We walked around National Landing, the new neighbourhood in Virginia Amazon carved out for its HQ2 — and it's already under construction

Google MapsThe skyline is already littered with high-rises and construction cranes.
  • Amazon has announced that its second headquarters, HQ2, will be split between Queens, New York, and Arlington, Virginia.
  • As part of Amazon’s new headquarters, Virginia and Arlington will benefit from more than 25,000 full-time high-paying jobs and approximately $US2.5 billion in Amazon investment.
  • National Landing is a newly defined urban neighbourhood in Northern Virginia located less than 3 miles from downtown Washington, D.C. The community has a variety of hotels, restaurants, high-rise apartment buildings, retail, and commercial offices.

Amazon has announced it will bring it’s second headquarters to Queens, New York and the National Landing area of Arlington, Virginia.

According to the official page for Northern Virginia’s HQ2 bid, National Landing was jointly carved out by Arlington and Alexandria for Amazon’s second headquarters.

The newly-defined neighbourhood encompasses Crystal City, the eastern portion of Pentagon City, and the northern portion of Potomac Yard.

Let’s take a look at what National Landing looks like today and envision what it could morph into in the next few decades.


Crystal City and the areas of Pentagon City and Potomac Yard that make up National Landing already have office space, housing, recreational space, three metro stations with commuter-rail access, and the Reagan National Airport all within a mile radius.

Google Maps

And there are plans to add to the existing environment and infrastructure.


Local developer JBG Smith plans to kick-start several of its unfinished projects in the area …

JBG SMITH

Source: Business Insider


… including a 130,000-square-foot shopping and entertainment space known as Central District Retail …

JBG SMITH

Source: Business Insider


… and an entertainment district anchored by a 49,000-square-foot theatre called the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

JBG SMITH

Source: Business Insider


JBG Smith has also given Amazon exclusive rights to purchase some of its land and lease space in several of its buildings.

JBG SMITH

Source: Business Insider


As you walk through Crystal City and Pentagon City, you can already see that the area is changing.

Mariah Miranda

And when all is said and done, the new neighbourhood carved out by Amazon could look and feel very different from what’s there right now.

JBG SMITH

JBG Smith has investment plans to build a pedestrian bridge from National Landing directly to the Reagan National Airport.

Mariah Miranda

Currently, a car-only bridge provides traffic direct access from the airport to the Crystal City and Pentagon City area.

Mariah Miranda

In order to access this bridge, drivers must exit the major highway I-395 vessel that connects Washington D.C. to Virginia onto Route 1.

Mariah Miranda

The government has already provided the city with funding to make the neighbourhood accessible to all forms of transportation, and at the moment there is plenty of parking for residents and commuters alike.

Mariah Miranda

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates the second largest heavy rail transit system and the sixth largest bus network in the U.S., provides the area with rail and bus service.

Mariah Miranda

Through this system, commuters can reach various parts of the Washington metropolitan area, including parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Mariah Miranda

One of the bus lines has a route directly through the entire Crystal City area, leading south to the Alexandria Old Town Historic district.

Mariah Miranda

In the future, the city will see additional entrances to its Metro stations at Crystal City and Potomac Yard.

JBG SMITH

Source: Business Insider


As an alternative, some commuters opt to ride scooters or motorcycles to save on gas costs and time on the train.

Mariah Miranda

Almost 400,000 rental apartments, condos, townhouses, and houses are located within a five-mile radius of National Landing, and there are 40,000 more in the pipeline.

Mariah Miranda

Source: National Landing


The area serves both commuters and residents alike, who can take advantage of a mall, shops, and food offerings in the area like …

Mariah Miranda

… Starbucks, an essential for corporate officer workers …

Google Maps

… local food vendors …

Mariah Miranda

… fast food chains …

Mariah Miranda

… and fine dining restaurants.

Mariah Miranda

Currently, only two blocks contain all of the food and entertainment options that Crystal City has to offer within walking distance of the neighbourhood.

Mariah Miranda

You’ll see the bulk of the foot traffic during the lunch hour.

Mariah Miranda

The area seems to cater specifically to people that work in the area.

Mariah Miranda

Already, National Landing has multiple high-rise corporate buildings, and more are set to be built in the next ten years.

Mariah Miranda

Amazon will rent out 500,000 square feet of office space for its incoming employees, so foot traffic will likely increase.

JBG SMITH

Source: Business Insider


Pedestrians can take in some art while they walk

Mariah Miranda

On various boxy structures, you can see massive painting installations …

Mariah Miranda

… that are visible from multiple angles.

Mariah Miranda

Walls throughout the area are painted with bright colours and organic shapes.

Mariah Miranda

Some are more vibrant than others, and none seem to coincide with a theme that matches the usage of the building.

Mariah Miranda

Over the years, multiple artists have created artwork for Crystal City to make its largely concrete buildings feel more welcoming.

Mariah Miranda

Source: Arlington Magazine


You also can find other art installations around the city, like these blue, stick-like pieces.

Mariah Miranda

And you can also take in the views from the chairs and benches throughout the area.

Mariah Miranda

There are various recreational spaces featuring brightly coloured chairs amongst the courtyards in between the shopping area and the corporate buildings.

Mariah Miranda

Parallel to National Landing, you can take in views of the city from George Washington Parkway.

Mariah Miranda

Alongside the parkway is a major commuter and recreational trail, Mt. Vernon Trail, that also runs alongside the Potomac River.

Mariah Miranda

”Gravelly Point” is the name of the parking lot where people park to access this recreational area along the Potomac and watch the aeroplanes take off the runway.

Mariah Miranda

And National Landing doesn’t just boast easy access to Washington D.C. — the view of D.C. from the park is also pretty nice.

Mariah Miranda

JBG Smith Properties has plans to create additional recreational spaces that will be free for the public to use.

JBG SMITH

National Landing is the largest walkable downtown in Virginia.

Shutterstock

Source: Bisnow


But, when you start to walk south of Crystal City towards the end of the National Landing area, the amount of people walking around begins to decrease.

Mariah Miranda

On the opposite side of Route 1 there are factories and large warehouses.

Mariah Miranda

Multiple hotels like the Hyatt Regency are on these southern blocks due to their convenient location across from the airport.

Mariah Miranda

In juxtaposition to the bustling lunch hour two blocks away, these streets feel more isolated.

Mariah Miranda

You would only see a group or person walk by sporadically.

Mariah Miranda

But local authorities hope to change that with the developments coming to the area.

Mariah Miranda

“It has long been a goal of the area to have a more unified downtown,” Tracy Gabriel, Crystal City Business Improvement District’s president and executive Director, wrote in a press release following the Amazon HQ2 announcement.

Mariah Miranda

Source: Crystal City


From the hotels you can already see the construction of luxury residential complexes.

Mariah Miranda

The dozens of complexes currently under construction will now have guaranteed occupation of their high rises, thanks to Amazon’s move to National Landing.

Mariah Miranda

And because of the amount of development that will go into National Landing, current residents can expect to see more construction cranes in the future.

Mariah Miranda

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