Arlington, VA

by ARLnow.com July 18, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

On Monday, ARLnow.com editor Scott Brodbeck sat down with Pinkie Dent Mayfield of Rosslyn-based Graham Holdings to talk about her path to success in the business world.

A native of Oakland, California, Mayfield talked about her journey to the executive suite and offered words of wisdom about leadership, plus career advice for young professionals.

The event was held at 1776 in Crystal City and organized by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, as part of a new “Secrets to Success” podcast series with ARLnow. Stay tuned for details about future live recordings that you can attend in the coming weeks and months.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

by Chris Teale March 13, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Passengers at the region’s airports could have an easier time during their travels thanks to a new partnership between the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Crystal City startup incubator 1776.

1776 front deskThe partnership, announced last month, means the two organizations will work together to find and mentor firms that look to use technology to make air travel more efficient. That technology includes proposals that can benefit airports, transit agencies and more.

MWAA operates Ronald Reagan Washington National and Dulles airports, as well as the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road. It also manages construction of the Silver Line project into Loudoun County.

“In today’s rapidly changing world of business and commerce, it is imperative that transportation providers, such as airports, take advantage of new technologies that help us meet the demands and expectations of our increasingly mobile customers,” said MWAA president and CEO Jack Potter in a statement.

Already, 1776 is affiliated with companies that look to improve the travel experience in and around airports. The startup incubator, which has an office at 2231 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, partnered with mobile application company Airside Mobile to add Automated Passport Control devices that help international passengers arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport be processed more quickly.

Reagan Airport (file photo)MWAA also has been innovating through a partnership with CLEAR, a firm that helps its members move quickly through airport security lines and advances the use of biometric technology for security screening.

Additionally, the authority has invested in mobile app technology to aid security screening and airport signage, and is developing patented processes and technologies to make airport operations more efficient.

“Startups and new technologies continue to rapidly disrupt the way we travel from point A to point B,” said Evan Burfield, cofounder and CEO of 1776, in a statement. “1776 is excited to partner with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to harness the latest innovations within the transportation and aviation industry.”

by Heather Mongilio August 24, 2015 at 5:45 pm 0

Four months after a triumphant announcement featuring the governor and county leaders, startup incubator 1776 is starting to warm up to its new Crystal City offices.

The company recently opened its new location at 2231 Crystal Drive, less than a half mile away from the Crystal City Metro station. The new 1776 office is spacious and bright, with walls made up of mostly windows overlooking Reagan National Airport, the Potomac River and D.C.

1776 came to Crystal City after acquiring startup funder and research firm Disruption Corporation, which previously ran its Crystal Tech Fund and offered office space to startups in the space. Both companies were working on a similar system that tried to determine which startups were worth investing in.

Disruption founder Paul Singh joined the 1776 team but left shortly after the acquisition was completed, according to the Washington Business Journal; the paper later revealed that 1776 hastily acquired Disruption after Singh’s company ran out of money.

The office space is currently being redesigned to make the new place look more like 1776’s headquarters, near Scott Circle in the District. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Donna Harris, said 1776 saw a chance to expand its footprint, its network and its mission in Crystal City.

“We saw a real opportunity to try and bring together the region’s abundant resources to help empower those startups, and to drive new economic growth across the region,” Harris said.

Since its arrival in Arlington, the incubator has held a Challenge Cup and hosted Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to celebrate the White House’s Startup Week. During his visit, startup members of 1776 talked about their products, and a couple of the startups gave demos.

The new Crystal City office is similar to the original D.C. office in that it is a hub for startups, Harris said. The company is planning to use its new location to provide classes, curriculum items, events and mentoring for startups in Arlington.

“As part of our effort to create new opportunities for local startups throughout the Washington Metro region to grow and scale, we plan to use our Crystal City campus as a hub for connecting startups to the growing innovation economy and the powerful talent, expertise, corporations, and government agencies in Crystal City and throughout Virginia,” Harris said.

1776 is also looking to help connect startups with institutions within the private sector and government that are connected with cyber security and data, Harris said, and the location in Arlington helps the company provide these resources.

“As the headquarters for the world’s most important government agencies, regulatory bodies, corporations and policymakers, we believe there is unique promise right here in the Washington metro area for civic-minded startups — and unique resources they can’t find anywhere else,” Harris said.

1776 isn’t the only startup incubator in Crystal City. Eastern Foundry, which works to connect new businesses with government contracting, is a few buildings over at 2011 Crystal Drive.

What makes 1776 unique, Harris said, is that the incubator looks to help startups in industries that are important to everyday life but are hard to change.

“Everyday, there are hundreds of startups working diligently on ideas that have the power to transform and improve our lives as citizens,” Harris said. “We are excited to see how we can work with those startups to improve Arlington’s community and economy.”

by Ethan Rothstein April 16, 2015 at 4:15 pm 0

1776 announces expansion into Crystal City (photo via @1776)The heralded 1776 tech incubator and seed fund is moving into Crystal City, bringing tech bonafides and millions of dollars with it.

Today, on the roof of 220 20th Street S., Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes, Vornado CEO Mitchell Shear, 1776 co-founders Evan Burfield and Donna Harris and former Disruption Corporation CEO, and now 1776 Managing Director, Paul Singh joined forces to make the announcement.

“We’re proud that this new partnership will be anchored in Crystal City, which is increasingly becoming a globally-recognized home for world-changing startups,” McAuliffe said. “This new, unprecedented level of regional collaboration removes the traditional regional boundaries, creating tremendous opportunity for broad-based economic growth that benefits the entire region, and offering a model for future, long-term economic growth throughout Virginia and the D.C. Metro area.”

As part of its deal to expand in Crystal City, 1776 acquired Singh’s Disruption Corporation, a combination of a venture fund and financial advisory firm. Disruption’s headquarters on the 10th floor of 2231 Crystal Drive will be 1776’s base of operations in Arlington, according to Crystal City Business Improvement District Angela Fox.

“One of the beauties of Crystal City is there is so much space to expand, and if they do well, that’s certainly the thinking in all of this,” Fox told ARLnow.com this afternoon.

Earlier this week, 1776 announced a partnership with Montgomery County, and the incubator’s announcement today makes it one of the, if not the premier, dominant forces in the D.C. area technology space. In 1776’s new headquarters, it will already have member companies like Bloompop, Power Supply and Onomono Media.

1776 also hosts the Challenge Festival, an international, weeklong festival aimed at bringing together entrepreneurs in the energy, education, health and transportation sectors. The company anticipates more than 10,000 industry members will attend, and the opening party will be in Crystal City, at 2121 Crystal Drive, on May 8 from 7:00-11:00 p.m.

The incubator hopes to leverage the still-significant hub of government agencies and contractors in Crystal City, as well as the close proximity to the Pentagon, in its latest expansion.

“This region’s growing innovation economy and its future economic growth are closely linked, which is why at 1776 we’ve focused our attention on creating new opportunities for regional innovation and unfettered access to the networks that exist across regional borders,” 1776 co-founder Donna Harris said in a press release. “Between our partnership with Vornado and the acquisition of Disruption, this exciting new venture will allow us to bring together ALL the tremendous assets this region has to offer, from the NIH and MedStar in Bethesda to the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin in Crystal City, and create one of the most vibrant technology communities in the country.”

Photo via @1776

by ARLnow.com October 31, 2019 at 6:00 am 0

Congrats to the Nats — Fireworks could be heard in parts of Arlington as the Nationals won the World Series in Game 7 just before midnight. [Twitter, Twitter]

Nats World Series Run Helps Local Startup — “BreakingT’s business is very much staying in the fight. The Arlington T-shirt retailer had already seen a significant boost from the Nationals’ playoff run… Until last week, BreakingT’s biggest revenue day was during the All-Star Game hosted at Nationals Park last July. But each of the three home World Series matchups have now exceeded that.” [Washington Business Journal]

Severe Storms Expected Tonight — “Hazardous Halloween weather is possible in the Washington area and many parts of the Mid-Atlantic, where a line of storms, some of which may be severe, will sweep through during the evening. ‘A potentially dangerous weather event is unfolding for Thursday,’ wrote the National Weather Service serving the Washington region.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Chick-fil-A Customers Cause Crystal City Cycling Consternation — “Diving deeper geographically from streets to blocks and overlaying vehicle type, a story starts to emerge from the data. We already knew the majority of bike lane blockages were on Crystal Drive, but now we can see that the 2100 block of Crystal Drive is where all the action is, why? Chick-fil-a!” [Greater Greater Washington]

Kudos for Hot Lola’s in Ballston — “Got a hankering for a fried chicken sandwich? Forget Popeyes — go for Hot Lola’s’s version in Arlington, says a new report. Washingtonian says Hot Lola’s hot-chicken sandwich are the best in the D.C. area, tied with Wooboi in Herndon for the No. 1 spot in their list of the top five in our region.” [Washingtonian, Patch]

Paul Rudd’s Pentagon Ice Cream Connection — “While searching for the quickest route to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City from my apartment, I went down a weird internet black hole and discovered that the Google Maps photo for the Baskin-Robbins at the Pentagon features Paul Rudd dressed as a Baskin-Robbins employee. What’s the deal with that?” [Washingtonian]

Tomorrow: Horticultural Event at Arlington National — “Friday Nov 1: Join ANC’s Horticulturist for a walking tour of the cemetery’s Memorial Arboretum. We’ll look at trees, shrubs and perennials that survived the wet spring and hot, dry summer of 2019.” [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Kalina Newman October 25, 2019 at 10:05 am 0

We heard your call and we answered: here are some of the bars around Arlington offering specials for the upcoming Nationals World Series games.

Game 3 kicks off at Nationals Parks tonight at 8 p.m., followed by games 4 and 5 on Saturday and Sunday.

This list is not comprehensive and is comprised of bars that either posted specials on their social media or picked up the phone at 11 a.m.

Dudley’s Sport and Ale in Shirlington (2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive) will have specials all night long, including:

  • $1 hot dogs and beers during the first inning
  • $5 Maker’s Mark drinks all night
  • $5 beer tub specials all night
  • And if the Nationals win, free Jello shots.

In Ballston, Rustico (4075 Wilson Blvd) will be extending their happy hour pricing for beer and wine through the end of each game, which includes $2 off all draft beer and $5 glasses of house wine.

Also in Ballston sports bar First Down (4213 N. Fairfax Drive) is doing $5.50 “Baby Shark” shots layered with vodka, sour mix, Blue Curacao, grenadine, and a splash of Sprite, in addition to the discounted drink and food specials.

Meanwhile in Courthouse, the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill (2424 Wilson Blvd) will be offering $5 shots of Jameson, Fireball, and Jager, along with $25 buckets of White Claw seltzer, $20 buckets of beer, and $18 pitchers all throughout the games.

The Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City will be projecting the game on its 18-foot video wall, with specials including an $18 Yuengling bucket of beer, $5 shots, and a hot dog platter covered in chili, cheese, and more.

In Rosslyn, Quinn’s On the Corner (1776 Wilson Blvd) has  events for every inning, with free Jello shots after the first Nationals pitch, a gift card raffle in the middle of the fourth inning, and raffles for various Nationals bobbleheads during the seventh-inning stretch.

Also in RosslynRhodeside Grill (1836 Wilson Blvd) will extend its happy hour until 7 p.m., featuring $4 draft beer and $6 cocktails, plus food specials after 5 p.m., while Barley Mac (1600 Wilson Blvd) will honor its happy hour pricing throughout the entire game, which includes a spiked apple cider and a whiskey smash for $7, plus wines for $6.

Bonus: if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re in luck. Here’s where you can find specialty Nationals desserts in Arlington as well:

  • Nationals-decorated cupcakes at Pastries by Randolph (4500 Lee Highway)
  • Nats Red Velvet ice cream at Ice Cream Jubilee in Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd)
  • “DoughNat” doughnut, topped with caramel glaze and dark chocolate caramel popcorn, at District Donuts in Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd)
  • “Nats Tarts” at Sidekick Bakery in Ballston (4238 Wilson Blvd)

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Airey October 15, 2019 at 1:30 pm 0

A parking lot in the Virginia Square has a new owner, and potentially, a new future.

Swedish developer and construction company Skanska announced today (Tuesday) that it had bought the site at 3901 N. Fairfax Drive from an affiliate of of the Bernstein Management Corporation and intends to make long-stalled development plans a reality.

The site, near Quincy Park, once housed the Arlington Funeral Home before it closed in 2011 after 55 years in business. The property later became a parking lot for the nearby Mercedes-Benz of Arlington dealership. Today, the parking lot is enclosed with chainlink fences and hosts a billboard advertising the “trophy office” to come.

Skanska said today it will build the nine-story office building with 184,036 square feet of office space and will aim for LEED Gold certification planned for the site. The company also noted that the building will come equipped with 10,280 square feet of ground floor retail — a feature some other buildings have struggled to fill in Arlington.

The original site plan included a $3.7 million, 12,985 square-foot black box theatre, however it was removed in later revisions and replaced by ground floor retail space, per Skanska’s Mark Carroll, who works as the executive vice president for the company’s D.C. area commercial developments.

“We plan to keep the general building design but may make minor modifications,” he told ARLnow in an email.

He added that the amenities Skanska is currently eyeing in the new building include:

  • A 4,000-square-foot outdoor rooftop terrace with a 1,600-square-foot indoor amenity space
  • A 1,700-square-foot second floor terrace
  • A state-of-the-art fitness facility
  • 10,280 square-feet of ground-floor retail
  • The property targeting LEED® Gold certification
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows on all four sides, which will welcome ample natural light and unobstructed views into the office spaces.

“The Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor has long been the epicenter of mixed-use development in Northern Virginia, and the 3901 North Fairfax site will be a welcome addition to this vibrant, pedestrian-friendly community with easy access to public transit and a plethora of retail options,” he said earlier today in a statement.

“This acquisition is significant as the site represents one of the last ground-up, Metro-accessible development opportunities along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor,” said the company in a press release, noting the property proximity to the Virginia Square and Ballston Metro stations.

Across the street from the site construction is still underway for the 22-story, 330-unit J Sol Apartments complex.

Nearby, Virginia Square and Ballston is also host to several other new developments, including an affordable housing developments at the American Legion Post and a church, as well as a new YMCA and a historical cemetery with an uncertain future.

Skanska previously developed the 1776 Wilson Blvd office building in Rosslyn before selling it in 2014. It also owned an 11-story office building near Nationals Park in D.C., and another 11-story “trophy office” building on Pennsylvania Avenue, among other projects.

Image 2 via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com September 23, 2019 at 1:30 pm 0

A tech company specializing in the creation of blockchain software has selected Arlington County for its U.S. headquarters, beating out a competing bid from D.C.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced the economic development win today, saying that the company — Block.one — plans to create 170 new high-skill jobs in Arlington over the course of three years.

“The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Arlington County to secure the project for Virginia,” noted a press release from the governor’s office. “Governor Northam approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Arlington County with the project. The company is also eligible to receive a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created.”

A press release from the company quotes the CEO as saying the region’s tech talent helped attract it to Arlington.

“We are excited to be setting up Arlington, Virginia as our U.S. headquarters,” said Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer. “The region boasts a rich combination of security, engineering, and IT skills that we seek, and its proximity to the nation’s capital positions us close to the policy innovation around digital assets and distributed ledger technology in the U.S.”

Though the prospect of even more high-paying jobs in Arlington, on top of the thousands on the way at Amazon’s new HQ2, may seem like a big win, it should be taken with a tiny grain of salt: the best-laid tech plans do not always pan out. The 1776 incubator that came to Crystal City in 2015 amid much fanfare is closing, for instance, and then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s announcement of 184 new jobs being added by tech firm Trustify has not borne fruit — the company is in bankruptcy and facing numerous lawsuits.

The full press release from the governor’s office is below, after the jump.

(more…)

by Airey September 20, 2019 at 1:35 pm 0

Owners of mixed-use buildings in Arlington are struggling to find tenants for ground floor retail space, and instead have been seeking permission to fill the space with other uses.

The Arlington County Board will consider three such requests — from office buildings in Rosslyn and Ballston and Le Meridien Hotel in Rosslyn — at its meeting on Saturday.

“It is definitely a trend,” said Michael Smith, director of real estate at Bethesda-based retail strategy firm Streetsense. “We are at a point in time where we have a lot of retail space and a decreasing number of prospective tenants to fill those spaces.”

The owner of the Ballston Pointe building at 4300 Wilson Blvd (which once housed Ted’s Montana) is asking permission to convert its 2,132 square-foot ground floor space into a gym for residents and office space.

Likewise, Le Meridien seeks to convert its 900 square-foot retail space into offices, and the 1776 Wilson Blvd building in Rosslyn (home of Quinn’s and formerly of Kona) wants to cast a wider net for “retail equivalent” tenants like education organizations to fill its 22,829 square feet of unused retail space.

County staff wrote in a report to the Board that the Meridien vacancy is “due to a combination of design and location factors the site has not been a successful retail space” and in another report, that 1776 Wilson “cited difficulty retaining leases with tenants that meet the definition of retail.”

“Municipalities are trying to encourage ground floor retail environments to create sense of place, but the reality of it is that there is only so much of it going around,” said Streetsense’s Smith.

He cited millennials’ penchant for prioritizing experiences over things as one reason retail has been declining over the last decade — leaving fewer prospective tenants. Another problem with filling ground-floor retail space is that not all spaces nor streets are ideal areas to attract shoppers.

That contrasts with an aggressive, former Arlington County policy dubbed “retail everywhere,” which was replaced in 2015 with a more “curated” approach.

Restaurateurs have long bemoaned certain portions of the county, like the western side of Glebe Road in Ballston, as places businesses struggle. The old adage of “location, location, location” applies in Arlington, but sometimes it’s hard for businesses to figure out what will work in which places.

Smith said buildings in Arlington’s neighborhoods like Rosslyn, which is hillier and sleepier at night compared to places like Clarendon, typically have a harder time finding and keeping retailers. However, he noted the Rosslyn Business Improvement District’s community events and artwork are steps toward making the area more attractive to people and businesses.

“While we would all want our streets lined with beautiful boutiques or cafes, that’s just not the reality,” he said.

The County Board has issued approvals for retail space to be turned into alternatives like medical offices for years. Members have also OKed converting office space back to retail space, though that process is sometimes fraught.

An auction by East Falls Church bookstore One More Page recently generated discussion on whether the county also had an obligation to help ground floor retailers weather rising rents.

Smith said that government-led programs or economic incentives only make sense “if the numbers pan out and its win-win for everyone.”

“The best thing you can do is turn the faucet off, and put retail where it belongs,” he said.

by Mark Kelly July 16, 2019 at 2:30 pm 0

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Tonight the County Board is going to consider building four more bus stops on Columbia Pike at a total allocated cost of $1.65 million, or roughly $412,000 per stop. The current Capital Improvement Plan contemplates the construction of 23 new transit stops for a total of $16.9 million, though Arlington taxpayers would not be on the hook for the entire bill.

It seems like an eternity ago that the $1 million model for these stops caused a political firestorm and even garnered national attention. The coverage put into perspective the magnitude of the Columbia Pike streetcar project, helped elect Independent John Vihstadt, and eventually lead to project’s cancellation. For those who may have forgotten, the rather small stop does not really keep you dry when it is raining and the “state-of-the-art” screen that was supposed to provide riders with information is often out of commission.

That the County Board thinks spending around half a million dollars each to build another 23 is a good fiscal decision still boggles the mind. The decision to proceed only looks fiscally responsible relative to $1 million, not relative to what else you could spend $13.3 million on, or not spend it at all.

In a larger sense, after the Board raised taxes and found no real budget savings this Spring, it is yet another piece of evidence that the once again all-Democrat County Board is slipping back into old habits when it comes to spending our money.

Speaking of watching spending decisions that are supposed to benefit the community, the Washington Business Journal recently reported that business incubator 1776 was unable to come to lease terms with JBG Smith and is relocating to the District. In 2015, the County Board voted to give 1776 up to $450,000 in economic development grantsto create 300 new jobs in the county. Four years later, those jobs are leaving the county.

Economic development incentives (giveaways) are a game that all states and major metropolitan areas play. This case serves as a reminder that they do not always work out over the long run.

Mark Kelly is a 19-year Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

by ARLnow.com July 3, 2019 at 7:30 am 0

Incubator Leaving Crystal City — “Startup incubator 1776 plans to open its new D.C. location this year and will ultimately shut down its Crystal City location. 1776 spokesman Lucas McCanna said the company will relocate to ‘the general McPherson Square area,’ but declined to give a specific address.” [Washington Business Journal]

AAA: Worst Times for Independence Day Travel — “Holiday travelers hailing from the area will face absolute gridlock along key freeway segments starting [today], July 3. Topping the list of the worst corridors for those departing Wednesday, July 3, is Interstate 270 northbound.” [Press Release]

Arlington County Holiday Closures — All Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and facilities will be closed Thursday for the Independence Day holiday, though trash and recycling will still be collected. Also, “metered parking is not enforced but street parking near the US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima), Long Bridge Park, and the Air Force Memorial will be restricted. Motorists should look for temporary ‘No Parking’ signs.” [Arlington County]

Memorial Bridge Closed to Pedestrians — In addition to other July 4 road closures around Arlington, Memorial Bridge will be closed to both vehicles and pedestrians throughout the day Thursday. [Twitter, National Park Service]

ART Bus Holiday Schedule — “ART will operate holiday service on Thursday, July 4, 2019, in observance of Independence Day. ART 41, 42, 45, 51, 55 and 87 will operate on Sunday schedules. All other ART routes will not operate and the ART customer call center will be closed.” [Arlington Transit]

Superintendent Search May Be Drawn Out — “Arlington’s new School Board chair, who will be focused in coming months on the selection of a new superintendent, asked for patience in the community as the process plays out. ‘Finding the right leader and the best fit for our community will take time,’ Tannia Talento said July 1 as she rotated in as chair of the School Board for the coming year.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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