GW Parkway Closure — Updated at 9:15 a.m. — “All lanes of the GW Parkway are now closed during Friday morning’s rush hour due to a large sinkhole that was discovered overnight.” [Tysons Reporter]
HQ2 Impact to Be Bigger Than Expected? — JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and George Mason University’s Stephen S. Fuller both think many are underestimating HQ2’s impact on job creation in the region. [Washington Business Journal, Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Gets High Marks for Dog Parks — Arlington is No. 10 on the Trust for Public Land’s ranking of cities with the most dog parks per capita. Arlington has eight dog parks, or 3.5 for every 100,000 residents. D.C. ranked No. 22 on the list. [Trust for Public Land]
Wilson Blvd to Close Again in Ballston — “That stretch of Wilson Boulevard at @BallstonQuarter that’s now closed eastbound on school nights 8pm-6am for 8 weeks? It’ll also be closed both ways this weekend, Friday 8pm to Sunday 6pm. Lots of pedestrian bridge to do.” [Twitter]
Road Closures in N. Arlington — “The Nottingham/Discovery Elementary Schools 5K race will take place on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will close several roads from approximately 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM to accommodate the event.” [Arlington County]
Basketball Fundraiser Tonight — “New Directions High School students will play Arlington County’s heroes — including some of the police department, fire department, probation and prosecutor’s office” tonight at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School to raise money for New Directions. [Twitter]
No Hyperloop for Va. for Now — “Virginia transit officials flew to California to check out Elon Musk’s Boring Co. tunnel. They say they’re gonna stick with traditional roads and railways for now. ‘It’s a car in a very small tunnel.'” [Virginia Mercury, Twitter]
More on Seven Corners Death Investigation — “Detectives from our Major Crimes Bureau are investigating after a body was found… in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church. Officers found a 49-year-old Hispanic man lying unresponsive in an alley near the intersection of Arlington Boulevard and Patrick Henry Drive.” [Fairfax County Police]
D.C. Area Adds Fewer Jobs Than Expected — “The Washington region added 35,300 jobs in 2018 based on data released yesterday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 16,800 fewer jobs than indicated by the preliminary releases.” [George Mason University]
Home Sales Continue Trend — “Year-over-year home sales across the Washington region have now tumbled each of the first two months of 2019, but the median sales price rose for the 29th consecutive month, according to new data, while inventory levels tightened slightly as the winter market segued into spring.” [InsideNova]
Dudley’s Opening at Last — Nearly four years after it was first announced that a new sports bar called Dudley’s Sport and Ale was coming to the former Bungalow space in Shirlington, the long-delayed sports bar is finally planning to open to the public on Friday. [Facebook]
Experts See More Amazon Jobs Heading Here — “Given Amazon’s Northern Virginia incentives allowing for as many as 38,000 jobs over 15 years, CoStar Managing Consultant and Senior Real Estate Economist Paul Leonard expects it will absorb much of the planned New York payroll, despite Amazon’s company line that ‘nothing has changed’ for National Landing.” [Bisnow]
More on I-395 Incident — Arlington County Police say it was a juvenile suspect, driving a stolen car without a driver’s license, who caused a big crash on I-395 before leading police on a foot chase during Tuesday’s evening rush hour. [Arlington County]
Inside Look at Memorial Bridge Work — Workers are laboring to restore the Arlington Memorial Bridge to its former glory, one piece of 90-year-old granite at a time. [NBC Washington]
Copa Kitchen & Bar Opening Today — The latest restaurant to open at Ballston Quarter is Copa Kitchen & Bar, which is expected to serve customers from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. today, according to a social media post. [Instagram]
Where’s the Weather? — Our faithful weather bar, which has graced the top of our site for many years, is out of commission, for now. IBM, in its infinite wisdom, killed the source of our data. Why, Watson, why? We’re working to restore the current conditions display with a new data source, but it’s probably going to take a few months. [Weather Underground]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
Nearly three quarters of all IT workers across the D.C. region would consider leaving their current job to work for Amazon, a new survey shows, revealing just how impactful the company’s arrival in Arlington could be on the local labor market.
A poll released today (Wednesday) by Eagle Hill Consulting, and conducted by the survey firm Ipsos, found that 51 percent of employees across all occupations would jump ship for Jeff Bezos’ company. The group found that younger people and tech workers were especially enthusiastic about the company, with 60 percent of millennials expressing interest in Amazon and 71 percent of IT workers showing a willingness to leave.
The research underscores the fears harbored among many smaller, tech-focused startups in the D.C. area that Amazon’s arrival in Crystal City and Pentagon City (set to begin in earnest this year) will result in a brain drain of sorts. Eagle Hill also expects that federal workers could find themselves lured into the private sector by Amazon’s hefty paychecks, particularly as the company ramps up hiring for the 25,000 jobs it expects to eventually bring to its new headquarters.
“Area employers should be worried, especially those that need to retain their tech talent,” Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill’s president and CEO, wrote in a statement. “Private sector and government employers will have to do all they can now to hang on to their employees before Amazon arrives – especially in such a tight labor market.”
As Jezior points out, unemployment rates are low around the country at the moment, especially in Arlington, which regularly posts the lowest jobless rate in the whole state. To Eagle Hill researchers, that means employers will need to “dig deep to understand their employees’ satisfaction and deliver what their workforce needs are positioned to hold onto their star employees when Amazon moves in,” Jezior said.
The poll results show that 71 percent of all workers see a move to Amazon as a chance to earn more pay, while 45 percent say they’d make the move to do “more interesting work.” An identical number said they’d move to Amazon in order to work “for a progressive company” — Bezos’ firm has been a leader in bumping up wages for its warehouse workers, but has also taken plenty of criticism for its labor practices and support for the Trump administration’s immigration tactics.
Among IT workers, those numbers are even stronger: 71 percent see a chance for higher salary, 55 percent are enthusiastic about more interesting work, and 51 percent want to work for a progressive company.
Victor Hoskins, director of Arlington Economic Development, acknowledged that Amazon will put pressure on the labor market, as will the tech companies who flock to the area to take advantage of Amazon’s arrival. But he was also quick to point out that companies concerned about losing employees will have to time to prepare and do the sort of introspection that Jezior recommends.
“Only a few hundred jobs are coming here in the first year, so if that’s the concern, they can get a jump on them,” Hoskins said. “The big numbers really don’t start until 2020, 2021.”
Much like other surveys of attitudes about the company, Eagle Hill found that opinions on Amazon were largely positive: 83 percent of workers surveyed believe the company will have a positive impact on the local economy. Additionally, 88 percent believe Amazon will improve prospects for job seekers and 73 percent think the company will have a positive impact on “overall compensation” in the region.
But Amazon’s impact on Northern Virginia’s already crowded roads emerged as a clear concern among those survey — 77 percent believe Amazon will have a negative impact on traffic, a common view among Arlington residents but one generally not shared by local officials.
Eagle Hill says Ipsos conducted the survey by collecting responses online from about 1,000 “working age” people across the D.C. region.
Photo via Amazon
The county’s top economic development official has already bounced around the Washington region a bit over the course of his career, serving in similar roles in D.C., Prince George’s County and even Maryland’s state government. But few of the deals Hoskins struck in those jobs could hope to rival the agreement he worked to forge with Amazon, in terms of both size and controversy.
Accordingly, it might seem perfectly reasonable if Hoskins wanted to walk away from the county after pulling off such a mammoth transaction — or perhaps parlay his Amazon-sized success into a bigger payday elsewhere.
But even with Jeff Bezos and company set to head to Arlington, Hoskins says he isn’t going anywhere. Though the tech giant plans to invest billions in the county, he believes there are still plenty of challenges left in Arlington that he hopes to tackle.
“Frankly, I want to see this through,” Hoskins told ARLnow. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity… because we still have an 18 percent office vacancy rate. When we get down to a 10 or 12 percent vacancy rate, then I’ll consider leaving.”
Like many other county officials in recent weeks, Hoskins emphasizes that the 25,000 workers Amazon plans to move to Crystal City and Pentagon City will only help replace the similar number of employees who’ve left the area in recent years, as federal agencies and the military have headed elsewhere.
That means he sees plenty of room for Arlington to keep adding jobs, and he fully expects that the county’s economic development arm will have a key role in guiding that process.
“We’re expecting 25,000 jobs of Amazon, but at least another 25,000 over the same 10-, 12-year time period from all the supportive services or ancillary services to the company,” Hoskins said. “That means a few years from now, we could be down to a 12 percent office vacancy rate if everything goes right. But that takes hard work.”
Hoskins says it certainly helps to have a “seal of approval from the largest tech company in the world” in bringing in other high-tech businesses too. Though he’s waiting until the county and state formally sign off on the Amazon deal — a process that could wrap up as soon as February — to start courting anyone too hard, Hoskins would also concede that luring other Silicon Valley firms will be a key part of his strategy going forward.
“We’re going to be looking for companies that start deciding, like Amazon, that they need an eastern seaboard location,” Hoskins said. “And many of those are west of the Mississippi.”
He envisions branding Arlington as the next Silicon Valley, perhaps “the Silicon Valley on the Potomac,” a shift in thinking that he believes the county kicked off years ago that contributed to its successful courtship of Amazon. Part of that work will be marketing Arlington’s ever-growing tech workforce, another key piece of the pitch county and state officials made to Amazon.
For instance, Hoskins expects that the state’s investments in new, tech-focused higher education efforts in the area (including a new Virginia Tech “Innovation Campus” in Alexandria and a beefed up computer science program at George Mason’s Virginia Square campus) will send tens of thousands of graduates with high-tech degrees into the workforce in the coming years. And he hopes that other local universities will follow that lead, even if they weren’t included in the Amazon deal.
“UVA’s [Darden School of Business] opened up an MBA campus right in Rosslyn, and I know they’re probably sitting there thinking, ‘Could we raise some money in the tech arena and build on some state funds here?'” Hoskins said. “And I think we have a whole host of other universities that will come on board.”
Of course, the quality of Arlington’s public schools were another factor that lured Amazon to the county, and Hoskins expects school officials to play a role in readying students to potentially enroll in those programs.
“I know our schools are already having conversations with George Mason University and others to see what kind of cross-training they can set up to take advantage of these resources,” Hoskins said.
Yet Hoskins says that his intense focus on the future doesn’t take away the pride he feels in having helped pull off such a massive deal in Arlington. Though community concerns abound about the tech giant’s potential impact on everything from the housing market to traffic, Hoskins believes the positives for the county were enough to leave him practically giddy when he first heard the news that Amazon tabbed Arlington.
“I was exhilarated, are you kidding me?” Hoskins said. “It was 14 months of pins and needles… I’ve got a 91-year-old mother, and she told me she was delighted to hear about this. And it took her a long time to even understand what I do for a living, so that means the world.”
Photo via @ArlChamberVA
(Updated 3 p.m.) Bethesda Bagels seems to be moving closer to opening its new Rosslyn location.
A sign on the exterior of the storefront at Central Place (1800 N. Lynn Street) indicates that the location is now hiring. The company is looking for a variety of new staff members, including bagel rollers and dough makers, who will mix dough from scratch and hand roll bagels during the day, according to the sign.
The posting also lists a bagel baker position for a night shift.
Owners of Bethesda Bagels previously told ARLnow they were aiming for an August opening. Danny Fleishman, president of Bethesda Bagels, said he currently looking at sometime between Oct. 10-18 for an opening, though that may be subject to change.
The regional chain currently operates stores in both Bethesda and D.C., in Dupont Circle.
Shooting for early October. Fingers crossed!
— Bethesda Bagels (@bethesdabagels) September 17, 2018
Arlington and the rest of the D.C. region could face a massive “housing shortfall” in the coming years without a surge in new construction, according to a new analysis by regional planners.
A study presented to the board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments last Wednesday (Sept. 12) suggests that the region needs to add 100,000 more homes than are currently projected to be built between now and 2045.
Otherwise, planners expect the surge in workers moving to the region will drive up housing prices to even higher levels, imperiling the region’s economy and further driving workers out into increasingly distant suburbs.
“The projected gap — or housing ‘ shortfall’ — will only worsen without intervention,” MWCOG researchers wrote. “The region should continue to create and/or preserve housing at a higher rate than has been achieved in the recent past to close the gap and provide adequate housing options to be able to sustain strong regional economic growth.”
The researchers based that warning on population estimates for the region suggesting D.C. and its suburbs will see its employment base of 3.28 million jobs balloon to 4.27 million by 2045 — a forecast that only takes regional trends into consideration and doesn’t specifically account for the arrival of a tech giant like Amazon in the region. By contrast, the planners expect the D.C. metro area to see its housing stock rise by roughly half that amount, going from 2.08 million homes to 2.66 million.
Accordingly, they project that the region will need to add 690,000 new homes, rather than the 575,000 currently projected, in order to have a desirable ratio of workers to homes.
To reach that figure, the analysts expect that the region will need a “sustained housing production of 25,600 units each year” through 2045. The group noted that the region added about 23,500 new homes in 2017, and has persistently upped its housing production each year as the area’s recovered from the Great Recession.
Even still, the researchers note that in the early 2000s, the region was averaging nearly 30,000 new homes built each year, making such a boost feasible.
“Although we are on the right trajectory, it is possible to produce even more,” the analysts wrote.
The researchers urge leaders in Arlington and other localities with access to “high capacity transit stations” to take up such a challenge, particularly by identifying ‘planning and zoning tools and policies to ensure preservation of existing housing and production of new affordably priced units.”
“It is important to note again that this goal of increasing housing production by slightly more than 100,000 units is to ensure a sufficient supply of housing for workers to fill current and anticipated jobs,” the researchers wrote. “Although it will mostly address need from an economic competitiveness and transportation infrastructure standpoint, it will have broad significance for the future of our region and its residents.”
File photo. Chart via Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
(Updated at 5:10 pm) Three Arlington Companies are among the top 10 midsize workplaces in the D.C. area, according to new rankings compiled by the Washington Post.
The companies — Promontory Interfinancial Network, Applied Predictive Technologies and Halfaker & Associates — were ranked based on feedback from a survey of employees.
The full list of Arlington companies on the Post’s annual rankings is below.
- Promontory Interfinancial Network #7 (out of 30)
- Applied Predictive Technologies #8
- Halfaker & Associates #9
- National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, #15
- CACI International, #27
- Consumer Technology Association, #21 (out of 55)
- National Cooperative Bank, #29
- Eagle Hill Consulting, #42
In all, the county has about 149,000 people employed of its nearly 152,000 residents, pegging its unemployment rate at 1.9 percent. That represents a decline from the month of March when the county posted a 2.2 percent rate, according to numbers released last Wednesday (May 30) by the Virginia Employment Commission.
The new figure reflects an even larger decrease from the same time period a year ago, when the county’s unemployment rate stood at 2.3 percent.
Virginia as a whole posted a 2.8 percent unemployment rate for the month of April, while the Northern Virginia region came in at 2.4 percent overall.
Among the Northern Virginia localities, Falls Church placed right behind Arlington at 2.1 percent, with Alexandria and Fairfax City finishing a close third at 2.2 percent.
The full Northern Virginia unemployment numbers, by locality, are below.
1. Arlington County: 1.9 percent
2. Falls Church City: 2.1 percent
T-3. Alexandria City: 2.2 percent
T-3. Fairfax City: 2.2 percent
T-4. Loudoun County: 2.3 percent
T-4. Fairfax County: 2.3 percent
T-5. Manassas City: 2.5 percent
T-5: Manassas Park City: 2.5 percent
6. Prince William County: 2.6 percent
7. Stafford County: 2.7 percent
Tourists spent more than $3 billion in Arlington County last year, supported more than 25,000 jobs and produced over $200 million in local and state tax revenues, all record highs.
According to figures released by the U.S. Travel Association, tourism in the county generated $3.12 billion in 2016, up 2 percent from the previous year. Arlington continued to lead all Virginia counties in visitor spending, as it has since 2009.
“Tourism continues to be an incredibly vibrant sector in Arlington’s economy,” Arlington County Board chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “Through jobs, spending at Arlington businesses and tax revenues that support local schools and services, tourism will always be a key to our economic growth.”
The 2016 tourism data is based on spending by visitors from inside the United States, from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.
“These excellent results are a testament to the strength of our hospitality community and its longstanding collaboration with the County in marketing Arlington to potential visitors,” Arlington Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Kate Bates said in a statement. “We are proud of the exceptional work of our hotels, whose dedication to top quality service continues to attract more visitors to our area.”
Victor Hoskins, director of Arlington Economic Development, said support from the County Board and Chamber for increased investment in tourism promotion has been crucial.
“It has dramatically expanded our ability to showcase Arlington and its businesses to meeting planners, consumers, tour operators and journalists – domestically and around the globe,” Hoskins said in a statement.
Flickr pool photo by Starbuck77
Bloomberg BNA Expansion — Crystal City-based Bloomberg BNA will invest $5.5 million to expand in Arlington County and create up to 125 new jobs. Governor McAuliffe approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project. [Augusta Free Press]
Suspect Has Missing Ex-Wife — The Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested a man in Arlington this weekend in connection with the 2009 disappearance of his girlfriend, who lived in D.C. Now Jose Rodriguez-Cruz also has been tied to the disappearance of his first wife, who was last seen in 1989. Arlington County police have opened an investigation into her disappearance. [WTOP] [NBC Washington]
Overnight I-66 Closures — VDOT will be closing part of eastbound I-66 for 20 minute intervals tonight for toll construction. Beginning at 9:30 p.m. and running until 5 a.m. on Wednesday, closures will occur on eastbound I-66 between I-495 north and Lee Highway.
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]
With such rapid advances in technology over the years, it’s no surprise that the demand for qualified IT employees has increased exponentially. There are ample opportunities within D.C. metro for candidates looking for a tech related position. However, everyone knows that traffic going into the city is unruly. Why not look in your own backyard?
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We value diversity – in backgrounds, skills, and perspectives. Among our most valued employees are re-energized retirees, fresh-out-of-college new hires, first-generation Americans, and back-to-work (formerly stay-at-home) parents. Whoever you are, you’ll fit right in.
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Take a look at our current job openings below, and reach out with questions.
- Technical Project Manager
- Cisco VoIP Engineer
- Systems Administrator – MS Azure
- Strategic Cybersecurity Network Engineer
- Information System Security Analyst
- Information System Security Engineer/Analyst
- Information System/Process Analyst
- Cyber Security Analyst/Technician
- Program Manager – IT Security Management
- Systems Administrator – MS Azure
- Technical Proposal Manager/Writer
The preceding post was sponsored and written by TechTrend.
Beyer Warns of Obamacare Repeal Ramifications — “The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act will have disastrous consequences for Virginia,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said Friday, citing recent studies. “Hundreds of thousands of our neighbors will lose life-saving, affordable health coverage. The state also stands to lose as many as 100,000 jobs, $30 billion in gross state product, and $50 billion in business output. This is unacceptable and irresponsible.” [House of Representatives, Commonwealth Fund]
Will Startup’s Growth Add Arlington Jobs? — Just before the new year, president-elect Donald Trump said that Rosslyn-based OneWeb will be creating 3,000 jobs as it prepares to launch hundreds of satellites to deliver broadband internet around the world. Will those jobs be coming to Arlington? An Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman said the agency was not sure, while a OneWeb spokesman told ARLnow.com only that it was opening a new office in McLean.
Op-Ed Warns ‘Ignore Arlington’s Bad Example’ — The Arlington County Board’s recently-passed home sharing regulations are a “bad example” for other Virginia localities considering similar rules, since Arlington prohibited renters from renting their homes on Airbnb and other platforms. “The opportunities created by the sharing economy shouldn’t be restricted to only those few who are deemed worthy,” says a fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, in an op-ed. [Richmond Times Dispatch]
County Board Members Take Regional Roles — “Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette will serve as 2017 Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board. County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol will serve as chair of the Northern Virginian Transportation Commission’s Legislative Committee, and has joined the leadership of the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board.” [Arlington County]
New Year, New Offer for New Advertisers — Join dozens of satisfied advertising clients and get your business’ message out to the greater Arlington community with ARLnow.com. Learn more about our advertising options and check out our new winter deal for new advertisers: book at least a month of advertising and get another month free. [ARLnow]
The financial website SmartAsset has Arlington ranked No. 1 on its list of the “hardest-working cities in America.” The website ranked 113 U.S. cities by labor market data on the average number of hours worked in a week and the average number of weeks worked per year.
The four hardest-working cities after Arlington were Anchorage, Alaska; Lincoln, Nebraska; Plano, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Detroit ranked last on the list
People in Arlington work an average of 41.5 hours per week and 40.15 weeks per year, according to SmartAsset. The company said that Arlington benefitted from steady employment at the Pentagon and other federal government offices.
Thanks in part to a large federal government presence, the Arlington, VA economy is largely immune to the economic shocks which sometimes rock the rest of the country. Government agencies like the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security are headquartered here. In fact, the Pentagon where the Department of Defense is headquartered is the largest office building in the world.
In Arlington people work an average of 41.5 hours per week. This figure is the highest in the country and a big reason Arlington comes in as the hardest-working city in America.
The largest private companies (in terms of employees) in the city are Deloitte and Accenture. Other large private companies owe their presence to the nearby Department of Defense, like Lockheed Martin. All in all, workers in Arlington work an average of 1,431 hours per year.