the Washington Business Journal
  • Amazon contributes $20 million to Arlington’s affordable housing loan fund. 
  • Amazon plans to invest close to $14 million in expanding Metropolitan Park, adding 36,000 square feet of open space. 
  • About 400 jobs with HQ2 have been filled. 
  • Here’s a look at the latest developments coming to Arlington as a direct result of the much-anticipated HQ2.

Looking Ahead

  • Construction for the Metropolitan Park portion of the HQ2 project will begin in the middle of 2020, with eventual completion in early 2023. 
  • Eastern entrance to the Crystal City Metro station is in the concept design phase, set to be complete at some point this year. 
  • Traffic patterns will be reconfigured throughout the area, in an effort to improve connectivity between Crystal City and Pentagon City. 
  • Amazon’s 10-acre second phase of new development in Pentagon City at Pen Place is not expected to open until 2025 at the earliest. 

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