Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

GMU to Expand Va. Square Campus — “George Mason University wants to transform its Arlington campus into an ‘innovation district’ as it kicks off an Amazon-inspired overhaul… Mason expects to use the expansion to add 3,000 to 4,000 graduate students to the campus by 2024.” [Washington Business Journal]

Man Arrested For Assaulting Police in Ballston — “At approximately 8:32 p.m. on September 11, police were dispatched the report of a disorderly subject inside a restaurant who had allegedly been throwing items and threatening staff. Upon police arrival, the business staff requested the subject be banned from the property. While speaking with the subject, he threatened an officer and took a defensive stance. While placing him under arrest, the subject became combative, kicked and spit at the officers.” [Arlington County]

Home Inventory Tight in Arlington — “New listings in Arlington declined 16.5% in August compared with last year, said Chris Finnegan, vice president at Bright MLS. The median sale price for all home types in the 22202 ZIP code, where Amazon is building and staffing up HQ2, was $749,000 in August. It’s a 23% jump since the company made its HQ2 announcement in November 2018.” [Washington Business Journal, InsideNova]

Coffee Beanery Open in Va. Square — Coffee Beanery, a coffee chain with locations across the northeast, has opened a new location at 3444 Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square. [Facebook]

Tech Company Picks Arlington for U.S. HQ — ” Varjo, the technology leader in industrial-grade VR/XR headsets, today announced the opening of its U.S. headquarters… in Arlington, Virginia, located just outside of Washington D.C.” [Varjo via Potomac Tech Wire]

Potomac Kempo Now Open — Martial arts studio Potomac Kempo yesterday held a grand opening ceremony for its fifth location, at 3650 S. Glebe Road, in the Potomac Yard area. The studio started holding classes on Aug. 31, we’re told. [Facebook]

Video: USS Arlington Crew Welcomed at Fire Station — “Crew members from the USS Arlington were welcomed at Arlington’s Fire Station 5 before running in the The Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race. The USS Arlington honors the 184 victims and the thousands of emergency, fire and rescue personnel of Arlington County and localities in the National Capital Region who provided critical emergency assistance after the attack on 9/11.” [YouTube]

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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.

Excella, a Courthouse-based technology firm, has been selected as the lead partner in an effort to put together an app to detect alcohol misuse and risk of relapse.

The app, called Beacon, is designed to help medical professionals assess whether a patient is suffering from alcohol use disorder through a “combination of behavioral economics and advanced technology,” according to a press release. The product is still in development, but the goal is to be more effective than traditional methods of detecting alcohol abuse.

The company will utilize the work of Virginia Tech software development students at its Extension Center in Blacksburg. The company will also partner with Roanoke-based BEAM Diagnostics, Inc. to develop the app.

“The nation’s substance use epidemic presents massive challenges to every facet of our society, and we are committed to helping BEAM make the world better through tech innovation,” said Margaret Archer, Excella’s Director of University Programs. “Beacon is exactly the type of solution that our mentor-and-student development teams love to build, and we are happy to be a part of the solution.”

This isn’t Excella’s first foray into apps for a public good: the company previously developed MySpot, which helps homeless youth find nearby shelters and assistance. The press release also notes that the company has worked with government agencies for years to combat opioid fraud and abuse.

Image via Excella/Facebook

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Local governments officials are hoping a new  trip planning app with cash rewards will incentivize more environmentally-friendly commutes.

The app, called incenTrip, uses real-time data to plot quick routes, and uses artificial intelligence to customize those routes for an individual over time. Regional officials said they’re hopeful the app’s built-in reward system will encourage more commuters to help reduce traffic and carbon emissions by ditching their cars.

“The end goal is to provide the most cost effective tool for our agencies, our community and our employees, to incentivize behavioral changes,” said Dr. Lei Zhang, who was in charge of creating the app as director of the University of Maryland’s Transportation Institute.

A pilot version of incepTrip first hit the app stores last year after being by developed by Commuter Connections, a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments initiative, and the Transportation Institute.

The app features a reward system that gives users “points” when they choose a transportation mode that reduces carbon emissions — like the bus or biking — and gives $10 cash awards once users accumulate at least 1,000 points. At 2,000 points users can receive a check for $25, and at 3,500 points they can receive $50.

The incentives are funded through state and federal transportation departments.

VDOT transportation planner Heidi Mitter said the department “has a big emphasis on multi-modal transportation” that pairs with the app’s mission.

“Arlington is dense and has a lot options,” Mitter said of transit in the county, telling ARLnow that hopefully that meant this app would benefit the county’s residents and commuters. 

The app could also help Arlington’s employers, many of which have workers commuting in from other jurisdictions, said Nicholas Ramfos, Director of MWCOG’s Transportation Operations Programs.

“Particularly for employers if they’re having parking issues or other types of recruitment retention issues this is a great way to offer these travel options tho those employees and help reduce some of the congestion that coming into that area,” he said.

When asked, Ramfos added he “absolutely” believed the app could help ease the expected increase in traffic from Amazon’s HQ2, which has started the hiring process for the 25,000 jobs the company promised the county.

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This article was written by Sindy Yeh, Senior Business Ambassador for Arlington Economic Development.

In the past few months, we’ve noticed a trend among Arlington’s security technology companies.

Several innovative, fast-growing Arlington companies in the cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and data analytics fields are being acquired by larger companies. In March, BluVector, a network security company applying artificial intelligence to detect cyber threats, became part of Comcast.

In the same month, Deep Learning Analytics, a data analytics company and winner of Arlington’s Fast Four competition three years in a row, was acquired by General Dynamics Mission Systems.

In May, eGlobalTech, a cybersecurity consulting and cloud security company, was acquired by Tetra Tech. In June, the pattern continued as Distil Networks, a leader in bot traffic detection and mitigation, became Imperva. And finally, Endgame, an endpoint security protection company, entered into an agreement with Elastic N.V., a data management firm from the Netherlands.

It comes as no surprise that so many of Arlington’s top cybersecurity firms were targeted for acquisition. These Arlington firms have developed niche products and services that are utilized by both government and commercial customers. Many of these companies are globally recognized leaders in their respective sectors.

By acquiring these firms, it allows the larger companies to further enhance their existing platforms by offering even more comprehensive and specialized solutions to their clients.

They also absorb the companies’ existing customers, often including government agencies whose mission it is to defend the nation from cyber threats, like the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

Arlington is home to about 200 cybersecurity companies employing more than 5,000 people. These cyber-based acquisitions will most likely continue as more of Arlington’s cyber companies develop specialized products and solutions targeting industry needs.

It is a testament to Arlington that so many technology companies have not only chosen to locate in Arlington but have thrived and developed a rich ecosystem of innovative companies leveraging federal funding to create and develop new products and services with applications in the private sector.

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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.

There is no actual karate on the grounds of Coding Dojo, but the program does hope to help coders learn to chop through digital obstacles.

Coding Dojo is a boot camp for teaching coding with locations set up across the country. Bobby Bethea, Program Success Manager for Coding Dojo, said its new D.C. area location at Eastern Foundry coworking space (1100 Wilson Blvd) in Rosslyn is a relocation of an original location in Tysons.

“Arlington has always been on our radar,” Bethea said. “The idea to relocate the campus to Arlington was determined after a former student, now a staff member, developed an API which pulled the zip codes from existing applications submitted to Coding Dojo. Once pulled, the zip codes were organized to display a heat map.”

Bethea said the heat map showed that most of the applications were coming from Arlington, so when the lease expired, the school moved closer to the students.

Bethea also said the announcement of Amazon’s move to Arlington also played a role in the move; opening up a new market for Coding Dojo alumni.

“It did factor into our decision to move to Arlington because at the end of the day, our ability to help graduates find jobs is the most important aspect of our business,” Bethea said.

The Arlington location, like the others, teaches Python, MEAN, and C#/.NET. Bethea said the program is designed to be beginner-friendly and to fit with developers of various experience levels.

The 14-week program costs $13,495, though the company offers various payment plans, financing, and scholarships.

“Our dynamic curriculum was first developed in 2008 as an internal training program for small software engineering teams — the first in the industry,” Bethea said. “Ever since, we’ve constantly refined the curriculum and have trained thousands of students to either become developers or refine their skill sets. Today, we provide students with a veteran curriculum, that is proven to work as the most effective approach to training both experienced developers and students new to coding.”

Photo via Facebook/Coding Dojo

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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.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), formerly the Consumer Electronics Association, has launched a new initiative to invest in companies that make a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The organization, headquartered at 1919 S. Eads Street in Crystal City, announced in January that it planned to invest $10 million into an effort to support diversity in the tech industry.

The first two companies to receive funding were both New York-based companies Harlem Capital Partners and SoGal Ventures, respectively minority-owned and female-led venture capital firms.

“For innovation to reach its fullest potential, different voices and perspectives must have an opportunity to come together in our workforce,” said Tiffany Moore, senior vice president of CTA said in a press release. “CTA is committed to finding solutions through education, investment, membership and leading by example.”

The amount disclosed to each company was not made public.

Photo via Consumer Technology Association

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Arlington Public Library is extending the hours for its makerspace after staff say hundreds attended its grand opening.

The makerspace, located at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) first opened in April, but staff celebrated the opening this past Saturday (July 20), with tours and workshops of the space, dubbeds The Shop. Over 500 people came out for the event, according to Maker Librarian Katelyn Attanasio.

Now the APL is expanding The Shop’s opening hours from fours hour a day — Monday through Thursday and on Saturdays–  to five hours each day.

Many of the workshops for the space are already “booked through October,” said Attanasio. She added that the DIY drywall repair workshop seemed to be especially well received.

Yesterday, the makerspace displayed little Groot figurines that had been made with the Shop’s 3D printer.

The Shop allows patrons to use a variety of equipment, from woodworking tools, circuit parts, Wacom tablets, 3D printers, and Cameo cutters, among others. Attanasio told ARLnow she hopes people realize there is even more to the space, like opportunities for patrons to come in and digitize home movies and tapes.

“This is your library,” said Attanasio. “We don’t just have fancy tech.”

She said the library is looking for feedback from patrons on the space, including its workshops and equipment.

The new hours for the makerspace are:

  • Monday: 2-7 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 2-7 p.m.
  • Thursday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed
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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.

(Updated at 10:45) Ostendio wants to make it easier for users to see how much more — or less — secure they are compared to their peers.

The growing, Rosslyn-based cybersecurity startup has made some big changes over the last year and is making a push to make security auditing easier for smaller companies.

“We have just launched a major initiative called My VCM CrossWalk,” Miranda Elliott, a spokeswoman for Ostendio, said in an email. “It gives customers an easy way to showcase to an auditor that they are compliant to security regulations. More recently we launched a new web site to showcase our business and provide information to customers who are navigating a security program.”

Elliott said the program is aimed at managing risks for small and mid-size organizations who need to demonstrate compliance to security standards. The program is aimed at making it easy for a company to showcase their security ratings or find the help they need to get on track.

“We are just getting ready to enhance MyVCM with the launch of two new programs,” said Elliott. “One called Vendor Connect, which will allow an organization to push security assessment requirements to any of their vendors, and the other is called Auditor Connect, which will allow a third-party auditor to complete the audit from completely within the MyVCM platform.”

“Both… programs are an extension of our recently launched MyVCM CrossWalk Assessment,” Elliott added. “They make security audits more straight-forward and help our customers save time and money.”

The company also recently moved to a new location in Rosslyn. Elliott said being in Arlington offers the company a competitive advantage

“At the beginning of July we moved to a larger office in Arlington Tower to fit our growing team,” said Elliott. “We chose to stay in Arlington because our organization has grown around this area and we have been able to recruit a skilled, diverse team from the Greater D.C. area here. Our experience is that Rosslyn-Arlington gives us access to a diverse talent pool and is an excellent location for our team in terms of transit options and entertainment outside of work.”

If you’re in the area and interested in a job, Elliott said the company is currently looking for a data product manager.

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Morning Notes

Family Sues Metro for Va. Square Death — “A family has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), claiming negligence in the death of a man who lay down on the tracks at the Virginia Square rail station in July 2017.” [NBC Washington]

Jury Duty Process Starting Soon — “The Arlington Circuit Court… will soon begin its annual juror qualification process. Juror questionnaires will be mailed in early August to randomly selected residents of Arlington County and Falls Church City.” [Arlington County]

Tech Company Relocating to Arlington — “Still fresh off of raising millions in venture capital funding, Amify Inc. is leaving Alexandria for a larger space in Arlington just a few blocks from Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters. The company, which markets, sells and ships products for other companies on Amazon, has signed a three-year lease with JBG Smith Properties to take over the Crystal City space that was last rented by Trustify Inc., an embattled tech company that’s now in bankruptcy.” [Washington Business Journal]

Plaque Proposed for Wilson School — “Gone but not forgotten. That’s the hope of historic-preservation advocates when it comes to the Wilson School in Rosslyn… Plans for an historic marker noting the school’s provenance are wending their way through the county government’s approval process.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Exec Tapped as Accenture CEO — “Accenture Inc.’s board of directors has promoted Julie Sweet, a Greater Washington executive who now serves as the company’s North American CEO, to the top job of global chief executive effective Sept. 1. Her ascension makes Sweet, based in Arlington County, the 34th female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.” [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Update on Flooded Commuter Routes — “After time-consuming repairs, the District Department of Transportation reopened Canal Road between Reservoir and Foxhall roads late Monday morning…. In McLean, a rain-swollen [Pimmit] Run undermined a large section of Kirby Road. VDOT said the work to repair the road and embankment will take weeks.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by John Sullivan

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Morning Notes

HQ2 to Include Banana Stand, Local Businesses — “Schoettler said the outdoor areas will likely include elements from its Seattle headquarters, such as a community vegetable garden and a banana stand… Amazon’s in-house food program will only serve about one-quarter of the HQ2 workforce, encouraging the majority of the employees to each lunch at nearby businesses. And because Amazon will own the buildings, Schoettler said it will be able to curate the retail to focus on locally owned businesses.” [Bisnow, WAMU, Washington Business Journal]

County Again Recognized for Tech Savvy — “Arlington County is once again among the top ranked digital counties in the nation. The Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2019 award designated Arlington second place in the 150,000-249,999 population category.” [Arlington County]

Legion Development a National Model? — “Post 139 and APAH’s partnership should serve as an example for addressing the issue of homeless veterans, said Darryl Vincent, chief operating officer of nonprofit U.S.VETS… In 2018, there were 12,806 American Legion posts across the country, a huge inventory of property that could be repurposed as affordable housing.” [Politico]

Helicopter Noise Amendment Passes House — “The House of Representatives adopted a set of amendments to H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act, including two offered by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) which would address helicopter noise in the National Capital Region.” [Press Release]

ACPD: Lock Your Car and House — “The Arlington County Police Department is joining law enforcement agencies throughout the country in a public safety campaign aimed at promoting crime prevention strategies to reduce and prevent thefts from vehicles and homes. The campaign, known as the 9 P.M. Routine, encourages residents to conduct security checks in their homes and vehicles each evening to ensure their property is secure.” [Arlington County]

APS Teacher Receives National Recognition — “Wilfredo Padilla Melendez, teacher at Claremont Immersion School, received Instructure’s 2019 Educator of the Year Award. Wilfredo was recognized as one of six educators who go above and beyond to redefine traditional classroom activities.” [Press Release]

Photo courtesy Arlington VA/Flickr

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Driven in part by Amazon’s HQ2, demand for office space in Arlington is on the rise.

That’s according to a new quarterly Northern Virginia market report from commercial real estate services firm JLL, which says “tech demand across the Herndon-to-Crystal City corridor” is leading to more office space being leased than is being built.

Here are some key takeaways and quotes from that report:

1. Metro ridership may be dropping, but office tenants still want to be near a Metro station

The Silver Line corridor, from the RB Corridor through Tysons to the Toll Road, continues to capture a disproportionate share of leasing activity, driven by tenants favoring Metro access…

Metro access continues to drive pricing, with newer Class A product on-Metro commanding a 35% premium over newer Class A product off-Metro; Class B/C saw an overall jump in asking rents this quarter driven by increases in Crystal City.

2. Technology is driving office demand, including in Arlington, but much of the tech talent is in Fairfax and Loudoun counties

Northern Virginia dominates the region’s tech office market and will continue to grow its leadership position, with a tech corridor solidifying from Data Center-centric Loudoun County, through the Toll Road and Tysons, and into RB Corridor and Crystal City…

Driven by the origins of tech in this market, neighborhoods west of Tysons offer the most access to talent, primarily along the Toll Road and into Loudoun County.

3. The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor has higher office rents, but “National Landing” — Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — has a bigger office development pipeline

Tysons and the Toll Road offer the most scale for future ground-up development, holding 50% of the proposed office pipeline; meanwhile, inside the Beltway, greater Crystal City will form as a development hub for obvious reasons, while the RB Corridor’s future pipeline is minimal.

4. Expect rent increases to accelerate, as office buildings fill up following a decade of high vacancy

Submarkets continue to see minimal to no net effective rent growth versus a decade ago, driven by concessions remaining at peak levels, particularly as tenants are cross-shopping more than ever; however, we believe this trend is nearly over, particularly in Crystal City, RB Corridor and the Toll Road, due to market demand and tightening.

5. Defense contractors, a usual staple of Northern Virginia office demand, are not having as much of an impact on the market

The defense budget declined by $111 billion from 2011 to 2016, driving significant occupancy losses. However, the budget is surging again, up 16% since 2017…

Historically, when defense spending surges, absorption surges, and when it declines, occupancy declines; while this cycle is still early, it is already different. One reason – the major contractors all rightsized during the downturn and remain focused on efficiency in their space utilization.

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