A vibrant hub for Amazonians and the local community, Metropolitan Park features two 22-story office buildings (dubbed Merlin and Jasper), retail space for 14 locally owned businesses, and 2.5 acres of reimagined public space. Delivered on schedule for the first wave of Amazon team members to occupy the buildings in May, the grand opening of Metropolitan Park marked the culmination of a three-year construction effort.
When Amazon selected Arlington, Virginia, as the location of its second headquarters, the company was determined to deliver a campus that would attract top talent to the region, help make Northern Virginia a destination for business, and enhance the local community.
To achieve this vision, Amazon partnered with Clark, JBG Smith, ZGF Architects, and dozens of other designers and trade contractors to build the first phase of the company’s new headquarters, Metropolitan Park.
Being a great neighbor
Located in the heart of the bustling National Landing area of Arlington, Virginia, Metropolitan Park was a focal point for thousands of community members who lived and worked just steps from the jobsite. From groundbreaking through the grand opening, Clark worked closely with Amazon to deploy an intentional community engagement strategy to ensure transparency throughout the construction process, foster two-way communication with project neighbors, and cultivate excitement for the project as it took shape.
The Clark team’s efforts to minimize impacts on the surrounding neighborhood are exemplified by the pile-driving effort. The team commenced pile driving on the project in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic - just days after Arlington County issued its stay-at-home order in March 2020. With thousands of neighbors working from home, Clark investigated approaches to mitigating the noise impacts while maintaining the schedule. The team adjusted work start times to reduce early work hours and completed daily pile driving operations five hours earlier than allowed by permit. Clark communicated progress with nearby stakeholders through weekly neighborhood email updates and monthly property managers' meetings. Despite the reduction in work hours, Clark completed this challenging scope of work two weeks ahead of schedule.
“Building a relationship with the local community was a shared priority for both Clark and Amazon,” said Jeff King, Clark vice president and project director for Metropolitan Park. “Through virtual town halls, monthly community service activities, participation in local farmers markets, construction videos, our Clark Barks dog treat program, and more than 100 construction updates, we built a connection with project neighbors and positively impacted the Arlington community beyond the physical structures we delivered. I’m incredibly proud of what we were able to accomplish.”
Reducing carbon emissions before and after construction
Metropolitan Park sets an exemplary standard for green building as part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge commitment to meet net zero carbon by 2040 and 100% renewable energy use by 2030. Designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, Metropolitan Park runs with zero operational carbon emissions and is powered by 100% renewable energy. Sustainable elements – such sunshades, operable windows, low-flow fixtures, gas appliances, greywater and stormwater heat exchange systems, on-site bicycle storage, and 2.5 acres of outdoor terraces with native vegetation – are woven throughout the buildings.
To reduce embodied carbon, the team worked with concrete experts to devise a solution to build the concrete structures using low-carbon mixtures and incorporated CarbonCure, a process that introduces recycled carbon dioxide into fresh concrete to reduce its carbon footprint without compromising performance. The approach exceeded expectations, ultimately achieving at least a 15% reduction in embodied carbon in the concrete throughout the project over the baseline for the region.
Clark also executed a robust construction waste management plan for the project. 82% of all construction waste was diverted from landfills, including concrete, drywall, metals, wood, cardboard, and plastic, keeping more than 17,000 tons of material from entering landfills.
A world-class space for Amazonians
The Metropolitan Park buildings currently serve as home base to 8,000 Amazon employees and have the capacity to accommodate 12,500 employees as the company expands its local presence.
Merlin and Jasper’s curated, modern work and communal spaces are intended to spur collaboration and innovative thinking, two hallmarks of the multinational technology company. The buildings feature buzzing hubs called “centers of energy” where Amazon team members can gather for formal and informal interaction. Amazonians can have coffee or lunch, take a one-on-one meeting from a booth, or grab a seat to catch up on email.
Metropolitan Park also includes numerous transportation-related amenities for commuters, such as four levels of below-grade parking featuring 290 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and bike storage.
A true community asset
Amazon’s vision for its Arlington headquarters called for an open and welcoming neighborhood integrated with its surrounding community. This meant creating spaces and amenities that encourage activity 18 hours a day.
Metropolitan Park is home to a new 2.5-acre public space that features a dog park, recreation areas, seasonal weekend farmers markets, and more. Thoughtfully designed with more than 175 native trees and plantings, Metropolitan Park offers walking paths and places to relax. The park also includes public art installations, a children’s garden, and play area.
Beyond the open space, the ground floor of each office tower is open to the public and features 50,000 square feet of retail space for local small businesses. Meeting centers, including a 700-person space, are also available for community events.
On June 15, Clark Construction joined Amazon leaders, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Arlington County officials, and project stakeholders to commemorate the successful completion. At the grand opening ceremony, Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide economic development, commended the Clark team’s commitment to making Amazon’s vision a reality. “Clark’s commitment to safety and excellence is aligned with the values we hold close at Amazon. Over the past four years, the Clark team and their contractors have worked to build an incredible place for our employees, and our community partners, our neighbors."