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Amazon hopes to begin 1st phase of new Arlington HQ by 2020 Inc.'s real estate chief expects the company to begin construction on the first phase of its second headquarters in Arlington County, Va., by the first quarter of 2020.

John Schoettler, Amazon's vice president of global real estate, told S&P Global Market Intelligence at a community meeting July 10 that the e-commerce giant should have "shovels in the ground" by the first quarter of next year and complete the first phase of development by 2023, pending extensive county approvals.

The headquarters, known as HQ2, will eventually represent a $2.5 billion investment and house at least 25,000 full-time employees within a total of 4 million square feet of office space over the next dozen years.

Schoettler and county officials gave community members an extensive overview of the first phase of HQ2 set to transform the Metropolitan Park area of Crystal City into a walkable, transit-oriented urban campus home to two office buildings comprised of 2 million square feet, street-level retail, shops, public spaces, gathering areas and ample bike access.

He said the Metropolitan Park site will offer a variety of amenities to employees and the community, a vibrant mix of retail and dining, along with an abundance of parks, open spaces, and a daycare center available to all residents.

"Locating our HQ in an urban core is intentional," he said. "Our goal is to integrate, to contribute, and to stitch ourselves into the fabric of the community."

He did not have a timeline for HQ2's second phase, which will include another 2 million square feet of space.

Schoettler said in his presentation that Amazon is no stranger to Virginia, where it currently has more than 10,000 employees. The company is in the process of adding the first 400 HQ2 jobs this year and plans to ramp up hiring over the life of the project.

"We have known for quite some time that Virginia is a great place to live and work," he said.