Amazon.com Inc will suspend construction of its second headquarters near Washington, a decision that comes as the e-commerce giant makes its biggest ever layoff and reevaluates office needs to account for remote working.
John Schoettler, Amazon's head of real estate, confirmed the suspension of HQ2 construction in a statement. Schoettler said the company remains committed to its Arlington, Va. Amazon has pledged to invest $2.5 billion in Arlington by 2030 and employ about 25,000 people. But a construction halt would delay the company's full entry into the largest real estate project and could create problems for local developers and construction and service workers who are counting on Amazon's rapid expansion.
Amazon said the first phase of its new headquarters campus, called HQ2, was nearly complete and on schedule to be ready for use. Amazon said it now had more than 8,000 employees in the area and that it expected to begin moving them in June to two new office towers, a 2.1 million square foot development known as Metropolitan Park.
Amazon, meanwhile, plans to close eight Go cashier-less convenience stores, including two in New York City, two in Seattle and four in San Francisco, which will close on April 1 of this year. Amazon said it would work to help affected employees secure other positions at the company.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has been taking steps to cut expenses in its grocery division and other divisions as sales slow and the economic outlook worsens. In January, the company said it would lay off as many as 18,000 workers, and its grocery business has been affected by some of the cuts. The company went through a period of rapid expansion, driven by a surge in e-commerce spending during the pandemic, but has cut back on warehouse and physical retail space in recent months.
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