The Arlington County Board will discuss Saturday whether to move forward with a plan to extend a partial real estate tax exemption for Bloomberg BNA.
Bloomberg BNA is a major employer in the neighborhood with 972 employees and a 200,000 square foot office at 1801 S. Bell Street. It signed a deal earlier this year to stay in Arlington, invest $5.5 million and create up to 125 new jobs.
Under the proposal, Bloomberg BNA would be allowed to continue its partial property tax exemption, which expires at the end of this year, for another five years. Arlington first offered BNA an exemption in 2006 to lure it to Crystal City.
The company provides legal, tax, regulatory and business information to professionals who work in fields like the law, taxation and the environment among others.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project, which came as Bloomberg BNA was looking to explore its options for future locations in the region. An extended tax exemption is part of the package of incentives.
The exemption took effect in 2008, and costs the county approximately $400,000 a year. Under the terms of the extension, BNA would need to keep at least its current staffing levels and occupied office space. If not, the County Board could withdraw from the exemption or reduce it.
If the County Board moves ahead with staff’s recommendation to advance the plan, a public hearing would be held in July.
Photo via Google Maps
D.C. and Arlington: Tech Towns? — The Greater Washington area has ranked third on a major real estate firm’s list of “Tech Cities 1.0.” The area received high marks for its educated workforce and pace of startup growth. Arlington, meanwhile, is continuing to land tech firms from D.C. and Fairfax County, in part thanks to active outreach and an incentive program from Arlington Economic Development. State incentives helped keep Applied Predictive Technologies in Ballston; the firm has a new office and is now expanding and creating 350 jobs.
Exotic Pet Ban Vote Delayed — The Arlington County Board is expected to delay its consideration of a new exotic pet ban until the fall. The proposal has garnered strong reactions from both sides of the issue, including from the D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute, which is urging the Board to approve the ban. [InsideNova]
Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Gets Architect — Denver-based Fentress Architects has been selected as the designer of the $75 million 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center. The center will be built near the intersection of Washington Blvd and Columbia Pike, which is set to be realigned as part of an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. [Washington Business Journal]
DJO Standout in Running for National Recognition — Bishop O’Connell High School softball standout Kathryn Sandercock is in the running for USA Today’s ALL-USA High School Softball Player of the Year. She is currently second in an online poll. Sandercock was also just named to the 2017 Spring All-Met first team. Other Arlington high school students named to the first team All-Met in their sports include three boys soccer and one girls soccer player. [USA Today]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Police Investigating Shooting in DoD Office Building — Arlington County police are investigating a fatal shooting in the Defense Department’s Taylor building, at 2530 Crystal Drive in Crystal City. The shooting happened this morning and initial reports suggest it was self-inflicted.
Lyon Village Profiled by WaPo — “Close to both the Clarendon and Court House Metro stops on the Orange and Silver lines, Lyon Village is the kind of neighborhood where families know their neighbors, children play and parents can walk almost everywhere.” [Washington Post]
ACPD Recruiting for Citizen’s Police Academy — Applications are currently being accepted for the Arlington County Citizen’s Police Academy. The academy “was designed to create a better understanding and communication between citizens and the police through education.” Applicants are subject to background checks before acceptance into the program, which shows the “inner workings” of the police department. [Arlington County]
Arlington Hosts Travel Trade Show Attendees — Arlington County hopes to get a big tourism and economic boost from its promotional efforts during this year’s U.S. Travel Association IPW trade show, which was held in D.C. for the first time. The county, in partnership with the Rosslyn BID, JBG Companies, and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, also hosted 150 trade show attendees in Rosslyn on Monday. [Arlington County]
Crystal City Startup Gets Big Funding Boost — Arlington-based private detective booking startup Trustify has raised more than $6.5 million as part of its latest fundraising round. The company recently opened a new office in Crystal City. [Washington Business Journal]
Letter to the Editor: Kids Over Dogs — The writer of a letter to the editor of the Sun Gazette newspaper doesn’t understand why, in county government, there seems to be more urgency over proposed changes to a dog park than making sure there is enough land to build new schools to keep up with rising enrollment. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The Arlington County Board approved Tuesday a $12 million package of state and local grants for the relocation of Nestlé’s U.S. corporate headquarters to Rosslyn.
The food giant will receive $6 million in Commonwealth Opportunity Fund grant money from Virginia. COF money is incentive-based, and requires at least $36 million in capital investment and 748 new jobs with an average annual salary of $127,719.
That state grant will be matched by the county’s Economic Development Incentive grant and related infrastructure improvements. The $4 million EDI grant has the same requirements as the state grant but also requires that at least 205,000 square feet of space be leased.
The additional $2 million in infrastructure improvements is already planned in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, said Christina Winn of Arlington Economic Development.
Winn said those improvements include the Corridor of Light public art installation on N. Lynn Street, the Lynn Street Esplanade and Custis Trail Improvement project, and relocation of bus stops on N. Moore Street.
The combination of grants shows “everybody giving a little bit to get so much back,” Winn said. She added that such incentives help Arlington stay competitive against its regional rivals, and that such programs are only used 7 percent of the time, when AED looks to attract big companies like Grant Thornton.
Board vice chair Katie Cristol said that she has previously been “skeptical” of such incentive programs, but that she sees their value in cases like this. Nestlé is projected to bring $14.2 million in net tax benefit to Arlington, and will bring an anchor tenant to the previously empty skyscraper at 1812 N. Moore Street. The move is seen as a big economic development win for the county.
“The case has been well made about what this means for Arlington County and why this is a significant decision on the part of Nestlé,” Cristol said.
Photo courtesy Monday Properties
The County Board unanimously approved an incentive-based economic development grant for SineWave Ventures at its Tuesday meeting.
Up to $250,000 would be paid over five years to SineWave under the terms of the deal, depending on performance.
The agreement states that SineWave must attract five capital providers and partner companies to lease office space, and create at least 391 new full-time jobs. There are other goals for investment reviews and the provision of educational events for local entrepreneurs.
SineWave is aiming to develop a central hub of similar tech-focused venture capital firms at 2231 Crystal Drive, to invest in new companies. It will be in the same building as startup incubator 1776, and close to open-access workshop TechShop and coworking space Eastern Foundry.
A “sense of collaboration, advisement and mentorship” will come from the companies all being located in Crystal City, said Christina Winn, director of Arlington Economic Development’s Business Investment Group.
Board member John Vihstadt said such grants will help the county be less reliant on the federal government.
“This may seem like small potatoes to some, but frankly it’s part of the story where we really are working very hard to diversify Arlington’s economy away from federal contractors, away from the defense industry and towards really a 21st century economy, which is where the action hopefully is going to be,” he said.
Winn said AED spent two years developing the plan and ensuring there is little financial risk to the county. Board member Christian Dorsey said the requirement that SineWave repay the money if it fails to hit its targets is wise.
“These are not investments of the international high-risk equity variety,” he said. “These are of the safe variety, as if they don’t pan out we get our money back, which is the best investment to make because you can’t really lose.”
Up to $250,000 would be paid over five years under the terms of the deal, depending on performance.
SineWave is aiming to develop a central hub of similar tech-focused venture capital firms, in an office building at 2231 Crystal Drive, to invest in new companies. SineWave provides early-stage investment in businesses that develop technology for potential use in the public sector, including in the fields of cybersecurity, data and networking.
The agreement stipulates that SineWave must attract five capital providers and partner companies to lease office space, and create at least 391 new full-time jobs. There are other goals for investment reviews and the provision of educational events for local entrepreneurs.
If SineWave has not achieved 90 percent of its targets, it will be required to pay the grant money back to the county. A staff report on the plan estimates Arlington will receive $430,000 gross tax benefit over 10 years; or $180,000 net tax benefit after the full grant is paid.
County staff wrote that the plan will help fill vacant office space in the area and attract new businesses.
“With respect to Arlington’s ongoing vacancy challenges, the Crystal City submarket continues to need companies and investment to diversify and rebuild its tenant base,” staff wrote. “The proposed partnership with SineWave aligns with the County’s economic development strategy to attract key co-working operators, business incubators/accelerators and venture funds; SineWave adds another critical piece to the budding technology ecosystem in Crystal City.”
Image via Vornado
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.
Selected from 129 applicants from 18 states and six international locations, GreenSight uses automated drones to take daily aerial images. Its stated mission is to become a go-to source for aerial information.
The company already has contracts with Arlington-based agencies like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of Naval Research as well as the Air Force Research Lab, the U.S. Army and the University of Maryland.
GreenSight Agronomics will move two employees to start its operations in the county next month.
“GreenSight is exactly the type of technology company that can truly succeed here in Arlington,” said Christina Winn, Arlington Economic Development’s director of business investment, in a statement. “GreenSight’s ability to easily connect with federal agencies and other top research institutions, many of which are already working with the company, will really position the company to be able to grow and succeed quickly. It’s the ideal company to be selected as the Startup Arlington winner.”
GreenSight will receive up to $25,000 from the private equity firm Kiddar Capital, plus get three months of complimentary office space in 1776 in Crystal City and complimentary living space for that time at the nearby WhyHotel, courtesy of developer Vornado.
It also will receive complimentary Metro passes and a Capital Bikeshare membership, provided by Arlington Transportation Partners, and a package of lifestyle amenities and restaurant offers from the Crystal City Business Improvement District.
“GreenSight has customers, investors and collaborators in the D.C. area,” said GreenSight founder James Peverill in a statement. “An office in the Arlington is a great opportunity to engage these partners more effectively and take advantage of the rich and growing ecosystem in the area.”
Startup Arlington applicants were evaluated on criteria ranging from how the company would benefit from locating in Arlington to growth potential and business plans. To be eligible, applicants must have been from outside the greater capital region and the application made under the direction of a founder and/or CEO of a technology-based company.
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Nestlé is moving its U.S. corporate headquarters from Southern California to Rosslyn, the company announced today.
The move, a boon to Arlington in its effort to reduce the county’s office vacancy rate and its reliance on government-related employment, will finally bring an anchor tenant to 1812 N. Moore Street.
The 35-story office building, owned by Monday Properties, was completed in 2013 after being built “on spec” and has remained vacant since, awaiting a major tenant. Nestlé will be initially leasing 40 percent of the building, just over 200,000 square feet on the top nine floors, with the option to expand to over 250,000 square feet, according to a press release.
“Monday Properties is proud to welcome Nestlé, one of the world’s finest companies, to our landmark property, 1812 North Moore Street, in the heart of Rosslyn,” said Anthony Westreich, CEO of Monday Properties, in a statement. “This transaction is particularly special to my family and me because we have been intimately involved in the early development of Rosslyn, dating back to the early 1960s. My father, Stanley Westreich, and his partners developed many of the first high rise projects in Rosslyn, having overseen the Gannett Company’s relocation in 1984 to Rosslyn at our 1000 Wilson Boulevard project just one block east of 1812 N. Moore Street.”
Nestlé will be investing $40 million in the relocation and estimates that it will be creating about 750 jobs locally. The company chose Rosslyn over 20 potential locations across the country after being offered $10 million in grants from the state, and $4 million in grants and $2 million in infrastructure improvements by Arlington County, the Washington Post reported.
The Washington Business Journal was the first to break the news, ahead of a 3:15 p.m. press conference with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Rosslyn. Less than weeks ago ARLnow.com predicted that 1812 N. Moore Street would get its first tenant this year.
Arlington is not the only beneficiary of Nestlé’s move. St. Louis stands to gain 300 jobs as Nestlé centralizes its information technology operations in the city, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today. But Arlington is the big winner, gaining high-paying jobs and a prestigious corporate tenant that will further boost the county’s business reputation.
A big part of the draw: the highly-educated workforce in the area. Nestlé USA’s CEO cited “benefits for our current employees as well as a great talent pool for the future” in an Arlington County press release. That echoes what Monday Properties says is driving leasing along Arlington’s Metro corridors.
“Nestlé’s announcement comes on the heels of a number of high-profile corporate commitments to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, which has transformed and attracted one of the country’s most desirable pools of top talent for companies looking to leverage for future growth,” the property owner said.
More from the press release:
“It is an honor to have Nestlé as our anchor tenant at 1812 North Moore Street,” said Tim Helmig, President and COO of Monday Properties. “The magnitude of securing one of the most widely recognized corporate brands in the world reinforces our initial strategic business plan which was to develop an office project that would attract prestigious corporate tenants to occupy what is arguably the highest quality designed office project in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. As companies such as Nestlé increasingly look to procure first-rate amenities and easy accessibility to Washington, D.C., they’ll find that Rosslyn offers a business-friendly environment unparalleled with lifestyle opportunities for its employees.”
Soaring 390 feet, the LEED Platinum certified 1812 North Moore Street building is metropolitan Washington, D.C.’s tallest building with unprecedented visibility and recognition in the marketplace. Of incomparable caliber, distinct design and boasting the most efficient floor plates of any trophy building in the area, the building offers 537,000 square feet spanning 35 stories. The project’s remaining floors (encompassing over 300,000 square feet) provide future tenants with quality view space which is situated within a neighboring “who’s who” tenancy, including but not limited to Grant Thornton, Sinclair Broadcasting, Sands Capital, Raytheon Company, and BAE Systems.
“Rosslyn has clearly arrived,” noted Austin Freeman, Monday Properties Regional Portfolio Manager, who added “Companies are searching not only for quality and efficient real estate solutions, but want to be situated in a premier, transit accessible location that can attract and retain employee talent. 1812’s centralized location and Rosslyn’s unparalleled access to the entire metro DC region has resonated with corporate decision makers. When a company of Nestlé’s stature and global reach enters the market, it says a lot for the Rosslyn, Virginia story.”
On the heels of the Nestlé transaction and as a result of projected increases in defense spending under the Trump administration, Monday Properties expects to see sustained momentum in commercial real estate leasing within Rosslyn over the coming months. Monday has transacted on over 650,000 square feet of leasing activity in Rosslyn over the past 18 months.
The public discussion will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 8 and will be led by Minneapolis-based Artspace, a nonprofit that “uses the tools of real estate development to create affordable, appropriate places where artists can live and work.”
“The conversation with arts, community, and business leaders will focus on the potential for artist housing in a variety of neighborhoods in Arlington,” according to a web page for the event. “The visit will assess the viability of arts-related programming for selected sites.”
There are four areas being considered for arts-related development: Virginia Square, Columbia Pike, the Four Mile Run Valley/Shirlington area, and the 23rd Street S. commercial district in Crystal City.
The $20,000 cost of the feasibility study is being paid for by the nonprofit Arlington Foundation for Arts and Innovation, according to the county, but at this point no final decision has been made as to whether to move forward with artist housing facilities in Arlington.
“By convening a broad-based conversation among community leaders, Artspace hopes to stimulate serious, forward looking dialog on the needs of Arlington’s creative community, including affordable housing for art teachers, music instructors and working artists,” said the county. “This is simply a conversation to explore the range and feasibility of arts-related uses broadly in and within a handful of specific neighborhoods.”
“If the results of the initial feasibility study are positive, Artspace may be engaged to conduct a Phase II study which offers a deeper dive into the needs of the community,” the county explained. “AFAI has indicated that it will fund the Phase II study if the results of the original feasibility study warrant it.”
The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 8, at the Arlington Economic Development offices at 1100 N. Glebe Road, 15th floor. Anybody is welcome to attend.
Gov. Announces New Jobs for Arlington — Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has announced that Vorsight, a “sales effectiveness” tech firm in Rosslyn, will be expanding its corporate headquarters, creating 112 new jobs in Arlington. [Governor of Virginia]
New Apartments in Crystal City/Pentagon City — More than 1,100 new apartments opened in the Crystal City and Pentagon City area in 2016. More than 3,000 additional apartments are in the development pipeline. [Bisnow]
History of Churches in Arlington — Arlington’s first church was the Chapel of Ease of Arlington Plantation, built in 1825 by George Washington Parke Custis. The church was located near what is now the Sheraton hotel at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Orme Street. It was burned by union troops during the Civil War. [Falls Church News-Press]
Lubber Run Community Center Redevelopment — With voter approval of a “community infrastructure” bond that funds it, work is set to proceed on the redevelopment of the Lubber Run Community Center. Design work on the new four-story, $47 million facility will wrap up next year. Construction is expected to take place in 2018. [InsideNova]
Arlington to Keep One of the Last Kenneth Cole Stores — Kenneth Cole is closing 63 stores in the U.S. to concentrate on online and international operations. One of the fashion house’s two U.S. locations to remain open indefinitely: the store in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Bloomberg]
TransitScreen Expands to Coworking Spaces — TransitScreen, which was founded in Arlington in 2013, is expanding its presence from apartment buildings to coworking offices. The creator of screens that show the schedules of various transit options — including buses, trains and Uber vehicles — has announced that it has struck a deal with another Arlington-founded company: MakeOffices. [Bisnow]
AED to Host ‘Arlington Premiere’ — Arlington Economic Development is continuing its outreach to startup businesses. Next month AED will be hosting an event called “Arlington Premiere,” which is billed as “an exclusive reception welcoming new businesses to Arlington County.” The event will take place in Crystal City and will include networking opportunities for business owners. [Arlington Economic Development]
Cat Stuck in Tree — The Arlington County Fire Department was called last night for a cat that was stuck in a tree. Yes, that does actually happen. [Twitter]
Earthquake Drill Today — Virginia and a handful of other states will be participating in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake drill today at 10:20 a.m. [ShakeOut.org]
Sobering News on Office Vacancies — County officials are warning that Arlington’s office vacancy rate will remain relatively high for the foreseeable future. Optimistically, economic development officials believe that by “slowly and steadily” winning lease renewals and new tenants, the vacancy rate could decline to just past 15 percent, from the current 20 percent, within a few years. [InsideNova]
Arlington No. 8 on Marathon Training Rankings — Arlington County has ranked No. 8 on a list of the best places to train for a marathon. The county earned high marks for its parks, its walkability and its climate. [Competitor]
Most Popular College Applications — The three top schools in terms of the number of applications from the high school class of 2016 in Arlington were: 1. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2. University of Virginia and 3. Virginia Tech. [Arlington Magazine]
Arlington’s Commuter Efforts Lauded — “Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) is being recognized for weaving mobility into broader efforts to improve local quality of life and economic competitiveness. ACCS was named by the Association for Commuter Transportation as having the best transportation demand management (TDM) program among all large municipalities in the United States.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Katie Pyzyk
Arlington is succeeding in its efforts to attract and keep businesses and jobs in the county.
That’s the latest news from Arlington Economic Development, which reported yesterday its efforts helped lead to the creation or retention of 53 businesses and 4,200 jobs in the fiscal year of 2016.
The new and retained businesses represent nearly 2 million square feet of office space and mark an increase from the last fiscal year’s total of 35 new or retained businesses, according to Arlington County.
The new numbers are “an encouraging sign that our ‘all-hands-on-deck’ effort is working to fill office vacancies with vibrant businesses that are coming to or staying in the County,” said County manager Mark Schwartz in a press release. “There’s more work to do but we’re clearly making progress.”
Some of the larger companies that have chosen to set up shop in Arlington include Grant Thornton, Amazon Innovation Center and George Washington Medical Facility Associates, the county reported. Other companies helping to add or keep jobs in Arlington include technology startups such as Shift, Phone2Action, Snagajob and Bytecubed.
Read the full press release from the county after the jump:
In honor of National Small Business Week, Arlington County is taking another step forward in its mission to educate and assist the region’s small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs by hosting Arlington’s first Small Business Summit.
The half-day summit, which is called “Open for Business” and takes place in connection with Arlington’s award-winning BizLaunch small business assistance network, will take place on Friday, May 6 at The Spectrum Theatre in Rosslyn and is designed to provide resources and information for anyone who may be considering or already own a small business venture. More than 300 people interested in small business are expected to attend.
“Fostering the growth of small, local businesses and entrepreneurs is the key to keeping local dollars here and building a successful business community,” said Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt. “The Summit will not only provide valuable hands-on information, but it will also provide the opportunity to share candid feedback with us and examine new ways to foster small business growth and sustainability.”
“Open for Business” will offer complimentary Business Express Clinics, which are one-on-one scheduled appointments with experts in areas including law, finance and business development. An InfoExpo will provide access to information about regulatory requirements, available resources, certifications and much more. There will also be a Feedback Booth, designed to provide businesses an opportunity to share their experiences and thoughts to help Arlington improve its ability to best meet the needs of the small business community.
“Every year, BizLaunch helps hundreds of small business owners with everything from securing permits and space for their business to marketing plans and employee networks,” says Tara Palacios, director of the BizLaunch program at Arlington Economic Development. “This one-stop-shopping approach with the Summit is a way for anyone thinking of starting or expanding a small business to find answers to any questions they have and learn some valuable skills and resources along the way. I can’t think of a better way to honor our businesses during Small Business Week.”
Open for Business is sponsored by the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union. Attendance for the summit is free and open to the public. Registration is required.
The preceding post was sponsored and written by Arlington Economic Development.
The Board largely took the recommendations of County Manager Mark Schwartz, who presented his proposed budget in February, and voted unanimously for the new, $1.2 billion FY 2017 budget.
Under the budget, the property tax rate will be reduced by half a cent, to $0.991 for every $100 in assessed value, while the overall property tax burden on the average homeowner will increase from $7,640 to $7,829. The increase is due to a 2.8 percent rise in residential property assessments.
The budget provides more money for Arlington Public Schools than APS asked for, in stark contrast to the budget battle in Fairfax County.
APS, which is continuing to grapple with a burgeoning student population, will get a $466.9 million budget transfer from the county, a 3.3 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. That includes “$1.1 million in one-time and ongoing funding above the School Board’s funding request.”
The budget includes the biggest boost to Arlington’s public safety funding in years, satisfying some long-sought requests.
The fire department will get eight additional firefighters to convert existing three-person fire units to the recommended safe staffing level of four per unit. ACFD will also get four additional firefighters to address persistent strains to medic unit staffing during peak times.
“A positive step forward for public safety,” the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association said via Twitter.
The police department will get six new officers to help the department “meet its core mission responsibilities.” The Sheriff’s Office, which is facing a lawsuit over the alleged mistreatment of a deaf jail inmate, is getting five new positions to “improve safety and security at the Courthouse and the Detention Center, bolster its administrative staff and add a uniformed American with Disabilities Act coordinator.”
Other notable budget items include:
- An additional $1.5 million for Arlington Economic Development, “to focus on lowering the commercial vacancy rate.”
- $13.6 million for the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, which is $1.1 million more than proposed by the manager.
- “Modest funding to continue the County’s open data efforts” and funding for livestreaming County Board work sessions and certain commission meetings.
- Merit pay increases for county employees.
- An increase in the living wage for county employees to $14.50 per hour, plus tuition reimbursement and continued funding for the Live Where You Work program.
“This is a good budget,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said in a statement. “Even as our population and school enrollment continue to grow, and our office vacancy rate remains high, the Board was able to put together a budget that preserves our community’s values, gives schools more funding than they requested, and adds funding for public safety, economic development and other key services – with a slight decrease in the tax rate.”
The budget is a complex document and the adopted budget is not yet online. Know of any other notable budget items not included here? Any quiet boosts or cuts in funding to a certain group or county department? Let us know in the comments.