In an interview with Northern Virginia Magazine, Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide economic development, talks about the long-awaited opening of Met Park in National Landing and its community ties.
The first phase of HQ2 opened in June. How many people are working in the two towers?
Currently at Met Park, we have more than 3,000 employees working out of the two offices. By fall, we’ll be welcoming our entire 8,000 employees.
How does Northern Virginia’s population benefit Amazon?
One of the things that really resonated with us about the entire DC metro area, and inclusive of Northern Virginia, is the type of talent that was already here on day one. We knew that we’d need to be a partner and really think about that long-term talent pipeline. It also has the higher education institutions, robust K through 12 public schools that we can partner with. We continue to be impressed with the level of talent that we can hire, but also the diverse talent.
How about the impact of the Innovation Campus?
Having Virginia Tech make such a significant investment (and the state makes such a significant investment) by putting a flag in National Landing with a robust university that puts out top level graduates on an annual basis a mile down the road — I think it’s a huge catalyst to us as to company, [and] a huge benefit to all of the existing employers.
How is Amazon helping with affordable housing in the vicinity of HQ2?
To date, we’ve committed over $1 billion to help create or preserve over 14,000 affordable homes, and our goal is to preserve more than 20,000.
What does the public space near Amazon have to offer the community?
[At] Met Park, we developed a 2.5-acre public space that creates not only a green space opportunity, but we have a playground there, we have a dog park there. We also have some fantastic art installations, and the entire park is full of native flora and fauna or native adapted species. Two things that we really heard from the community are more gathering space and infrastructure. And through our partnership with Arlington County, we’ve been able to deliver on both of those, obviously, working with the local and state authorities on the infrastructure piece with investments in the Metro stations, bike lanes, and how pedestrian and auto and bike can move together.
What are some of your own favorite things to do in National Landing?
One of my favorite places to have an after-work beverage would be Freddie’s, and I also really enjoy The Freshman. That’s one of the newer restaurants in National Landing on Crystal Drive. I also love going into Alexandria. My uncle owns a winery [Willowcroft Farm Vineyards] in Leesburg, so I’m out there often doing wine tastings; we have deep roots in Northern Virginia as a family.
Feature image of Holly Sullivan courtesy Amazon.