Arlington, VA

(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) WeWork will soon open its newest Arlington co-working space, the company says.

“Our new Rosslyn location at 1201 Wilson is slated to open this June,” company spokeswoman Nicole Sizemore told ARLnow on Monday. The company is also now listing the new Rosslyn location on its website with an option to call for information about pre-opening rates.

“Amid federal agencies and corporate giants, WeWork’s shared office in Arlington is a powerful locale to put down roots,” reads a description on the company’s website. “Several floors in this modern building are converted workspace, featuring comfortable lounges, bright and airy conference rooms, and sleek private offices.”

The final lease includes 83,294 square feet of space across four floors near the top of the 31-story CEB Tower, according to a December press release. The Washington Business Journal reported that the coworking space will have more than 1,400 desks and will “target large, ‘enterprise-level’ corporations — government contractors, trade associations and the tech sector.”

WeWork’s move comes as several major companies and other coworking and meeting spaces are opening up shop in Rosslyn, including Cerner, Nestle and its subsidiary Gerber, Spaces, Convene and Eastern Foundry this past year.

WeWork said Monday that it had filed to go public on the stock exchange, which will test its $47 billion private valuation.

Photo via WeWork

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Amazon executives say they’re looking forward to becoming “good neighbors” in Arlington, delivering a decidedly optimistic message to local leaders in one of the company’s first public events since tabbing the county for its new headquarters.

The tech giant’s head of worldwide economic development, Holly Sullivan, assured a crowd of government officials and business executives last night (Thursday) that the company is looking to build a “sustainable long-term partnership” in the region. That presented a stark contrast with Amazon’s recent decision to spurn New York City over concerns that local leaders were insufficiently supportive of a new headquarters there.

The event, organized by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and held at George Mason University’s Virginia Square campus, also came just a few days after Arlington officials and activists expressed concern that Amazon executives haven’t done enough to engage the community as it gears up to move into the area.

Sullivan challenged that idea Thursday, arguing the company plans to be “active in the community” and has “just started our outreach” in Arlington. But only a limited group of Arlingtonians had the chance to hear that message — the event was “invitation-only,” though the COG did offer a livestream for anyone hoping to watch from home.

That stricture prompted some local critics of the project to refuse to attend the event, calling on the company to hold public hearings with community members instead. Many have been especially critical of Arlington’s proposed incentive package for Amazon — if the County Board approves it next month, Arlington would fork over $23 million over the next 15 years to a company owned by the world’s richest man.

On that front, Sullivan was able to offer significantly less reassurance. In response to a rare question from a reporter at the event, she pointedly would not say whether the company would pull the plug on its Arlington plans if the Board rejects the incentive package.

“The talent in the area was the primary driver of this entire process,” Sullivan said. “But incentives are important to us. They give us an opportunity to reinvest in our infrastructure and development opportunities for our workforce.”

Of course, it’s quite unlikely that the Board would take such a step. Even Board members who have expressed some unease with the incentive package have reasoned that it’s a small price to pay for the 25,000 (or more) jobs Amazon hopes to bring to the county.

The business community has also been increasingly vocal in support of the project. Not only has the Arlington Chamber of Commerce repeatedly thrown its weight behind the effort, but the Crystal City-based Consumer Technology Association recently joined in the fight as well. The CEO of the tech advocacy group attended the event to welcome Amazon to the neighborhood, and the CTA organized a crowd of dozens of pro-Amazon demonstrators to hold signs outside the gathering.

“We know this is a historic moment, not just for Arlington, but the whole region,” said Victor Hoskins, head of Arlington Economic Development.

To assuage anyone concerned that the company would bring a huge surge of out-of-state workers to jam area roads and pack local apartment buildings, Sullivan stressed that, in a perfect world, company executives “hope to hire all 25,000 workers locally.”

But she followed that up with a laugh, acknowledging that such a possibility is a bit unlikely. However, she is confident that D.C. region has enough highly skilled tech workers to provide a deep hiring pool for Amazon. And it helps, she believes, that the company already has corporate offices in both Herndon and D.C. to draw from too.

“A few people may choose to relocate from our Seattle headquarters, but this is not a relocation of corporate employees from Seattle,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan added that, wherever the company’s employees hail from, Amazon plans to design its offices in a way to “push employees out into the neighborhood to support local businesses.”

While the tech giant is still in the most preliminary phases of designing the office space it plans to lease from JBG Smith in Crystal City and build in Pentagon City, she said the company fully expects to draw from the design principles it used in Seattle.

“We’ll be trying to take the indoors outdoors and vice versa,” Sullivan said. “We want it to feel very much like a neighborhood. There will be no walls around it, no big sign that says ‘Amazon’ on it.”

That includes a focus on welcoming retailers and other restaurants onto the ground floor of the company’s offices. Though JBG has already worked fervently to bring more mixed-use developments to the area, it’s a process the area’s dominant property owner is hoping that Amazon will accelerate, to the whole neighborhood’s benefit.

“Crystal City gets pretty quiet at night, because everyone leaves right after work,” said Andrew VanHorn, JBG Smith’s executive vice president. “It may not be 24/7, but we want to make it more of an 18/7 environment.”

Until the Board signs off on the incentive package and Amazon starts submitting construction plans for its new offices, VanHorn pointed out that any design conversations are quite preliminary at this point.

However, he said JBG is working under the general assumption that the company will move into all of its leased office space in Crystal City by 2020. Then development work on a new building at Metropolitan Park in Pentagon City will run roughly from 2021 to 2025; construction at the former “Pen Place” development will run from 2023 to 2027.

Sullivan stressed that the buildings won’t look too out of step with the existing skyline, saying executives hope to “integrate into what’s already there” in Pentagon City.

Arlington’s notoriously extensive civic engagement process for new developments offers a long road ahead for the company, but Sullivan said she’s looking forward to embarking on it to answer a simple question: “How can we be a better neighbor?”

“We’re all doing this together,” Sullivan said. “We’re going to be neighbors.”

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A New York-based tech company just announced a major new expansion in Rosslyn, with plans to bring 500 jobs to the county over the next five years.

Yext rolled out plans yesterday (Thursday) to lease a 42,500-square-foot office space at 1101 Wilson Boulevard. The company will occupy the top three floors of the building, and will help slash the office vacancy rate in Rosslyn, a persistent problem over the last few years.

Yext produces data management software for companies looking to manage their online presence, helping brands as large as T-Mobile and Ben and Jerry’s track and upload location information to directories across the web.

Company founder and CEO Howard Lerman, a Virginia native himself, says the move will help fuel his firm’s ongoing expansion efforts in the D.C. metro area, which he hailed in a statement as a budding tech hub now that Amazon is coming to the county.

“Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia are emerging as one of the country’s major hubs for tech talent, which was a key factor in our decision to expand in the area,” Lerman wrote. “Our new office will be a key foothold as we continue our global growth.”

Yext plans to offer an open floor plan, fully stocked kitchens and free meals to all employees at the space. The company also hopes to put up a sign displaying its name on the building, once the home of the county’s Artisphere, to adorn Rosslyn’s skyline.

Rosslyn has seen quite a few economic development victories in recent months, highlighted by Nestle bringing its American headquarters to the neighborhood last year. The tech consulting firm Accenture recently added an office in the area as well, and the We Companies recently opened a new coworking space in the neighborhood.

Rendering courtesy of Yext

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A Ballston office building that’s sat largely empty ever since a federal agency moved out a few years back could soon lure a bevy of new tenants to the space.

The Arlington Square building, located at 4401 Fairfax Drive, looks set to experience a bit of a revitalization. The County Board is set to consider a series of zoning changes for the property tomorrow (Saturday) to lure in two tenants, and other retailers look to be on the way as well.

Built in 1988, the eight-story building was long the headquarters of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But the agency took off for Falls Church in 2014, as part of a series of federal tenants leaving the area, and the building has been “mostly vacant” since then, county staff wrote in a report to the Board.

The Brookfield Property Group bought Arlington Square for $33.5 million back in 2017, paying substantially less than its previous owner did in acquiring it for $53.9 million in 2010, according to county property records. The developer now “intends to attract a variety of uses and tenants to occupy the building,” staff wrote.

Specifically, the building’s owner is looking for a zoning change in order to lease out about 2,800 square feet of space on its ground floor to a “private college.” The Board report doesn’t name the institution looking to move into the space, but it does say that it will offer classes on nights and weekends, with “degrees in a Master of Business Administration, Bachelors of Science in Business, Bachelors of Science in Information Technology and general studies and electives programs.”

A behavioral therapy provider, known as “Mind Body Health,” is also hoping to move into about 2,400 square feet of space on the building’s second floor. The business is currently based in Courthouse, in a building at 2200 Wilson Blvd, and is looking for a new permit to operate in the space.

Brookfield is also planning on adding two retailers to the ground floor, to further “activate the streetscape,” staff wrote. One, the soup-and-salad restaurant Zoup!, has already posted signs at the location. The other looks to be Poke It Up, according to a report from Eater D.C., a chain with a location in the Pentagon City mall.

County staff are recommending that the Board sign off on the proposal, hailing its potential to bring more business to “a building that has sat largely vacant for five years.”

The Board has certainly put an emphasis on reversing the county’s rising office vacancy rate in recent years — though Amazon’s arrival in Crystal City and Pentagon City will make a huge impact on that effort, officials have warned that neighborhoods like Ballston and Rosslyn still have some catching up to do.

Photo via Arlington County

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(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) PBS has signed a new deal to keep its headquarters in Arlington, though it will be relocating to a different building in Crystal City.

The media company announced today (Tuesday) that it will be moving from its current space at 2100 Crystal Drive to a 120,000-square-foot office at 1225 S. Clark Street. PBS agreed to a 15-year lease in the building, and plans to make the move sometime in “mid-2020,” per a press release.

The nonprofit has been based out of the 2100 Crystal Drive property since 2006. Its new headquarters is adjacent to both the Earth Treks climbing gym and the headquarters of the U.S. Marshals Service.

“We are thrilled that PBS will remain in Crystal City, especially during such a transformative and exciting time for this community,” PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger said in a statement, no doubt referring to Amazon’s impending arrival just a few blocks away. “Keeping our headquarters in Arlington is great for PBS and our employees, and we’re proud to call ‘National Landing’ our home.”

The move takes PBS from one property controlled by developer JBG Smith to another. The company is the dominant property owner throughout Crystal City, Pentagon City and the nearby Potomac Yard, controlling millions of square feet of space even after helping bring Amazon to some of its properties.

“This continued long-term commitment by PBS to stay within the submarket further validates our excellent location, as well as our many planned improvements for the neighborhood,” David Ritchey, JBG Smith executive vice president said in a statement. “The relocation and extension of the PBS lease is also indicative of our plan to retain and attract diverse industries to National Landing, including associations and non-profits.”

The March of Dimes nonprofit also recently announced plans to relocate to the area, moving to a building at 1550 Crystal Drive.

Attracting businesses to the area remains a major concern for the county, even with Amazon set to take up as much as 8 million square feet of office space in the area someday. The county is hoping many property owners, like JBG, will use the company’s arrival as the impetus to refresh some of their older buildings in the area, and further reverse Arlington’s spiking office vacancy rate.

PBS member station WETA is also one of the county’s more well-known office tenants in South Arlington, though one of the TV station’s facilities could also be on the move. County officials hope to someday acquire the station’s studio property in Nauck, in which programs like the PBS NewsHour is produced, then use the land for the redevelopment of Jennie Dean Park.

Photo 1 via Google Maps

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The owner of a Rosslyn office building is changing up how it leases out some of its space, in a bid to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of government contractors.

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust announced today (Wednesday) that it’s rebranding some of its space at the Arlington Tower (1300 17th Street N.) as “Space+.” The firm acquired the property, located just across the street from Dark Star Park, back in January for about $250 million.

The program is designed to offer prospective tenants “high quality office space that can be customized and configured to be as large or small as a business needs at any given time,” according to a press release. The developer is marketing a variety of spaces in the building that resemble traditional coworking offices, but can also be customized to suit each business’s desires.

In all, about 22,000 square feet of the building’s 398,000 square feet of space will be reserved for the “Space+” offerings, according to spokeswoman Liz Wainger. The space will be available for lease right away, she added.

“Space+ reflects our willingness to be creative on lease term and structures, all to accommodate tenants who are grappling with rapid change in their industries,” Wainger wrote in an email. “Our bread and butter are smaller growing enterprises and contractors with immediate needs.”

Primarily, the company is hoping to ride a projected surge in new federal business in the area. Though many property owners in Rosslyn, in particular, have struggled with high vacancy rates in recent years, the developer doesn’t expect that trend to last much longer — particularly with Amazon coming to town soon.

“According to an analysis of government contracts awarded in the six zip codes in and around Arlington Tower, the data shows that nearly 370 contractors have been recently awarded or imminently expect to be awarded contracts that will notch a greater than 10 percent funding increase in 2018, with continued hikes in year-over-year funding in 2019,” the company wrote in the release. “With the ability to meet company demands — regardless of size — Space+ availability at Arlington Tower answer[s] the anticipated demand with straightforward pricing and fast move-ins to single offices, collaborative work spaces and furnished suites.”

Several other firms offering coworking offices and other flexible spaces have also opened in Rosslyn in recent months, including WeWork, Spaces, Convene and Eastern Foundry.

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Crystal City’s bevy of aging office buildings have long been in need of a makeover, and Arlington officials hope Amazon’s arrival will spur some big development changes in the neighborhood.

The tech giant itself will be responsible for a major transformation of the newly christened “National Landing” all on its own, of course. Amazon will start off by leasing space from property owner JBG Smith in Crystal City, with plans to fully renovate those office buildings, and even construct its own facilities on various plots of land in Pentagon City.

And while the company could one day control as much as 8 million square feet of office space in the area, there are plenty of other buildings dotting Crystal City’s landscape that Amazon won’t touch. JBG alone controls another 6.2 million square feet of office space throughout the neighborhood, including a whole variety of buildings constructed decades ago, when Crystal City was primarily a home for the military and federal agencies.

It’s those structures that Arlington leaders are most anxious to see receive a refresh, in order to lure even more businesses to the area. While Amazon’s new headquarters will put a huge dent in the neighborhood’s office vacancy rate, officials say the county still has plenty of work left to do in that department.

“Many of these buildings were purpose-built for the federal government or overflow from the Pentagon,” Anthony Fusarelli, the assistant director of the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, said during a question-and-answer session live-streamed on Facebook last night (Monday). “As the economy diversifies, the building stock needs to diversify with it.”

Sally Duran, the chair of the county’s Economic Development Commission, pointed out that business leaders have been strategizing ways to orchestrate such changes in Crystal City for years now, dating back to the immediate aftermath of the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure process. But the county lacked any sort of driving factor to spur that change, she noted, making Amazon’s selection of the area quite welcome news indeed.

Fusarelli also observed that many Crystal City property owners, including JBG, were already nearing a critical decision point about how to handle the future of their buildings. Given the age of the structures, he said owners faced one of just a few options: sell their holdings, “reinvest and try to cary the building forward for 10 to 20 more years,” or simply “demolish and redevelop.”

With Amazon about to bring 25,000 jobs to the area, he expects to see plenty of developers choosing the third option.

“We may have these 40-, 50-year-old buildings come off the line and be replaced with residential buildings, or other uses,” Fusarelli said. “We may see the vacancy rate go down over time to the extent that additional activity in this area will lead to redevelopment and changing uses.”

Even before Amazon’s announcement, Fusarelli says the county was projecting an additional 20 million square feet of development in the area he dubbed “the Route 1 corridor,” rather than the controversial “National Landing” moniker, through 2025. Accordingly, he expects that the county will be ready to embrace all that new change, rather than be overwhelmed by it.

“Over the past 14 months, we’ve been evaluating the area and making sure it could manage that growth, and it could,” said Christina Winn, director of Arlington Economic Development’s Business Investment Group. “It was planned for that.”

Of course, there’s plenty of community consternation around just how the area will cope with Amazon-related growth, with apprehension surrounding everything from the company’s impact on transportation networks to home prices.

But county officials remain adamant that the slow pace of the tech giant’s arrival, to be stretched out over the better part of 12 years or so, will help Arlington adjust to the changes gradually. The company plans to add only a few hundred workers in the near term, then bring on about 2,000 staffers a year through 2030.

Officials also stressed that the county will review every step of the assembly of the new headquarters. The County Board will vote no earlier than February on the outlines of the state’s proposed deal with Amazon; then, the company will submit individual applications for each new piece of construction it’s planning, most of which will require the Board’s scrutiny.

Fusarelli says the county doesn’t expect to see any applications from Amazon until early next year, projecting a first Board vote on new Amazon developments by mid-2019 at the earliest.

“We don’t expect a flood of Amazon-specific building proposals in the first quarter of next year,” Fusarelli said. “What we do expect is a gradual submission of projects over time that align well with their need to house workers.”

File photo

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.comStartup 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.

Convene, a New York-based company offering flexible meeting and event spaces, has moved into a new space in Rosslyn.

The Rosslyn Convene location opened last Thursday (Nov. 1), occupying the top two floors of the CEB Tower at 1201 Wilson Boulevard.

Inside the new offices are full-service meetings and event spaces and amenity services for building tenants like research and advisory firm Gartner Inc., from whom Convene is subleasing the 35,000 square-foot space.

The company offers flexible workspaces, but the focus of the new office is on providing spaces for building tenants.

Convene will also manage a full-service culinary program, offering meals and pantry services to building tenants.

The new occupancy comes at a crucial time for Rosslyn, which is in the process of reducing its 29 percent office vacancy rate with new tenants like Nestle and Cerner.

“Opening Convene at 1201 Wilson is an exciting moment for Convene, for both tenants of CEB Tower and companies located the Rosslyn and D.C. area,” said Michael Burke, vice president of real estate and development at Convene, in a press release. “This space is a perfect example of how Convene’s approach to partnering with landlords benefits both property owners and tenants, and we are excited to expand our presence in the nation’s capital and serve the Rosslyn business community in more places and more ways.”

Convene is signed to the space for 14.5 years.

This is the second Washington, D.C. area location for Convene, which also operates a 15,000 square-foot location in Tyson’s Corner.

Photo via @RosslynVA

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Healthcare technology company Cerner is coming to Rosslyn, renting out space in the massive office building that recently became home to Nestle’s U.S. corporate headquarters.

The Missouri-based company plans to lease out just over 38,075 square feet at 1812 N. Moore Street, according to a release today (Tuesday) from building owner Monday Properties.

Cerner will occupy the entire 14th floor of the building, and part of its 12th floor, in order to house staffers working on the company’s contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. The company employs about 27,500 people across 35 countries, according to its website.

The move marks another success for Monday Properties in luring tenants to the 537,000-square-foot building, after a rocky few years following its opening in 2013. The developer built the tower “on spec,” without any tenants secured ahead of time, and it sat largely empty for months.

But Nestle’s decision to relocate its American corporate headquarters to the space, followed soon after by Nestle subsidiary Gerber, meant that roughly half of its space was spoken for in the space of of just over a year.

Cerner’s move comes just a day after plans came to light that WeWork plans to open a new coworking space at the CEB Tower (1201 Wilson Blvd), representing yet more good news for Arlington leaders looking to reverse Rosslyn’s rising office vacancy rate.

“We see this deal as further confirmation that Rosslyn has become the place to be for companies at the forefront of innovation, from technology and consumer goods to health care,” Mary-Claire Burick, president of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, wrote in a statement. “Our proximity to the federal government combined with a highly educated workforce and vibrant urban core provides unique opportunities for corporations like Cerner that are experiencing exciting global growth.”

Photo via Monday Properties

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Crystal City has convinced more businesses to move to the area from elsewhere in the D.C. region than any other neighborhood since 2014, according to new research.

New data compiled by the commercial real estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle shows that Crystal City has convinced a total of 32 office tenants to move to the area over the last four years, including 20 previously based in D.C. and the remaining 12 from other parts of Northern Virginia.

The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor wasn’t far behind, luring a total of 28 businesses to relocate, with 21 from D.C. and seven from Northern Virginia, the firm found. In all, the two Arlington neighborhoods far outpaced other contenders like Tysons Corner or Old Town Alexandria, winning a combined 60 of the 113 commercial office tenants to move around the D.C. region since 2014. Even still, the corridor and Crystal City alike have grappled with persistently high office vacancy rates over the last few years, squeezing the county’s coffers.

Rob Sapunor, JLL’s senior research analyst for Northern Virginia, found that Crystal City won a total of 580,174 square feet of new tenants over the last few years, with 367,597 square feet worth of businesses coming from D.C. alone. Of those companies to make the jump, he found that five were nonprofits and 11 were professional associations.

He noted that three buildings earned the bulk of those new tenants — 1400 Crystal Drive, the Presidential Tower at 2511 Jefferson Davis Highway, and 251 18th Street S. The analyst attributed Crystal City’s relatively low rent prices to helping lure businesses out of D.C., predicting that it will “continue the trend of cost-conscious tenants exploring this market.”

Sapunor added that the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor added 482,545 square feet of new businesses, including 314,443 square feet from D.C..

“Among tenant types, no one particular industry dominates, a sign of the corridor’s shift away from a heavy reliance on government agencies and contractors,” he wrote. “New tenants include tech, media, lobbying, education, consulting and nonprofit.”

He predicts that the area will remain an “attractive market” for businesses looking for “monument views,” but he also expects competition from elsewhere in Northern Virginia to ramp up in the coming years. In particular, he foresees Tysons and even Loudoun County becoming more formidable competitors for businesses moving out of D.C. as Metro wraps up some of its long-awaited expansion work.

“As the market increasingly becomes increasingly transit-accessible with Phase 2 of the Silver Line opening in 2020, migrations within Northern Virginia will favor on-Metro relocations,” Sapunor wrote.

File photo. Chart via JLL

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Morning Notes

Plan for Decaying Salt Storage Facility Tweaked — “Arlington government officials have come up with a slightly altered placement for a new North Arlington salt-storage container, one that may assuage the concerns of some – if not necessarily all – critics of the move. A new schematic drawing moves the footprint of the new storage facility closer to the existing, dilapidated salt dome on the 7.5-acre parcel along Old Dominion Drive between 25th Road North and 26th Street North.” [InsideNova]

New Office Option in Rosslyn — A local commercial real estate firm is opening a new office concept in Rosslyn which will combine the “office on demand” flexibility of co-working space with larger floor plans and suite configurations more common in traditionally leased office space. [Washington Business Journal]

Operating Costs a Question for Aquatics Center — A groundbreaking has been held for the new Long Bridge Park aquatics center, now the county has commissioned a survey of residents to help determine pricing and offerings, which will in turn help the county calculate the center’s yearly operating costs. The latest estimate pegs the subsidy from taxpayers at about $1 million per year. [InsideNova]

Rosslyn-Based Nestle Continuing to Hire — “Global food and beverage giant Nestle plans to boost hiring in the U.S., where it has just opened a headquarters in Virginia, the company’s U.S. chief said Wednesday. Steve Presley, Nestle USA CEO, said on FOX Business’ ‘Mornings with Maria’ that job creation will include positions at the new headquarters in Arlington County as well as production facilities in the commonwealth. [Fox Business]

It’s August — The calendar has turned a page, to August, but the current rainy weather pattern is expected to continue. [Capital Weather Gang]

Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani

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