A virtual tour is now online of the room developer JBG Smith used to pitch Crystal City and Pentagon City properties to Amazon.
Shirlington-based real estate marketing firm Lyons & Sucher designed the space, calling it “the room where it happened” and posted a virtual 360-degree tour on their website earlier this week.
“Typically people in a brokerage situation might hand you a powerpoint or a book or something. But this was super life size,” Jane Lyons of Lyons & Sucher told ARLnow. “And it created a very quick impression of how much we wanted the Amazon account and what we could do in a very short time and also how it could be kept up.”
Lyons said Amazon executives visited the room three times over the course of 2018, and before each visit JBG Smith directed her marketing firm to update the room to reflect the latest negotiations.
The third and final version of the room is the one shown on the firm’s website. It starts with a “Welcome to National Landing” mat and leads viewers around a series of freestanding, 10-foot-high walls with information about:
- The history of Crystal City
- Profiles of Northern Virginia and D.C. neighborhoods
- Information on the D.C. area’s millennial workforce and comparisons to other cities
- Connections to public transit and airports
- Renderings of properties Amazon was considering leasing or buying
The space also features a 120-foot-long floor map of Crystal City that designers marked up to show different features depending on what JBG Smith wanted to highlight.
“It was fabricated to allow it to be updated,” said Lyons. “It was a huge print job.”
One of the other changes to the room was that the marketing firm was asked to switch out the individual building renderings along the main 64-foot wall with a 64-foot aerial image of Crystal City and its connections to Alexandria, the Potomac, and D.C.
“That one stayed up for the third visit,” she noted.
Lyons said she was not able to share the all details of the changes her firm made to the room or any still pictures, due to a non-disclosure agreement.
However, the space shown on the website offers some clues as to what Amazon found important. The floor map, for instance, notes the location of Metro stations, walking distances between certain buildings, a place for outdoor dining, and the site of a potential school.
A spokesman for JBG Smith declined to comment for the story.
Earlier this month, the developer inked its deal with Amazon to lease three office buildings in Crystal City — 241 18th Street S., 1800 S. Bell Street, and 1770 Crystal Drive — and to sell a pair of large Pentagon City development sites to the company.
In March, the County Board cleared the way for Amazon to begin developing its second headquarters in earnest by unanimously approving a controversial package granting $23 million in incentives to the company if it meets certain hiring and occupancy benchmarks.
The Virginia General Assembly approved a $750 million state incentive package for the company this winter.
Arlington also pledged to fund $28 million in transportation upgrades near the planned headquarters, and to forward public records requests concerning Amazon to the company.
An Amazon spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.
Lyons’ firm was asked to replace an aerial image showing connections to transit networks with a video showing building renderings along Crystal Drive; otherwise, the presentation to one of the world’s biggest technology companies was an analog one.
“When you are working to impress somebody who has the best tech ever they’re not going to be impressed by tech,” Lyons said, adding that that being able to physically interact with the space was “part of the magic.”
As for the room itself?
“It’s gone now,” said Lyons, explaining that the building is now being renovated. “It doesn’t exist anymore.”
Screenshots via Lyons & Sucher’s website
Arlington County Suing Opioid Makers — “The Arlington County Board has emulated nearly two dozen other Virginia localities in taking to court a large number of opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers, including some of the biggest names in the health-care industry.” [InsideNova]
HQ2 Affordable Housing Funds Going to Loudoun? — “When Virginia officials promised $75 million over five years for affordable housing in the wake of Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters announcement, Arlington officials assumed that those dollars would be split between the county and neighboring Alexandria. They were not thrilled to find out other localities might get a piece.” [Washington Business Journal]
Pedestrian Struck in CVS Parking Lot — “Police and medics are on scene of an elderly pedestrian struck by a car in the CVS parking lot on the 6400 block of Williamsburg Blvd. The victim reportedly suffered a broken bone and is being transported to the hospital.” [Twitter]
Discussing Nightlife Safety — “‘A Conversation about Nightlife Safety’ will take place on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m… The event will feature panelists from various Arlington County departments speaking about how they collaborated to build trusting relationships with restaurant staff and improve safety.” [Arlington County]
What’s in a Name? — At the Pentagon City mall, Panda Tea House is now bustling where Kokee Tea struggled last year. Was it the name change, or the addition of Thai rolled ice cream to the menu? [Twitter]
Photo courtesy @eugeneksoh
Questions About Arlington Woman’s Death — “A search warrant filed in the case supports the theory it was an assisted suicide, according to a friend of [philanthropist Penny Holloway] who was there at the time. He said a doctor also was present. That doctor died three days after Holloway. Her friends said police questioned him before his death.” [NBC Washington]
Apartment Fire On S. Glebe Road — A first floor apartment caught fire Friday night at the newly-renovated Dominion Apartments on S. Glebe Road. [Twitter]
Is Arlington an Actual Amazon HQ? — “Amazon will move thousands of jobs from Seattle to nearby Bellevue, Washington over the next four years… With this move, some are now calling Bellevue the ‘Real HQ2.'” [GeekWire, Inc. Magazine]
Sawdust Art in Arlington — “Alfo-Conce — an ever-expanding group of artisans from Guatemala with a knack for creating beautiful religious iconography out of sawdust — began prep work for their Holy Week art during a meetup in Arlington March 30.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Pedestrian Fatality in Seven Corners — “A woman died overnight as a result of injuries from a crash that occurred just after three yesterday afternoon in the 2900 block of Peyton Randolph Drive.” [Fairfax County Police]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
Amazon is planning to award four Arlington schools with a $10,000 grant for robotics programs.
Abingdon, Hoffman-Boston and Drew elementary schools, along with Kenmore Middle School, have been selected for the grant along with 96 other schools nationwide, according to the statement released this morning.
Amazon is also awarding grants to 13 schools in D.C., six in Alexandria, and two in Prince George’s County.
The “Amazon Future Engineer Robotics Grant” funds the costs of starting up a robotics club and registering it with FIRST, a non-profit that hosts robotics competitions. The awarded schools will decide how exactly to spend the funds, reported the Washington Post.
The round of grants comes a month after the Arlington County Board approved an incentive package to welcome the Amazon’splanned second headquarters in Crystal City.
The deal has drawn repeated controversy from local activists who criticized the $23 million in incentives and $28 million in transportation upgrades offered by the county if Amazon meets certain job creation benchmarks. Critics have also expressed concern over a part of the deal where the county agreed to forward public records to Amazon without redacting filers’ personal information.
Schools were eligible for the grant based on their proximity to Amazon’s sites and their participation in the federal Title I program that awards additional funding for schools serving many low-income families, per the Post.
Amazon is doling out the robotics grants via its “Future Engineer” charity which is funded by a $50 million the tech and retail giant pledged to invest in STEM education by providing students with computer science courses, scholarships, and internships.
By Shilpa Gogna
Business owners and residents near Crystal City’s Restaurant Row are gearing up and adapting in anticipation of Amazon’s planned HQ2 nearby.
Freddie Lutz has owned Freddie’s Beach Bar for 18 years and shepherded it through changes in the gay and straight communities. This week Lutz shared that more and more small-business owners are expressing interest in opening up shop or expanding on Crystal City’s 23rd Street S. now that Amazon inked its move-in deal.
“Restaurant Row continues to thrive, with a steady increasing flow of consumers” Lutz shared with me, adding “this trend fueled my recent decision to open up Frederico.”
Lutz also serves on the Crystal City Business Improvement District board and is the president of the neighborhood’s business development group. He said other surrounding small-businesses anticipate an increase in customer traffic in the near future, which should help business.
It’s a bonus many restaurants have looked forward to after years of lean time after BRAC and other federal government moves emptied out Crystal City office buildings and resulted in the loss of thousands of potential customers.
Fiona’s Irish Pub owner Martin White previously told ARLnow that he had chosen the former Tortoise and Hare Bar and Grill location before Amazon selected Crystal City for its second headquarters, but it was a “happy coincidence” his new restaurant would have the customers.
Now, Lutz says he’s thinking of expanding weekday business hours at Freddie’s to accommodate the growing lunch crowd.
“I imagine customer traffic will increase well with future development coming to Crystal City, and after losing some customer traffic following the Department of Defense relocations almost a decade ago, which impacted business sustainability, small-business owners here are excited about the future,” Lutz noted.
Many buildings in and around Restaurant Row are part of a trust owned by Stratis Voutsas and Georgia Papadopoulos, who seek to improve neighborhood infrastructure so that Restaurant Row can continue to flourish.
The pair told the Washington Business Journal they plan to build a park and plaza in the neighborhood, with subsidized artist housing nearby.
Restaurant Row’s unique community boasts a charming and eclectic conglomeration of small businesses, ranging from shops selling some sweet fashionable finds, like vintage dresses and post-war era accessories, shops selling prized collectables like NFL Lombardi trophies, and quaint long-time restaurants serving up food from all over the world.
The charm is also about the people behind the counters.
As I walked with Lutz, who introduced me to the owners at a few other nearby establishments, it warmed me up to see how sociable he, other shop owners, and passing patrons were.
The co-owner at neighboring Royal Pawn of Arlington, Nicholas Rizer, shared a story that exemplified just that.
“Recently, we saw a nearby shop owner having difficulty moving a bulky piece of equipment off a truck into his establishment,” said Rizer. “Within a few minutes, staff from nearby shops were outside lending a helping hand, and the job was done in a few minutes.”
Rizer noted that such behavior was common on Restaurant Row, which makes him proud to be part of the community. And the community feel is one of the reasons why Los Tios chose the spot.
Los Tios’ owner German Mejia thanked the community for spreading the word after the restaurant opened its Crystal City doors last month.
“In just our first week of opening, without much advertising, we were seeing high volumes of customers,” said Mejia.
Crystal City to Grow With Amazon — “‘Amazon, and its 25,000 employees, coming to Crystal City will change everything,’ [Vornado Realty Trust Chairman and CEO Steven] Roth wrote in the letter. ‘Crystal City will become a teeming metropolis of apartments, shops and offices.'” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Couple Talks About Deadly Accident — “An Arlington couple is making a personal plea for a recall of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play sleeper after their son died while laying in the product. Arlington parents Evan and Keenan Overton’s baby son Ezra died in the Rock ‘N Play sleeper right before Christmas in 2017.” [WJLA]
FLIR Moves to Pentagon Row — Infrared camera manufacturer FLIR Systems is moving its D.C. area headquarters to Pentagon Row, in the former LA Fitness space. The company recently announced an investment in a drone company and a large new DoD contract. [FLIR, BusinessWire, BusinessWire]
Confusing Signs Corrected on the Pike — A pair of seemingly contradictory direction signs on Columbia Pike, at the Washington Blvd interchange, have been corrected, county officials say. [Twitter]
Arlington Holds #MeToo Event — “On Wednesday, several Arlington County groups and Arlington’s ‘Project PEACE,’ held an event named ‘#MeToo: Being Men – Raising Men’ at the Arlington County Central Library. Lisa Tingle, the senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Fairfax County and Falls Church, said it is important to teach men about sexual harassment at an early age.” [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin
Caps Player Abandons Car on Glebe Road — “Monday was media day for the Capitals, their first practice of the postseason. [Lars] Eller was on his way to MedStar Capitals Iceplex when suddenly, his car broke down… in the middle of Glebe Road.” [NBC Sports Washington]
Task Force Ices Snow Proposal — “Thirteen of the 14 voting members of the task force ‘do not believe the county has made the case that snow operations on [the large government parcel at Old Dominion Drive and 26th Street North] must be expanded, especially given the small number of annual major storms.'” [InsideNova]
ACPD Marks Alcohol Awareness Month — “Alcohol Awareness Month, recognized each April, is a public health program designed to increase outreach and education on the dangers of alcoholism and issues related to alcohol. More than 300 establishments in Arlington County hold Virginia ABC licenses permitting the serving and sale of alcohol.” [Arlington County]
Amazon May Pay for Public Transit — “Amazon has actively promoted the use of public transit, such as by paying the full cost of its employees’ fare cards for light rail, buses and ferries — a perk that it is considering extending to new employees in Arlington. The company boasts that only a quarter of its Seattle employees commute to work by driving solo. Nearly 1 in 3 use transit, and more than 1 in 5 walk.” [Washington Post]
Arlington Touts Bike Benefits — “The County continues to build on the bicycle’s unique ability to provide clean short- and medium-range transportation that requires far less infrastructure and resources compared to automobile traffic.” [Arlington County]
Water Main Repairs Complete — Updated at 8:35 a.m. — Repairs to a burst 12-inch water main in Crystal City have been completed, but several roads in the area remain closed. The water main break cut water service to several buildings in the area, including a hotel. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Riding Amazon’s Coattails — “As Amazon.com Inc. builds and staffs up HQ2, other tech companies who orbit the online retailer could follow, according to a JBG Smith Properties investor presentation released Tuesday. ‘Amazon isn’t just 38,000 jobs,’ the JBG Smith documents say. ‘It’s a catalyst for significant growth.'” [Washington Business Journal]
Amazon Effect on Real Estate — “While the average sales price in Northern Virginia stayed steady at $565,000 in January, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, the number of homes under contract rose by 70 percent compared with January 2018, and the number of homes for sale fell by 20 percent year-over-year. Limited availability of homes drives prices higher.” [Washington Post]
More Details on Rosslyn Holiday Inn Plan — “New renderings also show that the [Rosslyn Holiday Inn redevelopment] is set to include a ‘public gallery,’ providing an east-west connection through the property between Fort Myer Drive and N. Nash Street. The space would be bookended by public plazas and provide access to the development’s retail offerings.” [Washington Business Journal]
ACFD Safety Initiative Kicks Off — “Beginning Sat., April 6, 2019, and continuing through Sat., Oct. 5, 2019, Arlington County firefighters will be going door to door offering home safety checks to include inspecting smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and giving relevant fire safety tips.” [Arlington County]
Va. AG Sues Over Trump Wall — “‘President Trump is flagrantly disregarding the law in his quest to justify his fake national emergency and build a needless border wall,’ said Attorney General Herring. ‘He is trying to unlawfully divert resources that law enforcement agencies in Virginia and around the country need for their actual work, and his larger plan could threaten half a billion dollars in military construction projects around Virginia.'” [Blue Virginia]
(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) JBG Smith has made it official with Amazon, announcing this morning the signing of lease and development agreements with the tech and retail giant.
Construction has already started on Amazon’s three temporary leased office buildings in Crystal City, with the company expecting to move into two of the buildings — 241 18th Street S. and 1800 S. Bell Street — later this year.
Amazon is also buying a pair of large development sites in Pentagon City from JBG Smith — sites that JBG will help develop into a permanent second headquarters campus for the company. The sale price of the vacant Metropolitan Park and PenPlace properties, each two blocks from the Pentagon City Metro station: just under $300 million.
“We are pleased to report that our partnership with Amazon at National Landing is moving full steam ahead,” JBG SMITH CEO Matt Kelly said in a press release, below. “With the execution of these agreements and recently legislated state and local government commitments to invest approximately $2 billion in the region’s transportation, education and housing infrastructure, we are ready to welcome Amazon’s first National Landing employees in the coming months.”
More from the press release:
JBG SMITH (NYSE: JBGS), a leading owner and developer of high-quality, mixed-use properties in the Washington, DC market, today announced that it has executed three leases and two Purchase and Sale Agreements with affiliates of Amazon.com, Inc. in conjunction with the creation of Amazon’s HQ2 at National Landing in Northern Virginia.
These agreements are the result of Amazon’s announcement in November 2018 that it had selected JBG SMITH as its partner to house and develop its HQ2 locations after a comprehensive, year-long search that included proposals from 238 cities across North America.
Amazon has executed three initial leases totaling 537,000 square feet at three existing JBG SMITH office buildings in National Landing. The leases encompass 88,000 square feet at 241 18th Street South, 191,000 square feet at 1800 South Bell Street, and 258,000 square feet at 1770 Crystal Drive. JBG SMITH expects Amazon to begin moving into 241 18th Street South and 1800 South Bell in 2019, and 1770 Crystal Drive by the end of 2020.
JBG SMITH and Amazon have also executed Purchase and Sale Agreements for two of JBG SMITH’s National Landing development sites, Pen Place and Met 6, 7, and 8, which will serve as the initial phase of new construction associated with Amazon’s HQ2. Subject to customary closing conditions, Amazon will pay $294 million for the sites, or $72 per square foot based on their combined development potential of 4.1 million square feet. JBG SMITH, which has flexibility on the timing of closing to facilitate 1031 exchange opportunities, expects to close on the Mets land sales as early as 2019 and on Pen Place as early as 2020. JBG SMITH will also serve as Amazon’s developer, property manager, and retail leasing agent for these assets.
“We are pleased to report that our partnership with Amazon at National Landing is moving full steam ahead,” said JBG SMITH CEO, Matt Kelly. “With the execution of these agreements and recently legislated state and local government commitments to invest approximately $2 billion in the region’s transportation, education and housing infrastructure, we are ready to welcome Amazon’s first National Landing employees in the coming months.”
In January 2019, the Virginia General Assembly overwhelmingly approved incentive legislation associated with HQ2 to fund $195 million toward critical infrastructure improvements, including second entrances to the Crystal City and to-be-constructed Potomac Yard Metro stations, a pedestrian connection linking National Landing to Reagan National Airport, an expanded VRE station and substantial improvements to Route 1. These investments are in addition to $570 million of regional government commitments for transportation infrastructure and transit improvements, and they follow the regional compact from mid-2018 to invest $500 million annually in Metro system improvements.
In March 2019, the Arlington County Board also unanimously approved a $23 million performance agreement with Amazon. Both packages provide post-performance incentives for Amazon to create up to 37,850 jobs with an average annual salary of $150,000 and occupy at least six million square feet of office space in Arlington County.
The General Assembly also recently approved a major education investment package that includes funding of $250 million toward Virginia Tech’s planned $1 billion Innovation Campus to be located in National Landing and $125 million planned for new Master’s degree programs in computer science and related fields at George Mason’s Arlington campus.
In addition, the County of Arlington, the City of Alexandria and the Commonwealth of Virginia have collectively dedicated $225 million to fund a range of low-income and workforce housing initiatives over the next decade.
(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) An Arlington-based tech company is relocating its headquarters in Crystal City and pledging to add 1,000 new jobs in Arlington.
Incentive Technology Group, LLC (iTG) is investing $5.1 million in a 50,000 square-foot headquarters at the Presidential Tower office building at 2511 Jefferson Davis Highway, where it expects to hire for 128 positions this year.
The new headquarters, and the 1,000 jobs iTG pledged to add over the next three years, was announced by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam earlier today.
Virginia and Georgia both vied for iTG’s new headquarters, but Amazon appears to have helped tip the scales in Arlington’s favor.
“Arlington County’s recent influx of technical talent, as well as its ability to attract leading-edge companies to the area, such as Amazon, are the key reasons for iTG’s decision to stay in the region,” said iTG’s Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fehretdinov.
iTG consults with Amazon Web Services, per its website. Its customers include the State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Communications Commission, National Cancer Institute, Bank of America, the General Services Administration, Vanguard, and United Healthcare.
Governor Northam described the company as a “homegrown small business” and said iTG’s choice to stay Arlington is “another example of how the region’s world-renowned tech talent and higher education system attracts and retains leading IT businesses of all sizes.
In the press release, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball, state Sen. Adam Ebbin and Del. Rip Sullivan lauded the move as evidence of the county’s growing economic power.
Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said he was “excited” that iTG planned to stay in the county.
“iTG has seen great success here, and in its new space is well-positioned to continue its growth in the field of information technology,” Dorsey said in a statement. “We look forward to continue working with iTG as a valued partner in our business community.”
iTG was founded in 2008 and is currently located at 2121 Crystal Drive. It currently has “in excess of 200 Arlington employees,” Fehretdinov told ARLnow.
Clerk’s Office Stressed By Extra Work — “Increasing amounts of paperwork – whether of the hard-copy or electronic variety – are putting the squeeze on the staff of Arlington’s clerk of the Circuit Court.” [InsideNova]
Amazon Aiming for Net-Zero HQ2? — “Amazon seems to be eyeing the possibility of constructing ‘net-zero energy’ buildings when it readies its new offices in Pentagon City and Crystal City, and raised the issue repeatedly in negotiations with county officials.” [Washington Business Journal]
APS Lauded for Music Education — “Arlington Public Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation for its commitment to music education.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: Alexandria Running Out of Office Space — “Alexandria’s efforts to lure new companies into the city are being thwarted by a space problem — there’s just not enough of it… there’s a dearth of the the right kind of office space, and that needs to change if Alexandra hopes to step up its game.” [Washington Business Journal]