ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — Amazon said Friday that it’s ready to welcome more than 8,000 employees to its Met Park campus in June, but the next phase of HQ2 construction in Arlington is on pause.

The company said the shift in groundbreaking on PenPlace, Phase 2 of construction, wasn’t the result or indicator of job cuts.

John Schoettler, Vice President of Global Real Estate and Facilities explained in a statement to DC News Now that given the fact Met Park can accommodate more than 14,000 workers, Amazon decided to push back PenPlace’s groundbreaking:

We’ve already hired more than 8,000 employees in HQ2 and we’re excited to welcome them to our new Met Park campus this June. We’re always evaluating space plans to make sure they fit our business needs and to create a great experience for employees, and since Met Park will have space to accommodate more than 14,000 employees, we’ve decided to shift the groundbreaking of PenPlace (the second phase of HQ2) out a bit. Our second headquarters has always been a multi-year project, and we remain committed to Arlington, Virginia, and the greater Capital Region – which includes investing in affordable housing, funding computer science education in schools across the region, and supporting dozens of local nonprofits. We appreciate the support of all our partners and neighbors, and look forward to continuing to work together in the years ahead.

John Schoettler, Amazon Vice President of Global Real Estate and Facilities
Rendering of Met Park at Amazon HQ2 in Arlington County, Va. (Amazon)

Amazon said it expected that it would move ahead with some pre-construction work for PenPlace later in 2023. That would include applying for permits. It said Arlington County would begin work on adjacent utility projects.

Word that the groundbreaking would be delayed came after the biggest round of layoffs in Amazon’s history and as it adjusted operations around remote work. The company reaffirmed its long-term intention and commitment to the project and region, noting plans to bring a total of 25,000 corporate and tech jobs to HQ2 was unchanged.