First-phase towers of Amazon HQ2 at Metropolitan Park approved

Open spaces, mixed-use retail and towers to transform 6.5 acres of National Landing

Two new 22-story towers will emerge in Metropolitan Park as part of the first phase of Amazon HQ2. The buildings, open spaces and retail development adds up to 6.5 acres and were approved by the Arlington County Board this month, according to its announcement. The project also includes $20 million in an affordable housing contribution. The Board has discretion over the use of the contribution and it can receive it in the form of new affordable units built around the neighborhood.

Mixed use space totaling 2.1M square feet will arrive at 1232-1450 South Eads Street and 501 and 525 15th Street South. In addition, two 22-story towers will be nestled between South Eads Street and an expanded public open space within Metropolitan Park. Expect to see improved public open spaces, two new public streets, sidewalk and streetscape improvements, street/bicycle/transit improvements; retail space and a shared, underground parking garage.

The two 22-story towers are designated to achieve LEED Platinum and Energy Star certification. The entire Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yards neighborhood are being transformed by the arrival of Amazon’s workers. JBG Smith is a co-developer of the National Landing office space. It has also been one of the developers that has redeveloped adjacent housing and office space.

In October, JBG Smith filed plans to develop a site with five residential buildings and one office building, according to a Washington Business Journal report. These are primarily located at 2000 and 2001 S. Bell St., 223 23rd St., 2300 and 2525 Crystal Drive, noted the Journal. The site spans 2.6 million square feet and is reported to be on the northernmost redevelopments in the National Landing Area, and one half-mile from the Crystal City Metro.

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JBG Smith is also expanding the River House Apartments site and has additional development in the pipeline that helps rack up the total tally to 6.9M square feet. Two-thirds of this total is dedicated to residential and the remainder is for office redevelopment, according to the report. An Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and major new retail expansion was approved one year ago. Much of this redevelopment will reimagine the look of the area in just a few years.

The Witmer Tower is another new residential development that is transforming the Pentagon City skyline. Currently leasing, The Witmer offers studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom luxury apartments. Developed by Kimco Realty, the community is another big bet on the expected economic surge in National Landing and the massive employee influx.

Also, WMATA broke ground on a new metro station at Potomac Yard, which will open in 2022 and cost $322M, according to BisNow. There is a growing concern that the National Landing area will face transportation challenges as the number of workers increases by the thousands. The new station contributes to future traffic congestion. An example of the need: Virginia Tech plans a $1B expansion In Potomac Yard, notes BisNow, as part of the agreement to land Amazon HQ2.

There are also long-standing residents that will be impacted by all the changes. Arlington County accepted a $200,000 federal grant for workforce redevelopment to those who are impacted. The County is looking to fend off residential displacement as a result of Amazon’s arrival.

Photo credit: ZFG Architects via Arlington County

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