2019 was a year of firsts for our Arlington HQ. We welcomed new Amazonians, formed partnerships with local organizations and businesses, and shared our bold plans to operate HQ2 on 100% renewable energy by 2030. As we look ahead to 2020, we’re excited to start construction on our first buildings and hear more from our neighbors on how our investments can benefit the entire community—and continue to hire.

Hiring and building HQ2
Amazon is no stranger to Virginia—we already have more than 10,000 employees who work in the Commonwealth. The main reason why we decided to locate our second headquarters in Arlington was the ability to attract world-class talent. We started hiring for HQ2 in April, and today we have more than 400 employees working from our leased office space on Crystal Drive, 18th Street S and South Bell Street in Arlington. These employees are tackling exciting projects across Amazon, such as cloud computing and new Alexa features for customers. With more Amazonians expected to start after the New Year and hundreds of open roles on Amazon.jobs, we are well on our way to 25,000 employees over the next decade.

With all these new employees, we need a place to grow. In May, we filed our first development plans for the first phase of new HQ2 development at Metropolitan Park, which will hold approximately half of our future 25,000 employees. We recently received approval on our site plans from the Arlington County Board, and we expect to begin construction in early 2020. This approval capped a months-long process of working closely with a wide range of community stakeholders with a stronger project as a result. When complete in 2023, Met Park will feature two LEED Platinum buildings, a significant amount of new neighborhood retail, a daycare center, 2.5 acres of new and renovated public open space, over half a mile of new protected bike lanes, and a 700-person meeting center that will be shared with the County and community groups at no charge. Additionally, as part of our community benefits commitment, we will make a $20 million contribution to Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund to support the creation or preservation of affordable housing units. This is largest developer contribution to the Fund in its history, and we plan to continue efforts to ensure the entire community, including the most vulnerable residents, share in the opportunities that come with our new headquarters.

Engaging in the community
Amazon is continuing to learn about and look for ways we can make an impact in the Arlington community. Over the last year, we have met with more than 100 non-profit and community groups, civic associations, and educational institutions to share our plans and lay the groundwork for successful community and workforce development partnerships. These conversations have led to strategic investments in local non-profits, including the Arlington Community Foundation, Carpenter’s Shelter, and La Cocina, VA, and partnerships with organizations like Equality Virginia, the Arlington Business Improvement District, and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. We’re excited to call Arlington home, and our employees are too—Amazonians have been out and about participating in events like the Arlington Turkey Trot, supporting the Marine Corps Marathon, and hosting a World Series watch party for Arlington residents.

We’ll continue to build these relationships in the months and years ahead through our dedicated Arlington community engagement lead and Amazonians eager to volunteer in the communities where they live and work. In 2019, Amazon donated more than $4 million to local organizations addressing housing affordability and homelessness, hunger, STEM education, and more. More than $100,000 of this amount was directed by local employee involvement in more than a dozen nonprofit organizations.

We are also excited by the response from the education community looking to partner with us on preparing their students for the jobs of today and tomorrow. AWS Educate—Amazon’s global initiative to provide students and educators with the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning—recently partnered with George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College to develop cloud curriculum-based associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs. These programs will provide a clear path to high-demand careers in cloud computing with Amazon Web Services, its partners, customers, and employers throughout Virginia who have a growing need for tech talent with cloud-related skills. Additionally, our Amazon Future Engineer program is funding computer science classes and robotics programs in more than 45 schools across Virginia. It’s our hope that we can help inspire the next generation, and especially young people from underserved and underrepresented communities, to try computer science.

Developing a sustainable headquarters
In Arlington, our sustainability goals go beyond achieving LEED Platinum certification for our buildings. At Amazon, we’re thinking big about how we can help create a sustainable future. In September, we pledged to be net-zero carbon by 2040—10 years ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement. As part of our goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2030, we are working to secure net-new, non-carbon, renewable energy to fully power our Arlington headquarters by 2030. We are close to completing an agreement on a large solar project that will be located in Virginia, within the local electricity system. Once this project is complete, we will continue to look for ways to reduce our environmental impact in Arlington.