Yes, your narrow apartment with a Murphy bed is not the Palace of Versailles. And yes, like a dorm your WeLive apartment comes furnished and with the expectation that your neighbor could be your next best friend.
But dorms generally don’t have, among other things, built-in Bose sound systems, custom-designed West Elm furniture and free fruit-infused water in the lobby. And thanks to some clever, efficient design, even the smallest WeLive studio doesn’t feel cramped.
WeLive is a much more ambitious effort than just trying to figure out how to cram humans into as small a space as possible while maintaining an aura of high-end living. As its leaders will tell you, it’s a new paradigm for living in cities.
The WeLive experience could be described as “asset light.” Your furniture, kitchen equipment, linens, towels, plus your TV, sound system, cable, Wi-fi and utilities are all included. If you’re moving here you don’t have to pack a moving van, instead you show up with your suitcase and your laptop, then make a quick trip to the grocery store and you’re good to go.
The trip to the grocery store might even be optional. The building offers free coffee, tea and — yes — beer, and the move-in kit includes hangers, Co. Bigelow toiletries and a Harry’s shave kit.
Unlike your typical apartment, there is a social component to WeLive. Sure, other buildings might have a cocktail hour or exercise class, but here it’s assumed that you will actually get to know your fellow residents — at least those in your three-story “neighborhood” (there are three neighborhoods in the Crystal City WeLive/WeWork building.) Common areas like the big flat screen TV and video game lounge are hubs of activity, as are a dining area and breakfast nook.
WeLive somehow manages to use internet-connected technology to make the living experience more personal, instead of using it to help people disconnect from in-person contact. A dedicated WeLive app tells residents when there’s free pizza in the kitchen, Game of Thrones on the big TV or a WeLive-organized fitness or cooking class or other activity happening. You can also send messages to your fellow residents, if need be.
One might expect WeLive to be a haven for ramen-noodle-eating, single 20-somethings, but so far that’s not entirely the case. Yes, there are recent college grads working on the lower rungs of tech startups. But there are also older professionals and executives giving it a try. The oldest resident WeLive resident, we’re told, is in his 60s. At least one friendly dog has taken up residence with his 30-something owner — the building is pet friendly.
Company officials are calling WeLive an experiment and are paying close attention to how things go in Crystal City. The location is a slightly more suburban parallel to the only other WeLive location currently open — on Wall Street in Manhattan. Both types of location are important to a company that says it wants to provide a “disruptive alternative to the way people live.”
The Crystal City WeLive is located at 2221 S. Clark Street, a former office building it shares with a WeWork co-working space, and has 216 total units, with 1-4 beds and 1-2 private bathrooms apiece.
Monthly prices, excluding the flat $125/month utility fee, start at $875 for an individual bed or $1,640 for a private unit, according to the WeLive website.
Arlington County is likely to join Google’s Connected Citizens Program, which shares road condition and traffic data gathered from its Waze app with localities across the country and around the world.
The County Board is expected to give its okay to joining the program at its meeting on Saturday.
“Launched by Google in October 2014, the Program exchanges transportation data with local law enforcement agencies, cities, state DOTs, and countries around the world,” wrote county staff.
It’s a two-way exchange — the County would be sharing road closure information while Waze would be sharing crash, traffic and road condition reports, as submitted by the app’s users.
“With the County sharing up-to-date disruptive event information with Waze, the County is contributing to the safety of drivers and easing traffic congestion by allowing drivers to re-route in real time,” county staff write. “The County intends to integrate the Waze reported incident data into the County’s My Arlington mobile app to provide enhanced real-time reporting of high impact traffic disruptions in Arlington.”
Buyers Found for Market Common — A pair of buyers has reportedly been found for the Market Common mixed-use development in Clarendon. Regency Centers and AvalonBay are said to be partnering to buy the shopping center and apartment complex for $410 million. [GlobeSt.com]
Lyon Park Gun Store Opens — After a month of controversy, Nova Armory opened its doors on Saturday, with dozens of gun enthusiasts showing up to support the store. In a rally nearby, local lawmakers urged residents to continue the fight against the store, but said that due to Virginia law there was nothing else they could legally do to prevent the shop from opening. [Washington Post]
Teen Employment Expo Scheduled — Teens seeking summer jobs and employers seeking seasonal help will be meeting next month at Arlington’s 2016 Teen Summer Expo. The expo, on April 23 at Wakefield High School, is expected to attract some 1,200 teens looking for summer jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities. [Arlington County]
Arlington Tech Event Tomorrow — There’s one day left before ARLnow.com’s Arlington Tech discussion and networking event. The event is taking place starting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Highline RxR (2010 Crystal Drive) in Crystal City. Food and a drink will be provided. [Eventbrite]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Ashton Heights Takes Stance Against Gun Store — More than 100 members of the Ashton Heights Civic Association voted last night on whether or not to take a position against the planned gun store in nearby Lyon Park. Fully 93 percent of those voting said they supported the civic association expressing opposition to the store, according to the group Act4LyonPark.
Retiring School Board Chair Recognized — At last night’s Arlington School Board meeting, Del. Alfonso Lopez read the joint resolution passed in the state legislature commending Dr. Emma Violand-Sanchez, who’s retiring as School Board Chair at the end of her term this year. [Katch, Twitter]
Raccoon Checks Out Home’s Toilet, Leaves — A woman in the Columbia Forest neighborhood called police after finding animal footprints on a toilet seat. The responding animal control officer determined that a raccoon had come down the chimney, apparently traipsed around the toilet and left. [Twitter]
GOP Convention Delegate Selection Gets Interesting — The prospect of a contested convention has made the selection of three delegates to represent Virginia’s Eighth Congressional District more interesting. At a recent Arlington County Republican Committee meeting, would-be delegates were asked who they would support for president. A reporter present didn’t hear anyone say Donald Trump. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Condo for Sale Has a Unique Map of D.C. — A one-bedroom condo for sale in Rosslyn has a custom-designed map of D.C. painted across one of the walls. The mural was created by one of the current owners, who happens to be a former cartographer. [Washington Post]
Ouli Gets Attention from Local Tech Scene — “First Look: Could ‘Ouli’ Be the Concierge App for DC?” asks a new headline from a D.C. tech publication. The app’s creator, a software development firm on Lee Highway that has up until now served just corporate clients, says for now the app is focused solely on serving the Arlington market. [DC Inno]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
In less than two weeks, ARLnow.com will be holding a networking event and discussion about Arlington’s growing tech industry.
Here’s the current lineup of innovators who will be discussing their business and their take on the local tech scene:
- Viyas Sundaram, SVP of Sales for Snagajob
- Allison Phillips, D.C. General Manager of Shift Technologies
- Geoff Orazem, Co-Founder of Eastern Foundry
- Dominick Fuccillio, VP of Finance for Distil Networks
- Shavanna Miller, Founder of Bloompop
The event will be hosted by Sarah Fraser, Fox 5 contributor and founder of the Hey Frase podcast. Representatives from Arlington Economic Development will also be on hand to discuss the resources available to startups in Arlington.
Details about the event are below.
Day: Tuesday, March 29
Time: 5:30-8 p.m. (program runs from 6:30-7:30)
Venue: Highline RxR (2010 Crystal Drive)
Tickets: $10 online, includes food and drink ticket
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants the Commonwealth to be the “tech capital of the United States” and Arlington County is in many ways the centerpiece of that effort.
With the state and the county actively working to attract innovative tech companies, we wanted to check in with some of the innovators who are helping to build a new economy here in Arlington.
The event is being held from 5:30-8 p.m. at Highline RxR (2010 Crystal Drive). Tickets are available online and will also be available at the door.
Come for the food and drink (included with the price of admission) and networking, stay for a Q&A with innovators from a variety of local companies like:
The evening’s discussion will be hosted by local media personality Sarah Fraser.
Also at the event, representatives from Arlington Economic Development will be on hand to answer questions from entrepreneurs about the resources available to them in Arlington County.
Editor’s Note: 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.
Arlington Economic Development (AED) is continuing its tech and startup push by heading to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas later this week.
The music, film and interactive festival attracts thousands of tech and creative economy players, large and small, for conferences, screenings, concerts and other events. AED will have a team at the SXSW Interactive portion of the festival, described as “an incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity.”
Arlington had a small team attend last year’s SXSW and co-hosted a reception with the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. This year, AED is going big with an entire slate of events, including two official panels.
(Arlington’s two panels are among the 700 or so selected from 7,000-8,000 entries, an AED spokeswoman notes.)
For a taste of Arlington in Austin, here’s the lineup of AED events:
- Pool tournament at Buffalo Billiards (Saturday, March 12 – cosponsored with Alexandria)
- BFD (Big Fat Data Revolution) panel (Sunday, March 13)
- Fireside Chat on Mobilizing Innovation at the Local and Regional Level (Monday, March 14)
- Be the Next Tony Stark panel (Tuesday, March 15)
An RSVP is required.
Speakers at the county’s panels include Opower president and co-founder Alex Laskey, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Consumer Technology Association president and CEO Gary Shapiro, among others.
They will be among good company: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are scheduled to deliver keynote addresses at the festival.
AED Director Victor Hoskins said the county’s presence at SXSW is “key in letting our target audience of entrepreneurs and technology businesses know about the opportunities that exist here in Arlington.”
“This is our chance to connect with national and international companies who are on the leading edge of tech innovation,” Hoskins told ARLnow.com. “What’s more, it’s our opportunity to show those companies — through our hosted panels and other events — that Arlington is where they can find success in fields like cybersecurity, big data, and clean tech.”
“This is all part of our Way Forward strategy, which is Arlington’s commitment to closing the office vacancy gap through efforts of proactive marketing and sales as well as regional collaboration,” Hoskins added. “We had a team at [the Consumer Electronics Show] this year, which was incredibly productive, and we’ll be participating in similar other events throughout the year.”
“We’re really getting the word out that the region — and specifically Arlington — is where these tech companies want to be to succeed,” he said.
Basket, a startup that produces a mobile app for saving money while grocery shopping, has moved from the District to Clarendon.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, County Board Chair Libby Garvey and Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins were among the officials on hand today to welcome the company to their new digs at 1220 N. Fillmore Street.
The Commonwealth and the county each provided $125,000 in economic incentives for the firm, which is planning to expand from 9 to 65 employees. Basket is investing $10 million on the new office and the expansion, officials said.
“This is exactly the kind of business we want to attract and grow here,” said Garvey.
The company decided to move to Arlington despite also being wooed by D.C.
“We looked at the number of jobs we would need, and how much we were supposed to grow, we decided we needed a lot more space,” said Andy Ellwood, the company’s president and co-founder and a former employee of the navigation startup Waze. “After moving out of our small coworking space we decided it was the right move for us.”
“We’re trying to build the new Virginia economy, so we have to bring in new innovators,” McAuliffe told ARLnow.com. “I want us to be the tech capital of the United States of America. We have all the education and resources. It’s important that we become less reliant on the federal government.”
McAuliffe’s pitch to tech companies considering Arlington or elsewhere in the Commonwealth: “Virginia has very low taxes, a great education system, and it’s close to the federal government,” he said.
The press release from the governor’s office, after the jump.
ACFD Battles Fire on Patrick Henry Drive — On Thursday morning Arlington County firefighters assisted in battling a two-alarm blaze at an apartment building on the 3000 block of Patrick Henry Drive, just across the border in Fairfax County. [Twitter, Twitter]
Arlington Doubling Down on Startups — Arlington Economic Development plans to use the $1.5 million in one-time additional funds it’s allocated in County Manager Mark Schwartz’s budget to target early-stage tech companies and help them lease offices between 5,000 and 20,000 square feet. [Washington Business Journal]
W-L Alum to Direct Sci-Fi Film — Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has selected Washington-Lee High School alum Julius Onah to direct “God Particle,” a new sci-fi thriller being produced by Abrams’ production company. Onah was named one of the top 10 “Up and Up Feature Directors” in 2013. He’s also signed up to direct an upcoming Universal Pictures film, “Brilliance.” [Blackfilm.com, Indiewire, Twitter]
Local Chef Nominated for Big Award — Peter Chang, whose eponymous restaurant opened last year in the Lee-Harrison shopping center, has been nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.” [Patch]
Shirlington Profiled by Post — As part of its “Where We Live” series, the Washington Post has profiled Arlington’s Shirlington neighborhood. Shirlington earns high marks for having a variety of walkable entertainment, dining and shopping options, and for having only six crimes of note over the course of 12 months. [Washington Post]
More on Nauck History Project — Arlington County’s Nauck Green Valley Heritage Project has already received dozens of photos in its new online photo archive. A vibrant, historically black neighborhood since before the Civil War, Nauck has been changing — some say gentrifying. “Today, we’re probably less than 32 percent African American,” noted the community’s civic association president. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
A long-time Arlington technology firm has a new solution for those times when you can’t decide where to have dinner — or get your nails done or have a prescription refilled or find unique gifts, among other activities that require decisiveness.
Ouli is a free app that helps narrow your selection to three nearby, viable choices that become more refined to your needs and tastes the more you use it.
“Ouli is a mobile concierge in the palm of your hand,” said Pierre Malko, CEO of Dante Inc., the Arlington-based software company that’s been building technological innovation since 1998. “It reduces the time spent to have a great experience.”
Malko got the idea for Ouli after being frustrated by the limitations of existing consumer-feedback based services. “You may find good reviews and have everyone agree on trying a restaurant, for example, but you’ve wasted your time because it’s booked or not available, and in the end you are disappointed,” he said. “The search function doesn’t know what your intent is — an anniversary, a birthday, happy hour? They are devoid of context as to what you want to do.”
With Ouli, released in January, you quickly fill in a checklist of when, where and what it is you want to do — and why. The why is a key factor in the Ouli difference.
And when you make your choice, in the future, Ouli will book it for you.
When a customer accepts an Ouli offer, at that point the merchant is charged a small fee, which is why local merchants are eager to sign on. Ouli increases foot traffic and automates customer engagement for the merchant.
At the moment Ouli has some 100 Arlington merchants in the database (expansion to other regions, as well as even more functionality, will come in the near future.)
In addition, Ouli has a handy option that uses your location to offer reduced prices and specials to users as they walk by a member merchant.
“Ouli has two ways of engagement,” Malko said. In addition to “learning” your wants and needs with your data input, Ouli also takes initiative to inform you of deals at favored merchants when you least expect it.
“When you walk by establishments of interest to you, you may be notified of special deals. But the notifications are made only if they are pertinent to you — you are not bombarded with notifications that may not be of use.”
Ouli can be downloaded here for immediate use.
This is a sponsored business profile written for ARLnow.com by Buzz McClain.
Publicly-traded energy tech firm Opower is staying in Arlington, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced at a press conference this morning, marking some good news for a county beset by the departures of large government agencies.
McAuliffe and County Board Chair Libby Garvey were among those making the announcement at Opower’s current headquarters at 1515 N. Courthouse Road in Courthouse, which President Obama visited in 2010, when the company was still a startup.
Opower will be moving down the street to a new office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. The building — already approved by the County Board — is set to be constructed over the next two years, replacing a row of restaurants. Developer Carr Properties had been calling the 8-story building the “Clean Technology Center,” which seems consistent with Opower’s sustainability and energy conservation mission.
Virginia and Arlington County had been fighting to keep Opower, which was being courted by the District and by The Wharf, the massive new development on the Southwest D.C. waterfront.
“Keeping Opower in Arlington County has been a high priority of my administration,” McAuliffe said. “This high-profile energy software company is growing rapidly and making a major impact on global challenges, and we are committed to further strengthening this important corporate partnership. The technology industry is booming in Virginia, and wins like this expansion help us continue to build on the momentum in this important sector.”
“Arlington has watched Opower grow from a startup venture to a thriving leader not only in the region, but in the entire clean technology industry,” Garvey said. “Arlington’s highly-educated workforce and easy transportation access were things Opower was looking for as the company continues to grow, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them for a long time to come.”
McAuliffe helped arrange a $1 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to help Arlington keep Opower.
“Arlington County will match the state funding with a performance-based local economic development incentive grant,” the county notes in a press release. “Arlington will provide an additional annual performance grant through the remaining years of the lease term subject to job and occupancy requirements. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.”
Opower plans to invest about $10.5 million in its new, 63,000 square foot headquarters and expects to add 70 new employees within three years. The company will also retain 357 jobs that currently pay above the region’s prevailing wage.
“Opower has been with Arlington since the beginning,” said Victor Hoskins, Director of Arlington Economic Development. “The company is a model for the fast-growth technology companies we’re hoping to attract to Arlington, and we simply could not be more pleased that Opower has decided to continue to be a part of Arlington’s business community.”
The building at 2311 Wilson Blvd will have a total of 150,000 square feet of office space plus ground floor retail spaces when it’s completed.
Arlington Public Schools students are off today due to a scheduled teacher grade preparation day. It’s the eighth consecutive weekday off for APS students, who’ve enjoyed one snow day after another since Thursday, Jan. 21.
Care-free snow days, however, could eventually become a thing of the past.
APS is likely, in the near future, to consider the idea of having students “telecommute” from home when school is cancelled. They would do so from their school-issued computers — APS is in the process of outfitting every high school student with a Macbook Air and every second- through eighth-grader with an iPad.
Once every second-grade student and up has a laptop or iPad, teachers could assign homework, reading and online lessons remotely and students could complete it from the comfort of their own homes. Theoretically, at least — some policy changes would be needed, particularly when it comes to expectations for teachers. There’s also the question of whether all APS teachers and families have internet access at home.
“For students, it will be explored in the future once all students have devices,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia, in response to an inquiry from ARLnow.com. “For teachers, this will require some policy changes which will probably be discussed in the future as well.”
Arlington’s population of engineers and project managers will grow by 100 by 2017 as San Francisco-based disruptive technology firm Shift builds a technology operation in Crystal City.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that Shift will invest $20 million in its East Coast engineering center in Arlington as part of its national expansion. The announcement was made during a reception at Crystal City business incubator 1776, where the company will have its local headquarters.
Shift executive Toby Russell said the company’s disruptive technology does for the automotive industry what Airbnb does for hotels. “We use technology to make buying and selling cars easy and delightful,” he said. Consumers input information about the car they want to sell into the Shift website, get a quote, have their car picked up by a Shift employee and then receive a check when the car sells. Shift handles paperwork, test drives and price negotiations.
Shift has raised $73.8 million in two public offerings.
Russell, who is originally from Alexandria, said he would like to see the Shift “serve as a bridge between Silicon Valley and Virginia. We believe this kind of bridging is what technology expansion [in the region] needs.”
Russell added that it was McAuliffe’s visit to the firm’s California headquarters that convinced them to build the engineering center in Virginia.
Arlington County Board Chairman Libby Garvey, in presenting a key to the county to Russell, applauded the arrival of a technology company as federal spending in the region winds down.
“Arlington is in the midst of a surreal change,” she said. “Having our buildings filled with federal agencies is a thing of the past.”
Arlington Police HQ Evacuated Due to Bomb Threat — The Arlington County Police headquarters in Courthouse was evacuated for several hours Saturday night after police received an “automated phone call” that made a bomb threat. Bomb-sniffing dogs got a “preliminary hit” but a sweep of the building came up empty. [WJLA]
Arlington’s MLK Tribute — Arlington County held its 47th annual tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday. County Board members were among those in attendance, honoring Dr. King. [WTOP]
Tax Bills Could Be Going Up — Unless the Arlington County Board lowers the property tax rate, the tax bill for the average homeowner will be going up to a record $6,011. The average assessed value of residential properties in Arlington increased 2.8 percent year-over-year. [InsideNova]
Tour of Ballston Tech Office — Ballston-based cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect has grown to more than 100 employees and is continuing to expand. The company’s “hip headquarters… comes complete with some beautiful design work and creative Star Wars-centric accents.” [DC Inno]
Opower Staying in Arlington — In a “symbolic economic development win” for Arlington, Courthouse-based tech firm Opower will be staying put, at least for a couple of years. The company, which was visited by President Obama in 2010 and went public in 2014, was considering a move and was being courted by property owners in D.C. It has renewed its 42,000 square foot lease in Courthouse Tower (1515 N. Courthouse Road) through May 2018. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Has ‘Scars’ from Former Railroad Lines — Even in places in Arlington that have since been paved over with development, you can still see the “scars” from former rail lines in aerial photos. D.C. also has its fair share of “scarhitecture.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Orange Line Delays This Morning — There were delays on Metro’s Orange Line this morning after trains started single-tracking between West Falls Church and Vienna due to a track problem. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin