Where is Amazon Headquarters? Six years ago, Amazon kicked off a sweepstakes-style contest in search of where to build a second headquarters. The competition drew bids from 238 states, provinces and cities vying to be the next anchor for the nation’s dominant online retailer and second-largest private employer.
This week, Amazon formally opened the doors of the first part of its new East Coast headquarters, dubbed HQ2, in northern Virginia. The first phase, called Metropolitan Park, includes two 22-story office towers, which can accommodate 14,000 of the 25,000 employees Amazon plans to bring on in Arlington. About 2,900 employees have already moved in, and Met Park will be occupied by 8,000 employees in the fall.
Amazon built its headquarters in Seattle in 1994 partly because of the area’s deep pool of tech talent and the presence of Microsoft
in nearby Redmond, Washington. The company’s Seattle campus now spans tens of millions of square feet across more than 40 office buildings, and the greater Puget Sound area has 65,000 corporate and technical Amazon employees.
Where is Amazon Headquarters?
Amazon’s original headquarters in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, where the company holds office space in over 30 buildings. Due to the tech giant’s dominance of the area, many Seattle locals now call the area “Amazonia.”
Amazon’s Seattle presence has changed the city’s landscape in profound ways. Many long-term independent businesses have closed in the area, and housing prices and traffic have skyrocketed.
Where in Virginia is Amazon HQ2?
Amazon’s secondary headquarters is located in the National Landing neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. The first phase of the project, known as Metropolitan Park, opened in May of 2023.
The campus, which should be ready for 8,000 employees this year, is made up of two 22-story towers with over 2.1 million square feet of space. Metropolitan Park also features 50,000 square feet of retail space, plus ground-level public space and a 2.5 acre public park with a playground, dog park, and farmer’s market.
In March 2023, Amazon paused HQ2 construction, attributing the decision to a commitment to cost-cutting across the company. Earlier that year, Amazon layoffs wiped out 40,000 jobs, and some of the company’s cashierless Amazon Go stores were shuttered.
Why did Amazon choose Virginia for its second headquarters?
In 2017, Amazon invited North American cities to bid to house its second headquarters. It promised to invest $5 billion to build the new HQ and create 50,000 jobs.
More than 200 cities across the US and Canada vied to be the home of Amazon’s new headquarters. After about a year of lobbying and deliberation, Amazon announced that it would split its second HQ — and the 50,000 jobs and $5 billion — between two cities: Arlington, Virginia, and Queens, New York City.
The decision prompted an immediate HQ backlash, particularly from NYC locals and public officials. Their concerns included the potential increase in congestion, cost of living, and construction disruptions, as well as the billions in tax incentives New York City and state would be giving Amazon.
Amazon eventually canceled its New York HQ2 plans and moved forward only with its Arlington HQ.
Amazon workers, and a familiar energy, return to Seattle HQ as new in-person office policy kicks in
It’s hard to remember after three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work, an empty downtown, and start-and-stop policies for getting back to the office. But Amazon’s headquarters campus in Seattle has a familiar feel this week thanks mainly to the return of its people.
Seattle’s perfect spring weather might like a word with Andy Jassy about who should really get credit for making the South Lake Union neighborhood look alive again. As the Amazon CEO’s return-to-office mandate officially kicked in, requiring corporate and tech workers to work at least three days per week in person, the warm sunshine seemed to add an air of enthusiasm.
The sidewalks, bike lanes and plazas around Amazon’s office towers and The Spheres were buzzing with employees on Wednesday. Many carried food from nearby restaurants and food trucks to dine outdoors or head back to their offices. Dogs were everywhere again, including in the small dog park beside The Spheres. Like their humans, they all seemed to be getting reacquainted with one another.
People worked on laptops or chatted on phones seated in colorful Adirondack chairs near the Banana Stand as an endless stream of people grabbed free fruit. A sign and free stickers at the stand proclaimed #MissedYouBunches.
Two women hugged as they greeted. “How are you?” one asked. “It’s been a while,” the other said. “This is my first day back.”
Traffic on 6th Avenue was noticeably heavier than in recent years and months as commuters waited in a long line to get into parking garages in the Doppler and Day 1 buildings. Large shuttle buses also dropped off employees.
A parking attendant working one garage entry said it was even busier on Tuesday, but that drivers probably figured out where they were supposed to be going by Wednesday. The attendant said he works a few hours in the morning and a few in the evening to “get ’em in and get ’em out.”
And GeekWire heard from others who were equally unhappy. They requested anonymity to speak freely without jeopardizing their jobs.
“My team is 90% remote, so going into the office for a specific two to three days a week is not productive,” one employee said. “All meetings are still being held via conference call.”
Another fan of working from home said that cutting out the commute into the office was “one way to create some semblance of work-life balance. Adding hours of unproductive commuting eliminates that.”
The back-to-office announcement was welcome news to small businesses when GeekWire visited several of them in the area a couple months ago, including Shannon Rau, owner of Martha’s Garden dog daycare and bar in South Lake Union.
Rau was surrounded by barking pups on Wednesday when GeekWire visited again to check on business.
“We’re getting a lot of dogs coming in,” she said. “A lot of new faces.”
Her hope is still that returning Amazonians will fill her happy hour bar the way the dogs have filled the daycare.
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