Amazon suspends construction of second headquarters in Virginia

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is suspending construction on its second headquarters in Virginia after the biggest round of layoffs ever in the history of the company and the changing landscape of remote work.

The Seattle-based company is delaying the start of construction on PenPlace, the second phase of its Northern Virginia headquarters development, according to a statement from John Schotler, Amazon’s head of real estate. He said the company has already hired more than 8,000 employees and will welcome them to the Met Park campus, the first phase of the development, when it opens this June.

“We’re always evaluating space plans to make sure they meet our business needs and to create a great employee experience, and because Met Park will have room for more than 14,000 employees, we’ve decided to move the groundbreaking PenPlace (second phase HQ2) a little off,” Schoettler said.

He also emphasized that the company remains “committed to Arlington” and the local region.

In February 2021, Amazon announced plans to build the eye-catching 350-foot Helix Tower, which will anchor the second phase of its redevelopment plans in Arlington. New office towers were expected welcome more than 25,000 workers when completed. Amazon spokesman Zach Goldstein said those plans have not changed and that the construction suspension is not a result of — or indicative of — the company’s latest job cuts, which have affected 18,000 corporate employees.

The job cuts were part of a wider cost-cutting move to reduce a growing workforce more sluggish sales and fear of a potential recession. Meta, Salesforce and other tech companies, many of which have continued to hire people over the past few years, are also cutting their workforces.

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