The federal government’s decision to keep its State Department offices in Rosslyn for another 15 years and create a mini campus there is the latest win for what has been an exciting 2017 for Rosslyn and all of Arlington’s business community.
The State Department, long a fixture of Rosslyn’s economic footprint, is keeping its 280,000 square feet in its existing Fort Myer Drive building, and adding 60,000 square feet of space next door at 1200 Wilson Blvd., which it will share with one of its contractors already in that building.
“The vision embodied in the Rosslyn Sector Plan, of a neighborhood with a better balance of office space, housing and great public spaces, is taking shape,” said Arlington County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol. “The State Department’s decision to stay in Rosslyn is evidence that this vibrant urban village has a bright future ahead of it.”
“It is a strong vote of confidence in the future of Rosslyn and the direction of our growth as an urban center when a respected organization like the State Department determines it wants to remain here for the next 15 years,” said Mary-Claire Burick,” President of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. “Rosslyn’s diverse set of tenants are attracted to Rosslyn’s accessibility and urban lifestyle as well as the area’s ability to attract, engage and retain talent.”
The State Department deal is important for Rosslyn as it transforms into a more walkable, vibrant urban village with a better balance of housing and office space and welcomes new companies to the neighborhood. Nestlé USA announced earlier this year that it planned to move its U.S. headquarters from California to Rosslyn. Grant Thornton consolidated its Northern Virginia operations into space in Rosslyn. WJLA/Sinclair signed a deal to keep its media operations in its Wilson Boulevard space.
And that’s just the beginning. The innovative technology companies that are helping Arlington earn a spot as one of the leading technology hubs on the East Coast are also becoming an integral part of the community. Startup Hungry, which is revolutionizing office catering, grew out of co-working space into its own location in Rosslyn, and co-working space and incubator Eastern Foundry, which deals with government contracting, has opened a second location in Rosslyn after finding success in Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood.
All of these companies are examples of how Arlington’s economic development strategies of diversification, regionalism, providing strategic incentives and offering key infrastructure improvements to prospective businesses are working. Arlington Economic Development led a total of 47 deals in Fiscal Year 2017 (ended June 30, 2017), representing occupying 1.2 million square feet of office space and the creation or retention of more than 5,600 jobs in Arlington. Arlington’s office vacancy rate currently stands at 17.8 percent, down more than two percent from a year ago.
“This year, Arlington’s business community demonstrated its growth and diversity,” said Victor Hoskins, Director of Arlington Economic Development. “It’s representative not only of Arlington’s commitment to the innovation economy but also its commitment to viewing businesses as a true partner.”
The new businesses and redevelopment underway in Rosslyn mesh with the long-range vision embodied in the Rosslyn Sector Plan, the community-based planning framework adopted by the County Board in 2015 to guide development in Rosslyn for decades to come.