The skyline in Pentagon City, the strip of land bordered by Interstate 395, U.S. Route 1, and 15th Street in Arlington, VA, has seen a lot of changes since the start of the global war on terror. Where once there was only a shopping mall and a few apartment buildings, there is now a thriving “mixed use” community of retail, office space, and residential space.
The biggest change is yet to come, but we now know more about what it will look like.
On a block now covered mostly by old, worn out warehouses, which Amazon will rename “Metropolitan Park,” the internet giant will build HQ2, its new second headquarters. (The company also still insists on continuing to use “National Landing” for the combined Pentagon City, Crystal City, and Potomac Yards neighborhoods in Arlington and Alexandria, but no one else does).
We already knew the complex would feature two office towers. Now, thanks to a blog post from John Schoettler, the company’s vice president of global real estate and facilities, we have more details. And they’re pretty impressive.
Double the excitement
Someone at Amazon must like the number two. The two planned office towers will each stand 22 stories high, and hold a total of 2.1 million square feet of office space between them. For the record, while that’s impressive, it’s still not as large as the Pentagon’s 3.7 million square feet of office space.
“We plan to invest more than $2.5 billion dollars in building our campus over the next decade,” Schoettler wrote. That money will fund a lot of construction jobs, not to mention all the supplies it takes to fill buildings of that size. The buildings, of course, will be the workspace for 25,000 new employees, almost all of whom need desks, chairs, telephones, and computers.
Schoettler said that in Amazon’s home city of Seattle, they believe their $4 billion in investments in their facilities have created more than 53,000 jobs in addition to the roughly 50,000 native Amazon jobs created there in the last decade.
That’s a pretty big halo effect, and a good part of why so many cities wanted to be Amazon’s choice.
But wait, there’s still more
Not only will Amazon’s buildings hold its 25,000 employees, they will also feature 50,000 square feet of retail space—including a daycare facility “for area residents and Amazonians”— and more than an acre of public open space.
But the jewel in the crown is the fact that Amazon plans to build its new headquarters to LEED Gold standards. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council. It is designed to encourage developers to construct their buildings in a sustainable manner. Builders get credits for things like using sustainable materials, installing energy efficient lighting, and fixtures to reduce water usage.
Even if you’re a climate change skeptic, there’s nothing wrong with saving water and energy.
LEED Gold is the second-highest certification offered, and it usually doesn’t come cheap. In addition to the $20,000 to $60,000 in application costs, LEED Gold can add, by some estimates, as much as five percent to the overall cost of construction. In Amazon’s case, that would mean that achieving LEED Gold could cost the company an eye-popping $125 million.
That’s a powerful statement about Amazon’s commitment not just to Virginia, but to the planet.