Amazon’s Virginia bummer

Amazon made Arlington, Virginia, a lot of promises with its HQ2. Those are on pause.

The ecommerce giant was flying high amid the pandemic as consumers flocked to online shopping. Now, CEO Andy Jassy is cutting costs, most notably by laying off 18k+ employees.

Amazon’s Virginia bummer

It’s also paused construction on HQ2, its second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, Amazon real estate chief John Schoettler confirmed to Bloomberg. Plus:

  • Last week, Amazon announced the closure of eight Go convenience stores across Seattle, NYC, and San Francisco.
  • In 2022, it announced plans to shutter its Amazon Pop Up, Books, and 4-star stores.
  • Also stopped are construction projects in Nashville and Bellevue, Washington.

In 2017…

… Amazon’s second HQ suggested a $5B+ construction investment and up to 50k high-paying jobs. Cities offered competing tax and other incentives. Columbus, Ohio, even vowed to lower its murder rate.

Amazon chose Arlington — which offered up to $550m in hiring incentives and a portion of its hotel tax — and NYC, though the latter was scrapped amid pushback.

Today in Arlington

Met Park, a two-tower complex that can accommodate 14k+ workers, is still scheduled to open in June. Amazon has hired 8k+ people in the Arlington area, and plans to hire 25k, per The New York Times.

On pause is PenPlace, a complex consisting of three office towers and a conference center.

Per Schoettler, Amazon remains committed to Arlington, but is “evaluating space plans to make sure they fit our business needs.”

Jassy has ordered Amazon employees back in the office three days per week, but 14k+ workers joined an internal Slack channel in protest. Broadly, workers are less inclined to value fancy office perks over flexibility.

Meanwhile: Amazon has provided no timeline for when it’ll pick up construction in Virginia yet, but its stock rose nearly 3% on the news. However, developer JBG Smith Properties saw an 8% dip — a record low, per Bloomberg. Ouch.

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