Region saw many other companies relocate or expand during 2018
If Amazon hadn’t announced plans last year to locate half of its second headquarters in the Arlington/Alexandria area — investing about $2.5 billion and creating 25,000 jobs over 12 years — what might Northern Virginia business leaders be talking about now?
Baby food. Semiconductors manufacturing. Soccer stadiums. Here’s a look at other major developments around the region.
The second-biggest deal in Arlington last year was the relocation of Gerber Products Co.’s headquarters from New Jersey to Rosslyn where it will join Nestlé USA, another subsidiary of Switzerland-based Nestlé S.A.
Nestlé plans to invest $5 million to relocate Gerber. The baby food/baby products purveyor is expected to occupy 23,392 square feet of office space and create 150 jobs. That would raise Nestlé’s total footprint in Arlington to 252,000 square feet. Nestlé USA moved to Arlington from California in 2017.
Although the Gerber deal “was in the shadow of Amazon, Gerber is an iconic, global brand. It’s a small footprint but a big name,” says Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins. “It gives us lots of exposure and allows us to continue our story of being the location for corporate headquarters.”
He adds the arrival of Nestlé USA and Gerber reflect the county’s effort to diversify its economy, moving from government agencies to companies in areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and green energy.
Meanwhile, coworking space company WeWork, which already has space in Crystal City, has signed a lease for 66,000 square feet in Rosslyn. “That’s only five new jobs, but it brings in startup companies,” Hoskins says. “It helps them keep their costs low. We’re building our tech ecosystem. It’s an important part of our overall market.”
March of Dimes also chose Arlington as the site of its new headquarters. Relocating from New York, the nonprofit will occupy approximately 28,000 square feet of office space in Crystal City and create 80 jobs, Hoskins notes.
He also cites as significant the Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision last year to stay in its 511,000- square-foot Pentagon City headquarters. “People don’t realize how much we work on retention. That’s 2,200 jobs.”
As part of the plan bringing Amazon to Virginia, Virginia Tech plans to build a $1 billion, 1-million-square-foot Innovation Campus in Alexandria. The state and the university promised $250 million each as seed money for the project. “It’s the biggest deal we’ve done in a very long time,” says Stephanie Landrum, president and CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership.
Last year brought lots of changes to Old Town, where Asana Partners purchased “a significant number of parcels of land along King Street. All of a sudden we have a major property on our main street,” Landrum says.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based firm began buying properties on and around the street in 2017. Asana now has spent more than $100 million on nearly two dozen buildings, including purchase of the landmark Old Town Theater for $4.4 million.
Manassas landed one of the biggest deals in Virginia history last year when Micron Technology Inc. announced a $3 billion investment to increase semiconductor production at its local operations. The expansion is expected to create 1,100 additional jobs by 2030. (See related story).
Prince William County
Last year, Prince William County had a total of $652 million in capital investment in projects promising 435 new jobs, marking another record-breaking year, according to Ginny Person, communications, marketing and research manager for the county’s Department of Economic Development.
The Manassas area saw plenty of activity. In addition to Micron’s announcement, a division of Corporate Office Properties Trust plans to construct two data centers in the Data Center Opportunity Zone Overlay District in the county-owned Innovation Park.
And Medliminal, which specializes in medical-cost containment, moved its headquarters to Innovation Park. The company will invest $2.4 million in the project, initially employing 10 people with plans to hire up to 70 more.
Also in the works is a mixed-use Innovation Town Center. The Prince William Board of Supervisors agreed in August to sell 23.7 acres for the project to developer Miller & Smith for $5.2 million.
The parcel is adjacent to another 125 acres already under contract to Miller & Smith. Plans call for the development of 1,120 residential units, 200,000 square feet of retail space, 200,000 square feet of office space and a 125-room hotel.
Adding to the mix, the United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic Section announced that it will locate its new headquarters and state-of-the-art tennis facility in Innovation Park.
Loudoun’s big deals for 2018 include a soccer stadium, with a minimum capacity of 5,000 seats, plus a 40,000-square-foot indoor training facility, four full-size soccer fields and a parking lot (including commuter parking).
Two soccer fields will be used by D.C. United and its subsidiary, Loudoun United, which is part of the United Soccer League. The other fields will be for county use.
Loudoun County is providing the land and about $15 million in financing for the construction. DC Soccer Management Co., a D.C. United affiliate, will make regular lease payments to the county to offset any debt payments incurred as part of the financing package. Construction on the project got underway in December near Leesburg airport.
“The county did a one-of-a-kind deal. It’s a great deal for Loudoun,” says Buddy Rizer, executive director of the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development. The Northern Virginia chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women agreed. It gave Loudoun’s economic development department its “Deal of the Year” award for scoring the pact.
Last year also saw “incredible growth in the data centers among all the major players,” Rizer says. “Obviously the data centers have been great for us, but we’re most excited about getting a government agency here.”
That would be the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency’s Office of Information Technology (OIT). It plans to consolidate its operations near the Silver Line’s future Ashburn Metro stop. OIT will bring almost 4,000 jobs to the county, Rizer says.
A major aerospace and defense company, Collins Aerospace (formerly Rockwell Collins), built a 30,000-square-foot addition to its nearly 180,000-square-foot simulation and training facility in Sterling. The $3.5 million project is expected to bring more than 90 jobs to the county.
Big deals in Fairfax County included:
- Appian, a low-code and business process management platform provider, announced it will invest $28.4 million to expand and move its headquarters from Reston to Tysons. The project will retain 600 existing jobs and create 600 more over the next five years.
- MicroStrategy Inc., which provides business intelligence, mobile software and cloud-based service, added 300 jobs.
- Engineering and construction giant Bechtel consolidated its headquarters in Reston. The consolidation added 200 jobs, according to the Washington Business Journal.
- KPMG will invest more than $30 million to expand its operations in the county. The tax, audit and advisory firm expects to add about 500 jobs.
- IDEMIA, a firm specializing in augmented identity, plans to move its North American Identity & Security headquarters to Reston. The company develops, makes and markets security technology products and services for the telecommunications, payments and identity markets.
Another highlight for the county was the completion of Capital One’s 31-story headquarters in Tysons. In December, S&P Global Market Intelligence ranked Capital One 10th on a list of largest U.S. banks in terms of total assets.
Northern Virginia’s recent deals
|Amazon Inc.||Arlington County||25,000|
|Micron Technology Inc.||Manassas||1,100|
|Appian Corp.||Fairfax County||600|
|KPMG LLC||Fairfax County||521|
|OneWeb LLC||Fairfax County||350|
|Rosendin Electric||Loudoun County||300|
|MicroStrategy Inc.||Fairfax County||300|
|Discovery Inc.||Loudoun County||240|
|1901 Group||Fairfax County||225|
*Company has headquarters in another country Source: Virginia Economic Development Partnership