It’s the end of Arlington County’s fiscal year, a time when we look back over the past twelve months to reflect on our successes, challenges and opportunities.
Clearly, the “normal” job of our business investment group here at AED, which includes working with companies interested in establishing or expanding in Arlington, was anything but normal as the global health pandemic has taken hold. prevented companies from returning to the office. Nonetheless, we have marked some exciting milestones in the last year devoted primarily to foreclosure and are thrilled to move forward from challenge to opportunity.
Our business investment team continued to focus on expanding the pipeline and capturing strong growth prospects through digital touchpoints. Through over 500 virtual engagements over the past year, our team has doubled its retention efforts with the amazing businesses that inhabit Arlington and has seen some exciting developments with several businesses announcing expansions, even during a pandemic.
These included Two six laboratories, Vertical applications, Orbital effects, Fresh impact farms and Interos, who just announced Series C funding and is now Arlington’s first (female-led!) unicorn. Other exciting news included the announcement of Microsoft’s regional global sales and marketing center at Commonwealth Towers in Rosslyn and, later at National Landing, the arrival of ZEBOX, a French incubator which will open its first American site at the beginning of next year. We anticipate increased interest from high tech companies given recent investments from JBG Smith in the digital infrastructure surrounding National Landing, which accelerates the innovation ecosystem we foster in Arlington.
In other positive news, the ramp-up of Amazon headquarters has progressed as expected in terms of hiring and construction, including the unveiling of its iconic structure, the Helix. As vaccination rates have increased in recent months, we have seen an increase in activity in the market and our team has taken care of responding to inquiries and conducting site visits for ready companies. to implement their expansion plans.
Through close dialogue over the past year with our businesses and real estate partners, we know that what businesses look for in an office location has changed and will continue to evolve as employees return to work. As remote working trends and changing employee preferences challenge the demand for traditional office space, communities are entering a more competitive environment than ever before.
To maintain attractiveness as a place of business, communities must remain agile and ensure that their offers meet the demand of the sector from a political and real estate point of view. During this break from âbusiness as usualâ over the past year, AED took the opportunity to revisit its offerings and win themes; We’re reworking elements of our value proposition as a business destination as well as our marketing materials (stay tuned this fall for AED’s new look!).
Looking ahead, we’re excited about the future and confident that Arlington’s most compelling assets – its talent, connectivity and culture of innovation – are more relevant than ever in the post-pandemic world. In fact, these strengths have only grown stronger with continued investments from our businesses, the real estate community, the county and its state-level partners. Knowing that the ânormalâ we’re coming back to won’t look like the past, we’re sure Arlington is still an amazing place to live, work and play.