Arlington, VA
Photo via David Hills

This article was written by Alex Taylor, Senior Business Development Manager for Arlington Economic Development.

Arlington Economic Development has many evolving strategies to attract business to the County, but one consistent piece is cultivating our partnership with the commercial real estate community.

In February, we hosted the first Broker Breakfast, a series of events that will occur over the coming months and will focus on synchronizing messaging to enhance our efforts to bring business to our commercial corridors.

Companies looking to expand into a new market often rely heavily on real estate experts to be the front door into the locations that best suit their needs. Whether it’s a new gym, rooftop employee lounges or just easy access to metro, there are dozens of factors that can drive a real estate decision within a building itself. And while buildings are important, the key drivers for most of these decisions boil down to one thing: attracting and retaining a quality workforce.

Workforce is currency that every tenant in the market is working to leverage. A highly-educated and reliable workforce is pivotal for business success and overall economic growth. Arlington is fortunate enough to sit at the center of the second largest tech talent pool in the U.S., and our universities are near the top of every ranking in the country for graduating technology and professional degrees.

The smartest and hardest working employees reside here, and the future workforce will be here as well. The Commonwealth’s $1.1 billion investment in the Tech Talent Pipeline is set to create nearly 31,000 tech degrees in the next two decades between Virginia Tech in Alexandria and George Mason in Arlington.

The County’s public infrastructure, built environment and overall quality of life are huge draws for companies and their employees. Arlington is the model for urban-suburban development, a product of smart planning during the 1960’s and 70’s as Metro began expanding into the suburbs, a decision that has paid dividends ever since.

There are many factors that lead to a high quality of life, but the ones at the top of the list typically involve easy walkability, quality transit, access to amenities, high quality of life and a strong public education system — all things that Arlington has in abundance, and all important factors for workers when choosing where to live and work.

Quality environment, product and workforce are true drivers of real estate decisions on the commercial side. Fortunately, Arlington, along with the rest of the region, is very well positioned in these areas as well. Amazon, Nestlé, Lidl and dozens of other small and medium-sized businesses have had success in our market due to these features.

While many companies have struck gold here in Arlington, not all companies in the U.S. know these stories and statistics. It is our job to help relay these themes, but we are a small staff with limited resources. We must maximize and leverage our partners in the real estate industry at every opportunity.

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