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What Recession? Amazon’s Second HQ Is Still On Track, For Now

The recent surge in tech layoffs and softening in office demand isn’t slowing down Amazon’s plans for its high-profile second headquarters in Northern Virginia – for now, at least. Phase one of the mega-development, known as HQ2, is scheduled to debut this summer, and Amazon has hired more than 5,000 employees to work at its leased office space in the development. Amazon plans to eventually add 25,000 new jobs in HQ2’s neighborhood, branded as National Landing.

Arlington, Virginia, won the prized bid for HQ2 in 2018, and work began on the development just months before the onset of the pandemic. Despite the challenging economic conditions, Amazon has yet to make significant changes to its headquarters plans. The company aims to add roughly five million square feet of office space to Crystal City and Pentagon City, where HQ2 will be located, even though both neighborhoods have seen office vacancies sharply rise.

Amazon’s steady pace for the HQ2 development contrasts with other tech giants who have been pulling back on office space. Google announced it expects a $500 million hit in the first quarter to shrink its office footprint. Meanwhile, Microsoft recently stopped work on a 90-acre office campus in Atlanta. In early January, Microsoft and Amazon also announced layoffs that totaled more than 28,000 employees. Amazon’s HQ2 plans have attracted many developers, but given the current economic uncertainty, it wouldn’t be a shocker if plans changed.

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