Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
A locally owned co-working space is partnering with a nonprofit to help Black girls from the D.C. area reach their fullest potential.
Venture X (2300 Wilson Blvd) in Courthouse is the new headquarters for The Black Girl TRIBE, an organization that educates and uplifts Black girls through mentoring and educational programs and leadership events. The Arlington franchise location’s co-owner Julie Felgar is providing the office space to the nonprofit for free.
It’s her way of giving back to the community via her company and recognizing the work of The Black Girl TRIBE’s founder, Gabrielle Martinez.
“I was inspired by her mission, and support her doing important work she’s doing,” Felgar said. “It’s an equity issue: making sure young ladies from all ethnicities and from all walks of life can value themselves and see what the opportunities are for them out in the world.”
Up until now, The Black Girl TRIBE — which this year received a $100,000 grant from Nike — was based out of Martinez’s house in D.C.
“We used [D.C.] public libraries for everything else, even board meetings and retreats,” Martinez said. “Having this new space is a physical manifestation of the organization’s ‘glow up,’ and it really brings a new level to the way that we program, getting to call the space our own,” she said. “And even though our work has always been valuable and fantastic, having this home base has also leveled up the way that we are seen professionally amongst our community partners.”
Martinez moved in last October and says she hopes to “make the space a safe space for our girls to come learn and thrive” after COVID-19. During the pandemic, the nonprofit has kept in-person events to a minimum.
Felgar says she and her husband, a co-owner, always intended to support one to two businesses locally through Venture X. The Black Girl TRIBE is the first organization she’s partnered with, and she praised the nonprofit’s mission.
“Between 10-14, the foundation of a young lady’s self-esteem is set,” she said. “Being around powerful role models — being with a like group of young ladies and a like group of adults who are empowering them — is really critical to their self-esteem.”
Felgar is still looking for other potential organizations to partner with, in addition to cementing her office’s community presence through events for the Rotary Club of Arlington, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and political fundraisers.
“One of our initiatives this year will be reaching out into local community,” she said. “The way we designed the space, it’s really easy to host events on weekends and in the evenings. We’re open to allowing people to use space for events — that’s a great way to give back to community and get clients.”
Felgar says she aims to get her office space, which she opened in May, 75% occupied.
“We’ve seen tremendous pickup in last month alone,” she said, although the new Omicron variant may keep leases in the air a while longer. She says in recent months hybrid work arrangements have buoyed her business.
“That’s the great thing about co-working,” she said. “It was a business model that wasn’t designed for hybrid but lends itself perfectly to hybrid model… It’s been tough to open during COVID-19, but in a way, COVID-19 has validated the business model.”
Felgar left her international career with The Boeing Company to establish the Venture X franchise location and firm up her connections to Arlington and Falls Church. Her kids attend Falls Church City Public Schools, where she and her husband — both immigrants — fund scholarships for immigrant and first-generation students.
“We wanted to put our roots firmly implanted in our local community, since that’s a part of our lives that we haven’t gotten to participate in, other than our kids’ schooling and sports,” she said. “This is really great for us to be present.”
An outdoor coworking space launched in Rosslyn as a temporary pandemic-era amenity for local workers will be sticking around as a permanent feature of the neighborhood.
O2: Outdoor Office is an outdoor workspace that debuted last October at Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd). Organized by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, the outdoor office features work stations available by reservation and free Wi-Fi.
With the program becoming permanent feature of the park, and renamed in very Rosslyn fashion “O2 2.0”, the BID said new features are on the way.
“This new iteration of O2 brings more permanent outdoor seating, shade structures and free Wi-Fi to Gateway Park,” the Rosslyn BID said in a press release, “prioritizing the health, creativity and wellness of our modern workforce.”
O2 2.0 is scheduled to launch on Wednesday, Oct. 13, and will be open as an office from Wednesday-Friday that week. For the rest of October, it will be open from Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Rosslyn BID noted that Gateway Park is still accessible to the public even for those who aren’t there to work.
Starting on Oct. 13, the Rosslyn BID said there will be new programming at O2 2.0.
- Free yoga classes with Mindful Modern Living: Oct. 13 from noon to 12:40 p.m., Oct. 19 from 5-6 p.m., and Oct 26 from 5-6 p.m.
- Happy hour: Oct. 14, 15 and 28, from 4-7 p.m.
- Free workout with Gold’s Gym: Oct. 15 from noon to 12:30 p.m.
“We’re so excited to see the vision behind O2: Outdoor Office continue to welcome a new era of holistic wellness in the workplace in Rosslyn and beyond,” the BID said. “We can’t wait to see you there!”
“Summer House,” a colorful, beach-themed outdoor workspace and social spot, debuted today in Crystal City.
This nostalgic neon installation, sponsored by the National Landing Business Improvement District, is located at 101 12th Street S., a grassy area near Long Bridge Park. The pop-up open space was the site of a BID-funded art installation earlier this year and is slated to be redeveloped as an office building.
The National Landing BID held a dry-run yesterday (Tuesday) with Pride-themed margaritas, a DJ and food trucks. Similar experiences will continue all summer long so locals can work and play outdoors.
National Landing BID President and Executive Director Tracy Sayegh Gabriel said the idea of Summer House was “to celebrate this moment where we’re all ready to be done with COVID and to enjoy being together again.”
During the day, people can take advantage of remote-work essentials such as standing desks and WiFi. After work, the National Landing BID envisions the area transforming into a gathering place for locals, with food and drink provided by local businesses including The Freshman, which recently opened, and Peruvian Brothers.
Gabriel said the BID welcomes any local small businesses looking for extra exposure to come and present what they have to offer in the new space.
Additionally, the BID will host weekly events throughout August such as tie-dyeing, yoga and happy hours.
“I think we’re all done with staring at a computer screen,” Gabriel said. “This is a real-life way to interact and bring a little color, bring a little joy, bring a little summer into people’s lives.”‘
Photos courtesy Daniel Swartz
(Updated at 8:40 a.m.) Some federal agencies are looking to continue remote and hybrid working options for employees post-pandemic — a shift with potential impacts on Arlington’s office and residential real estate markets.
The Biden administration expects White House staff to return for full-time, in-person work in July, but on Thursday federal agencies were told that they will be able to offer increased work-from-home flexibility, even after the pandemic. Remote work may become a permanent option for some federal workers, just as is happening for many private-sector workers.
“I think the office market will cool as companies continue to assess what the remote work shift means for their workforce and space needs in the next few years,” said Eric Maribojoc, the executive director of the Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship at George Mason University.
Arlington has a sizable federal presence despite the Base Realignment and Closure Act, which saw the relocation of military-occupied office space. The experience taught the county some lessons about diversifying its economic base, meaning Arlington today, preparing for more telework, is in a different boat than in 2005 facing BRAC.
Those familiar with the county’s market trends say there will be impacts but they will likely be tempered by a more diverse economy, a trend toward hybrid options that involve some time in offices, and a continued need for in-person work among certain agencies and large tech companies.
“Many companies are just beginning to plan for their potential return to the office and discussing a fully remote future is still largely speculative,” Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman Kirby Clark said. “We anticipate companies will continue to offer telework flexibility during this next stage of recovery. However, we hear from many of our major employers that there is no substitute for in-person collaboration in the office, especially for knowledge-based science and technology industries.”
Arlington’s federal workforce
Although it took a while, Arlington did experience a significant drop in federally-occupied office space.
Today Arlington has 29,200 federal employees — excluding military personnel — and is home to the offices of a number of agencies, including the State Department, U.S. Marshals Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Drug Enforcement Agency, Clark said.
Some former government tenants have been replaced with corporate, tech and research anchors and a lot more housing, however. Between 2016 and 2020, Arlington added 5,193 housing units, with 3,175 units under construction and 5,907 units planned for future construction, she said.
“Over the last ten years, the landscape of Arlington’s Urban Villages transformed, becoming more economically diverse and land-use balanced, with residential development replacing old, obsolete office spaces formerly occupied by federal tenants,” said Clark.
As a region, D.C. has the nation’s second-largest pool of potential remote workers, at 49%, behind the San Francisco Bay Area, at 50%, according to a February report from the Greater Washington Partnership. The northern half of Arlington has one of the highest concentrations of remote-capable workers, alongside portions of Northwest D.C. and the Bethesda and Potomac areas of Montgomery County.
The report, which came out before the news of the changing federal work-from-home guidelines was first reported, predicted that some of the largest gains in remote work post-pandemic will likely be among government jobs.
“Two in five federal government workers may spend some time at home, with smaller shares of state and local public-sector professionals working remotely,” the report said.
Among government employees, according to Clark and Maribojoc, these options will likely be expanded for those who perform individual tasks that require focus but not high levels of security clearance.
“Due to the presence of the Pentagon and other defense and security agencies in Arlington, many federal-supporting tenants have security requirements that may require physical office spaces or proximity to major government and defense anchors,” Clark noted.
If more federal government employees go fully remote — a conversation that Clark said is still largely speculative — she predicted that it would be “a challenge not limited to Arlington and has the potential for broader regional impacts in the future.”
A new coworking space has come to the Courthouse area, amid the pandemic-era boom in working from home.
Venture X Arlington-Courthouse Metro opened this month and is hosting an open house from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at its 25,000 square-foot space at 2300 Wilson Blvd, also known as the Navy League Building
“This flexible office space is designed to meet the needs of government contractors, associations, lawyers, financial services and many other small to medium enterprises,” the company said in a news release.
Coworking offers individuals or businesses the ability to rent office space on a monthly basis, without a long-term lease. Such offices typically have communal spaces and work environments, often with private, enclosed office space as well.
“The flexible office space model is the beginning of a new era in the commercial real estate world,” Julie Felgar, owner of the coworking space, said in a news release.
The space features dedicated and shared desks, conference room spaces, a conference facility, Zoom and podcast rooms and a staffed café. It’s one of numerous options available to people in Arlington and around the region.
It comes as many workers have adjusted to telecommuting following pandemic lockdowns in 2020. According to one survey, businesses reported the percent of full-time employees working from home at least one day per week will increase from less than 10% to 27% by the end of the pandemic.
That actually might be good news for coworking spaces, which can provide smaller but well-outfitted office locations closer to where employees live.
“With the pandemic still ongoing, Venture X offers businesses and entrepreneurs an opportunity to make the hybrid office life a permanent reality,” Felgar said.
Photos courtesy Jeffrey Sauers
A pop-up outdoor office is returning to Gateway Park this spring.
O2 is scheduled to open next Tuesday, April 13 and will remain active through June 11.
More than 20 socially-distanced workstations are being set up in the outdoor office this season as a part of “Rosslyn Refresh,” a campaign by the BID to get people outdoors and enjoying spring safely. The space is equipped with power outlets, free Wi-Fi, easels, whiteboards and other office essentials.
“The free office space offers an inspiring atmosphere for employees looking to come back to the neighborhood or anyone in the DMV area needing a break from their home office routine,” the BID said in a press release. “O2 has everything you need to work safely outdoors and get back to blue-sky thinking.”
Closer to the outdoor office’s opening day, users will be able to reserve 90-minute blocks in advance online and can reserve consecutive time blocks if they would like to stay longer. O2 will also accept walk-ins if space is available and will provide blankets for people to sit on the grass if no slots are available.
O2 will initially be open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Beginning on May 1, it will also be open on Fridays.
Photo courtesy Rosslyn BID
A new co-working and flexible office space has opened in Crystal City.
Hana, a subsidiary of the real estate company CBRE Group, announced on Thursday that it has opened a new location at 2451 Crystal Drive — a stone’s throw away from two of Amazon’s temporary office spaces for HQ2 employees.
The opening announcement comes one year after it was first reported that property owner JBG Smith would be partnering with Hana.
With the National Landing spot, Hana makes its debut on the East Coast and establishes its third location in the U.S.
CBRE has established other flexible working spaces in Dallas and Irvine, Calif. Three other locations are expected to open in the first quarter of 2021: New York City, Philadelphia and Berkeley Heights, NJ.
Hana has initially opened one floor totaling more than 39,000 square feet. The floor includes private office suites and conference and events spaces, in addition to a traditional co-working spce.
“JBG Smith has worked with Hana to deliver a flex solution that meets the unique needs of the building and National Landing area by providing plug-and-play workspaces, on-demand meeting rooms and overflow accommodations,” said Hana CEO Andrew Kupiec in a statement.
In a statement, JBG executive David Ritchey said Hana’s approach, and its abundance of amenities, complements the other co-working spots in Crystal City while addressing “the need for flexible, ‘on-demand’ office space solutions in a post-COVID-19 business environment.”
The opening also comes amid the announcement that co-working rival WeWork will be closing its Crystal City location, which is just a block or two away.
Other existing co-working spaces in Crystal City include Accelspace and Eastern Foundry.
Images via Hana
(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) Coworking giant WeWork is planning to shut down its Crystal City location next month, according to an email sent to members this morning.
“I am reaching out to regretfully inform you that the WeWork Crystal City location will be closing,” said the email, which was shared with ARLnow by a member. “This location has stood strong for 5 years, and leaves a historic mark on the legacy of WeWork.”
“We know the last year has been full of surprises and challenges for every person all over the world,” the email continues. “In order to address some of these challenges, it was imperative that we carefully evaluate and right-size our portfolio.”
Amid the pandemic, WeWork has been preparing to take “drastic action” as it pursues the goal of profitability at the end of this year. The company currently has 759 open and coming locations in 119 cities worldwide, according to its website. That’s down from 828 locations at one point last year.
Fueled by massive private investment, WeWork grew at a torrid pace during the second half of the last decade, but as growth stalled its CEO and cofounder was ousted from the company and its planned IPO was scrapped.
The JBG Smith-owned building that houses WeWork in Crystal City — 2221 S. Clark Street — also contains one of the only two WeLive locations ever opened. An experiment in communal living, WeLive was reported to be on the chopping block last year.
It was not immediately clear whether WeWork plans to close the residential space along with the coworking space — the former occupies most floors of the aging office building, while WeWork is housed in the top two floors. JBG, meanwhile, has been on a redevelopment spree in Crystal City following the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2.
After the initial publication of this article, a WeWork spokeswoman confirmed to ARLnow that WeWork would be closing, but said nothing final has decided about the future of WeLive. WeWork locations in Rosslyn and Ballston are remaining open, she said.
“In streamlining our portfolio towards profitable growth, we have decided to move on from 2221 Clark St. in Arlington,” the spokeswoman said. “With several excellent locations in the immediate area, including 901 N. Glebe and 1201 Wilson, we look forward to providing our members with first-class, flexible space solutions.”
The move-out date for the Crystal City WeWork is Feb. 26, she added.
WeWork is also closing three locations in D.C., according to the Washington Business Journal.
Coronavirus Outbreak at Marymount — A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at Marymount University in Arlington. “Initially, cases were identified over Columbus Day weekend and we’ve seen a decline in the total number of cases since October 21,” university spokesman Nicholas Munson told Patch. “To date over the more than two-week period, 31 students have tested positive.” [Patch]
New Charges Against Arlington Resident — “Prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on Tuesday unveiled 15 felony charges against a pair of right-wing operatives over a recent robocall aimed at discouraging minority voters from casting their ballots by mail, similar to an indictment filed earlier this month by authorities in Michigan… The Ohio robocall claimed to be the work of the 1599 Project, an outfit that Burkman and Wohl run out of Burkman’s home in Arlington, Virginia.” [StateScoop]
Missing Middle Housing Event Tonight — “The Missing Middle Housing Study will explore how new housing types could help address Arlington’s shortfall in housing supply and gaps in housing choices. All members of the community are invited to virtually attend the study’s kick off” from 7-9 p.m. tonight. [Arlington County]
Home Sale Prices Still Going Up — “The housing market in Arlington County, Virginia, is not cooling off, with sales and prices showing among the biggest gains in the nation in September. The median price of what sold in Arlington County last month was $710,000. That’s the highest county-level median price in Northern Virginia, and up 21% from last September.” [WTOP]
Library Pumpkin Decorating Winners — “We are thrilled to have received 42 pumpkin submissions for our first virtual Pumpkin Decorating Contest! It was hard to choose the winners, as we adored so many. Thank you for submitting, attending the virtual decorating programs and carving out fun with the folks at the library!” [Arlington Public Library]
Local Lawyer Pens New Novel — “By day, Jim Irving is a sixty-something, buttoned-up attorney, a partner in a prestigious Northern Virginia law firm. By night, he is a writer tapping into his past experiences as a private eye and criminal lawyer. In his debut novel, Friends Like These: A Joth Proctor Fixer Mystery, the first in a planned trilogy, Irving draws heavily on his Arlington environs in crafting the adventures of his protagonist.” [Washington Independent Review of Books]
Rosslyn Outdoor Coworking Space Update — “Arlingtonians have about a month left to enjoy outdoor office space provided by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID). The space, dubbed O2, was created after the pandemic pushed employees out of their cubicles and into their home offices… Reservations are free of charge and can be made on the O2 website. Masks are required for entry and tables are six feet apart.” [WDVM]
Big Jump in Local Home Sales — “The red-hot summer real-estate market that evolved out of the springtime COVID crisis showed no signs of abating in September across Arlington. If anything, the market last month doubled down – literally. Home sales across the county totaled 274, up 44.2 percent from the 190 transactions recorded in September 2019.” [InsideNova]
Dems Protest Outside Trump HQ — Democrats protested outside of Trump reelection HQ in Rosslyn yesterday morning, criticizing the president for not agreeing to a virtual debate with Joe Biden. They came with signs and a large “Baby Trump” balloon. [Twitter]
Photos: Outdoor Coworking Space in Rosslyn — “Like dining out and birthday parties, coworking is now an outdoor activity thanks to the pandemic. At least it is in Rosslyn. Today, the new O2 pop-up (short for Outdoor Office) opens in Gateway Park by the Key Bridge.” [Washingtonian]
Amazon Employees to Keep Teleworking — “Amazon.com Inc.’s corporate offices may not return to pre-pandemic staffing levels until the middle of next year, with some managers telling their teams that they can continue to work from home until summer 2021.” [Washington Business Journal]
Tonight: Town Hall with APS Superintendent — “Dr. Durán will be hosting a community virtual Town Hall on Friday, October 16, from 5-6 p.m., to address the Return to School Plan. The Superintendent will address questions already received and take questions during the live event using Microsoft Teams or Facebook Live.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Ballston Private School Tackles Racism — “The Sycamore School (TSS), an independent nonprofit school serving 5th-12th grades, has invested in a year-long contract with nationally regarded educator and trainer Dr. Deborah Stroman as part of their continuing commitment to address issues of systemic racism.” [Press Release]
ART Bus Ridership Down — “For the fiscal year ending June 30, the ART system – funded by the Arlington government but operated by a private contractor – reported an average daily bus boarding total of 8,224, down 12.8 percent from the 9,434 reported for the previous fiscal year.” [InsideNova]
ABC Stores Are Doing Just Fine — “From March to September, [liquor sales in Northern Virginia] were up almost 17 percent over the year before: an average of nearly $37 million per month. March remains the month with the highest dollar amount of liquor sales in NoVa, at $39.3 million. July wasn’t far behind, with $38.5 million.” [Washingtonian]
An outdoor co-working space is set to open in mid-October at a Rosslyn park.
Outdoor Office, or O2, is coming to Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) courtesy of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. The idea is to safely provide “a retreat for professionals looking for an inspiring change of scenery” during the pandemic.
“O2 is free to all, and will be accessible with an online reservation system,” a spokeswoman explained. “There will be two distinct working stations with multiple physically-distanced seating options and free wifi.”
Given the time of year, would-be outdoor office-goers should pack a sweater along with their laptop.
More on the concept from a press release:
Today, the Rosslyn BID announced a new, outdoor workspace coming to Gateway Park in mid-October called O2, which stands for Outdoor Office. Prioritizing safety and productivity, O2 leverages existing infrastructure and natural elements at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park to create a dynamic business-meets-fresh-air environment. With a vision that centers around wellness — mental, physical, and social — O2 is a retreat for professionals looking for an inspiring change of scenery.
Centrally-located in Rosslyn’s urban core, O2 will provide distinctly separate and easy-to-use spaces to foster a comfortable and connected work atmosphere for employees looking to come back to the neighborhood or residents needing a change from their home office. This free and safe environment is designed to make working outside a breeze, including an easy-to-use reservation system, and trained Rosslyn BID Ambassadors onsite to sanitize workspaces and maintain streamlined operations.
O2’s combination of natural elements and central setting within the neighborhood’s iconic park is sure to inspire productivity and true blue-sky thinking. More details, including cleaning precautions and reservation information, will be available closer to mid-October when O2 will be open to the public for reservations. Renderings of the forthcoming installation can be found here.
“We know that safe outdoor public spaces are key to maintaining mental and physical health and helping people feel connected to where they spend their time,” said Mary-Claire Burick, President of the Rosslyn BID. “O2 is an extension of the wonderful office community we have in Rosslyn and we’re excited to bring it to Arlington.”
This year, the Rosslyn BID has creatively evolved its placemaking efforts to adapt to safe social distancing guidelines by adding new sanitizing wipe stations around the neighborhood, placing all furniture 6-8 feet apart, and transforming underutilized spaces by adding seating and continuing to safely distance people as they enjoy the outdoors. These same procedures will be used throughout O2. The Rosslyn BID Ambassadors, who keep Rosslyn’s streets clean, provide hospitality and neighborhood information, have increased their cleaning protocols for high-touch zones in public areas and surfaces throughout Rosslyn.