While many return-to-office plans have been put on hold, companies seeking to bring workers back in person might face a challenge of an unexpectedly furry nature: employees reluctant to leave the pets they acquired during the pandemic.
A new business, Connected Canine, aims to help businesses alleviate that potential conflict. It operates out of the coworking space Industrious (1660 International Drive, Suite 600) in Tysons as well as out of Boulder, Colorado.
“We provide an HR toolkit with resources such as a health and behavior assessment used to understand a dog’s history before inviting them into the office and hands-on support to make the process of establishing a dog friendly office as simple as possible,” Jeff Skalka, founder and CEO of Connected Canine, said in an email.
Skalka said the company provides largely free resources and employs a team of veterinarians, an architect, and human resources professionals who have found ways to ease the process.
“Once a company establishes their dog friendly office, we charge a low, variable fee based on the number of participating employees and dogs to provide software and other services,” he wrote. “For example, our software allows employees to schedule time to bring in their dog, take pictures of their dog’s vaccination records to ensure offices remain healthy and safe for everyone, and gives employers the ability to track who is bringing in a dog and how often and ensure only approved dogs are allowed onsite.”
Skalka formed Connected Canine in December after talking with friends and fellow dog owners who shared concerns about leaving their pets back at home when they returned to the office.
Over 11 million households acquired a pet during the pandemic, The Guardian reported, citing a survey by the American Pet Products Association.
“One thing companies really like is that our solutions are customized to their exact needs which we uncover through employee surveys and conversations with senior leaders,” Skalka wrote.
The surge in pet ownership coincided with the pandemic-prompted shift to remote work for office-based employees across the U.S., many of whom say they would quit rather than go back to the office.
Though some companies have shifted back to in-person work, telecommuting may continue to prevail, with research and consulting firm Gartner projecting that over half of U.S. workers will be remote in 2022.
Photo via Google Maps
County Appoints New Parks Director — “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors affirmed the selection of Jai Cole as Executive Director of the Park Authority [Tuesday]…Cole, a park professional with more than two decades of leadership experience with award-winning recreation and park agencies will begin immediately, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of…Kirk Kincannon earlier this year.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Deadline for COVID-19 Relief Grants Extended — Fairfax County has extended the application deadline for its Active and Thriving Community Grants Program to 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 21. Previously set to close yesterday (Tuesday), the program is intended to help child care providers, community programs, and other small businesses and nonprofits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. [Fairfax County Government]
Tysons Adapts to Decline in Commuting — With the pandemic keeping many workers at home, local business leaders say a growing emphasis on mixed-use developments like The Boro and Capital One Center will help office-centric Tysons adapt to a world of remote work. Proximity to transit and retail amenities will be key to attracting young employees, ID.me Chief Marketing Officer Jean Rosauer said at last week’s Future of Tysons event. [Bisnow]
Some Teachers Skeptical of Live-Streaming Proposal — “After Fairfax County Public Schools added classroom streaming for students forced to stay home because of COVID-19, some teachers are pushing back…David Walrod, a teacher at FCPS, who also serves as the first Vice President of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, worries that the live streaming will evolve into concurrent learning — which even the superintendent said wasn’t ideal for students.” [WUSA9]
Tysons Security Company Evacuated Clients from Afghanistan — “As U.S. troops began to withdraw from Afghanistan, Tysons-based Global Guardian reached out to its clients there to offer evacuation assistance. On August 5, 10 days before the Afghan government collapsed, the company began evacuating its clients from Kabul and two other cities. By August 18, Global Guardian had successfully evacuated all but one individual, whom it later got out of the country.” [Fairfax County EDA]
An office building from the 1970s could be demolished to make way for a modern skyscraper along the Capital Beltway in Tysons.
The 11-story, 135-foot tall Park Place I (7926 Jones Branch Drive) is slated for an overhaul. Property owner B.F. Saul Real Estate Investment Trust is looking to replace it with a building with ground-floor retail, a terraced plaza, outdoor seating areas, and “trophy-class office space,” according to application materials.
The developer is seeking a special exception from Fairfax County to waive certain requirements, including an increase in the site’s permitted building height, to make way for the project.
“Compared to the existing building, the proposed Park Place I building will be rotated 90 degrees, thereby opening up views, light, and air through the site and creating symmetry with the adjacent Hilton Worldwide headquarters building,” Mark Viani, a land use and zoning lawyer for the project, said in a July 2 statement of justification to the county.
Viani, who works with the Arlington-based law firm Bean, Kinney, & Korman, noted that the current building remains in operation but “is outdated and is 100% vacant of all tenants.”
B.F. Saul previously submitted plans for an 18-story building in 2018, when it sought to obtain a parking requirement exception. Under its current plan, the redeveloped property would provide 1,842 spaces — more than the 1,506 spaces required.
As part of improvements, the owner would provide 4,040 square feet of urban park space at the property along Jones Branch Drive, which also would be widened to accommodate a new bike lane.
The proposed construction project is in a C-4 High Intensity Office District county zoning area, which restricts a building height to 120 feet and requires a front setback of 54 feet.
Under the names Tysons Park Inc. and Tysons Park Place II LLC, B.F. Saul is requesting permission for the new building to be 175 feet high and other waivers, including a 41-foot front setback.
The proposal calls for amending a special exception that was approved in 2000 and permitted the Park Place II to reach up to 150 feet in height but maintained Park Place I’s current height, according to the application.
As part of the justification in the request, Viani noted the county’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan calls for buildings up to 175 feet tall in that area based on its proximity to Metro stations. He says that by building “up” rather than “out,” the applicants will better improve pedestrian-oriented spaces and on-site open space.
“Its location along a prominent road makes it a desirable site for additional height to help create a stronger building identity and sense of place in Tysons,” Viani wrote.
Starr Hill Biergarten Opens — Starr Hill Brewery opened its new Tysons beer garden at 11 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 21) with live music, craft beer, and more. The 5,000 square-foot venue is part of Capital One Center’s The Perch skypark, which will celebrate its grand opening with a three-day music festival in mid-September. [Starr Hill/Instagram]
See FCPS Photos from First Day of School — “Today was a great day to be in Fairfax County Public Schools! Almost 180,000 students returned to our buildings this morning, excited and ready to learn. Enjoy some highlights from #FirstDayFairfax and #FCPSReturningStrong on social media, or visit our website for more photos.” [FCPS]
Construction Firm Adds Vienna Office — Skanska USA has signed a five-year lease for a 3,129 square-foot office at 8521 Leesburg Pike in Vienna to expand its civil practice in the mid-Atlantic region. Executive Vice President Michael Viggiano says “the rapidly changing Tysons region has been an area of investment” for the construction company “for many years,” pointing to its involvement in projects like The Heming at Scotts Run and The Boro. [Commercial Observer]
Visit Fairfax Leader Details Pandemic’s Impact on Hospitality — “The COVID-19 pandemic still is wreaking havoc upon the region’s hospitality industry and full recovery may be a good distance off, the president and CEO of Visit Fairfax told Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce members Aug. 19…Biggar predicted it would be at least mid-2022 — and perhaps sometime in 2023 — before business travel recovered.” [Sun Gazette]
Falls Church Community Center Closed — “FYI: the Community Center is closed this week (Aug. 23 – Aug. 29) for their annual deep clean. It’s good timing, since the building has an eau de sweaty camper essence right now.” [City of Falls Church/Twitter]
Third COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Now Available — Fairfax County Health Department clinics can provide a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine to people who are fully vaccinated but whose immune systems have been compromised by certain medical conditions or treatments. The third dose is thought to boost the immune response and can be administered at least 28 days after the individual gets their second dose. [FCHD]
Law Firm Moves into Boro Tower — The law firm Williams Mullen announced yesterday (Monday) that it has moved about 30 attorneys and staff members into its new Tysons office at Boro Tower (8350 Broad Street, Suite 1600). The Boro’s developers said in May that the firm had leased 14,950 square feet on the office building’s 16th floor. [Williams Mullen]
McLean Project for the Arts Announces Fall Classes — “Registration is currently underway for fall art classes at McLean Project for the Arts (MPA). Autumn offerings include the return of many popular classes, as well as the debut of exciting new options. MPA will be holding fall classes both online and in-studio.” [MPA]
Capital One Adopts Hybrid Work Model — The founder and CEO of Capital One, which employs almost 10,000 people in the D.C. area, told workers yesterday (Tuesday) that its U.S. offices, including its headquarters in Tysons, will reopen on Sept. 7. The company will shift to a hybrid model where employees can work virtually on Mondays and Fridays with no requirements for how many days they need to be in the office. [WTOP]
Traffic Calming Measures Coming to Vienna and McLean — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted last Tuesday (June 22) to approve the installation of “$200 Additional Fine for Speeding” signs along Vaden Drive between I-66 and Lee Highway near the Vienna Metro station. The county will also spend $40,000 to install four speed humps on Churchill Road in McLean. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Founders Row Apartments Start Preleasing — The 322-unit Modera apartment building and 72-unit Verso senior living complex in Falls Church City’s Founders Row development are now preleasing in anticipation of opening later this year. The site will also host a six-story, mixed-use building with ground-floor retail and a movie theater, and a second phase is currently in the works. [Mill Creek Residential/PR Newswire]
Falls Church Among Healthiest U.S. Communities — The City of Falls Church came in third in U.S. News & World Report’s fourth annual Healthiest Communities rankings, the same spot that it has occupied for the last two years. Fairfax County made the top 15 at No. 14. [Patch]
The Meridian Group and Rockefeller Group, the developers behind the Tysons office building, announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the law firm Williams Mullen and defense contractor Hanwha Defense International will both be relocating to the tower later this year.
According to a press release, Hanwha will lease 2,768 square feet on the 440,000 square-foot tower’s 18th floor starting in June as it seeks to expand its U.S. presence.
The South Korean conglomerate, which employs approximately 44,000 people across 22 countries, currently has an office in Crystal City, Arlington.
“Hanwha Defense International is excited about the opportunity to continue its growth inside the United States, in particular at Boro Tower in Northern Virginia,” Hanwha Defense Senior Executive Vice President Bernard S. Champoux said. “Our new offices in The Boro offer us the ability to further demonstrate another step in our commitment to our U.S. defense clients. We look forward to joining the already impressive tenant base inside The Boro.”
Hanwha will be joined in September by Williams Mullen, which is leasing 14,950 square feet on the Boro Tower’s 16th floor.
The full-service law firm primarily operates in the mid-Atlantic region with about 240 attorneys in offices across Virignia, D.C., North Carolina, and South Carolina. Its new offices in the Boro Tower will replace its nearby existing office in Suite 100 of 8300 Greensboro Drive.
“Williams Mullen is thrilled to be making the move to Boro Tower,” Woody Fowler, the law firm’s president and CEO, said. “It’s a terrific location and it’s move-in ready with excellent amenities.”
With the new additions, the Boro Tower will be 80% leased with 89,000 square feet of office space still available. Existing tenants include Alion Science and Technology, the accounting firm KPMG, media company TEGNA, and the law firms Hogan Lovells and Womble Bond Dickinson.
Located at 8350 Broad Street, the 20-story Boro Tower was completed in 2019 and includes lobby-level retail space in addition to office space. It is part of The Meridian Group’s 15-acre The Boro mixed-use development near the Greensboro Metro station and Tysons Galleria.
Rockefeller Group Senior Managing Director Hilary Allard Goldfarb says Hanwha and Williams Mullen will make “outstanding additions” to the Boro Tower.
“They demonstrate the kind of interest Tysons has continued to experience from prospective tenants in the DC metro market,” she said. “Companies and organizations are looking forward, especially in the DC metro, to the workplace requirements of the future. Boro Tower, with its ease of access and really exceptional on-site amenities, checks a lot of boxes for organizations in the market today.”
Photo courtesy The Meridian Group
Commercial office development will be essential to future economic recovery efforts in Tysons and Fairfax County, a new study says.
Released last Thursday (March 4) by the Tysons Partnership, an economic report and market study developed by the consulting firms HR&A Advisors, Toole Design, and Wells & Associates argues that Tysons will need at least 1.9 million square feet of new office space over the next 10 years — despite predictions that the COVID-19 pandemic could permanently alter white-collar workplaces.
“In early 2021, we remain in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with fallout still being measured,” the economic report says. “However, office investments to date are seeing a strong performance return and will certainly play a key role in County and regional pandemic economic recovery efforts.”
According to the report, Tysons saw a 40 to 75% drop in the use of office space after COVID-19 arrived, following regional and national trends, but prior to the pandemic, vacancy rates had been declining, dipping four percentage points between 2015 and 2019.
In addition, the study projects that office-based employment in Tysons will grow by 7%, or 7,500 jobs, by 2030.
Office work is already integral to Tysons’ economy. Office workers constitute 81% of the total 107,000-person workforce, with the largest sector — the professional services industry — employing two of every five workers in the area. Tysons accounts for 17% of Fairfax County’s office-using jobs.
Tysons outpaced the rest of the county with a 9% job growth between 2015 and 2020, and that faster growth is expected to continue over the next five years, albeit at a slower rate of 5%. Professional services will still be the largest sector, but the biggest area of growth will be in healthcare, which is projected to grow by 24% through 2025.
However, the projected office-using job market growth is far short of what developers would need to fill all of the office space that is in the works for the Tysons area.
If all projects in construction and 50% of all proposed projects in Tysons are completed, that would result in 4.5 million square feet of new office space that could accommodate an estimated 18,200 workers, according to the market study.
In comparison, driven by the opening of the Metro Silver Line in 2014, Tysons added 1.9 million square feet of office space between 2015 and 2020, a 7% growth in inventory that surpassed the rate for both Fairfax County overall (4.7%) and Arlington County (4%).
Though they anticipate future job growth, the economic report and market study acknowledge that “long-term trends remain uncertain” due to the pandemic, which triggered a 5% climb in office vacancy rates and sent the leasing market plummeting from 81 deals in the first quarter of 2019 to just five in the fourth quarter of 2020 so far.
“Tysons Partnership leaders understand much work remains to be done as recovery efforts begin post COVID-19 and in identified areas where continued investment and resources are essential, including housing affordability, mobility, and implementation,” the partnership said in a news release.
Outside the office market, the report says that Tysons has cemented its role as a regional retail hub over the past decade, generating $3.5 billion in annual retail spending, which represents 17% of Fairfax County’s total retail spending.
As reported at the Tysons Partnership’s “State of Tysons” event in December, Tysons’ residential population grew 39% from 2010 to 2018, a rate four times higher than the county’s average growth. Led by mid- and high-rise developments, Tysons has expanded its housing stock by 34% to 13,800 units since 2010, and it is projected to grow by 36% to nearly 19,000 units by 2025.
“The investment on behalf of the public and private sectors in smart, sustainable urbanization is working,” Tysons Partnership president and CEO Sol Glasner said.
The full report and market study can be found on the Tysons Partnership website. The nonprofit plans to use the collected data to develop a dashboard that “will serve as the go-to information hub for a wide range of stakeholders and promote the growth of Tysons,” according to the market study.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott, slide via Tysons Partnership
(Updated on 11/12/2020) Capital One expects to unveil a 1.2-acre sky park with food trucks, a bar and beer garden, games, a dog run and an amphitheater in time for summer 2021.
Nested on top of the newly open Wegmans grocery store, The Perch is part of the second building to be completed in the 24.25-acre Capital One complex. Two more parts of the project are slated to open in the fall of 2021: the Watermark Hotel and the Capital One Hall.
From The Perch, Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said the public will “view Tysons from a completely different vantage point.”
For him, that perspective applies to the company’s mission to mix employees and Tysons residents.
“We are trying to separate from the notion that this is for only Capital One employees,” he said, citing The Star, a shopping and dining destination inside the Dallas Cowboys’ new training facility in Frisco, Texas, as inspiration.
The Watermark Hotel and two residential buildings will surround the Perch. The 300-room hotel will be managed by B.F. Saul Hospitality, whose flagship property is The Hay-Adams luxury hotel in Washington, D.C.
The Watermark will no longer be one of two hotels on campus, after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a request to change a planned hotel into an office building.
The Watermark Hotel is slated to open next fall, while construction on the residential towers could begin in 10 years, Griffith said.
Until the residential towers go up, semi-permanent installations will “activate the space,” including an old-school double-decker London tour bus and an Airstream converted into food trucks, Griffith said.
From the Sky Park, people can see the glassy Capital One headquarters, completed in 2018, as well as a 30-story office building with two floors of retail.
These developments fit with the trifecta of “live, work and play,” but Griffith said a fourth component, “culture,” is missing.
To fill that gap is Capital One Hall, with a 1,600-seat theater and 250-seat black box theater, as well as vaulted event spaces, large restrooms, plentiful concession areas and an expansive coat room, he said.
Capital One Hall General Manager Jamey Hines described both performance venues as “tight in feeling and room focus, but not uncomfortable.”
“People on the edges have just a good view and the audience won’t feel far away from the performer,” he said.
Having two options impacts the performer, too. “I’ve found that you have to create the room, so people achieve in the room, through seating,” Hines said.
Capital One, Fairfax County, and ARTSFAIRFAX are working together to ensure county agencies and Fairfax County Public Schools get access to 15% of the hall’s bookings at discounted rates. Already, the manager is looking to fill dates for 2022-2023.
Hines has mapped out some events and is gauging what people want to see.
The pandemic has given Capital One Hall more opportunities to be added to a multi-city tour, but he anticipates the Hall will be a bigger destination for one-time shows and productions. Hines encouraged those who are interested in dates to join the email list at capitalonehall.com.
Capital One Hall and The Perch will be open to weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, galas and functions for nonprofits, concerts and speaker series, Capital One Center marketing and community affairs manager Meghan Trossen said.
The coronavirus pandemic has sped up the building pace, now unencumbered by traffic, but the supply chain has been disrupted, impacting shipments of materials and equipment, Griffith says.
Through it all, he said Fairfax County has done “an incredible job” accommodating construction during the pandemic, implementing measures such as inspections via FaceTime to keep employees safe.
Photo courtesy Capital One
OrthoVirginia has combined its Tysons and McLean locations into one McLean-Tysons office, which is located at 1760 Old Meadow Road in McLean.
The McLean office was previously located on Greensboro Drive across from Tysons Galleria, and the Tysons office was previously located on Old Courthouse Road in Vienna.
The decision to make the move was to “consolidate property to go to a bigger space so we can combine all of our therapy and all of our physicians into one location,” according to an OrthoVirginia employee.
The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Their therapies are offered Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., and Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
The previous Tysons location is still open for MRI services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
OrthoVirgina is Virginia’s largest provider of orthopedic medicine and therapy with services including on-site therapy, surgery centers and advanced imagery, according to their website. They have more than 100 orthopedic specialists in 26 locations across Northern Virginia.
Photo via OrthoVirginia/Facebook