August 3, 2023: Fairfax County Ranks No. 1 for Commercial Real Estate Development + Weekly Business News Digest

Fairfax County Ranks Number One in Nationwide Study on Commercial Real Estate Development

Fairfax County ranked number one for best building permitting process in the United States by the NAIOP Research Foundation, a nonprofit established by the Commercial Real Estate Development Association in 2000. This ranking was decided after comparing the site plan and building permit review process of 100 communities across the U.S. and Canada.

The study’s researchers evaluated three critical pillars during their investigation: transparency, accountability and consistency. Fairfax County demonstrated exceptional performance across all three aspects, earning the top position and specifically receiving recognition for its accountability measures, according to a Fairfax County Government NewsCenter announcement.

One of the highlighted features of the county’s permit process is its commitment to providing applicants with flexible options. Developers in the county have the choice to opt for modified processing (footing and foundation permits), phased occupancy, an expedited review, Fast Track Plan Review or third-party inspections for their projects. This approach enables the jurisdiction to move approvals forward, even if there are internal capacity constraints. By allowing applicants to decide, the county empowers developers to control the pace of their projects while ensuring timely reviews.

The study also found transparency is a crucial part of the county’s operations. The county actively shares vital information with the public by publishing staffing data, the number of building permits and inspections requested, as well as the number of approved and completed requests.

Additionally, the county discloses performance metrics such as the average processing time for site plans and building permit applications and the duration of building inspections. This commitment to transparency underscores the county’s dedication to being accountable to various stakeholders, including county residents.

Click here to read the full study.

Weekly Business News Digest

Fortunate fame: Four Fairfax County-based companies made Fortune magazine’s 34th Global 500 list, released Tuesday, Virginia Business reported. Tysons-based Freddie Mac remained Virginia’s top-ranked company, at No. 133, with $86.7 billion in fiscal 2022 revenue. In addition, Reston-based General Dynamics ranked at No. 379; Tysons-based Capital One at No. 386; and Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman at No. 296. Two companies in Arlington County, a fellow Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance jurisdiction, landed on the list: RTX (formerly Raytheon Technologies) at No. 195, and Boeing at No. 197. Notably, both RTX and Boeing moved their headquarters locations to Arlington from other states last year. The Global 500 list follows Fortune’s annual list of the top 1000 U.S. companies ranked by revenue, the latest of which was released in June, and includes 17 Fairfax County-based companies.

Lively leasing: During the second quarter of 2023, 7 of the top ten — including the top 5 — highest commercial office lease transactions in Northern Virginia were for properties in Fairfax County, according to Savills Northern Virginia 2023 Q2 Market Report. Here are the Fairfax County transactions:

  • GSA – FBI, 175,000 square feet at 15020 and 15030 Conference Center Drive, Chantilly (renewal)
  • Arcfield, 124,400 square feet at 14295 Park Meadow Drive, Chantilly (relocation/sublease)
  • ManTech Advanced Systems International, 118,678 square feet at 2251 Corporate Park Drive, Reston (renewal)
  • Parsons, 109,559 square feet at 5875 and 5885 Trinity Parkway, Chantilly (renewal)
  • Peraton, 77,749 lease at 14291 Park Meadow Drive, Chantilly (new lease)
  • Ligado Networks, 36,248 lease at 10800-10802 Parkridge Boulevard, Reston (renewal)
  • Ensco, 32,067 lease at 2600 Park Tower Drive, Merrifield (new lease)

Click here to read the full report.

Kastle in the corners: Reston-based BoundTrain Real Estate, the owner of two towers at 6400 and 6402 Arlington Blvd. near the Seven Corners interchange in Fairfax County, told the Washington Business Journal that there have been a host of recent leasing deals there after a $12 million renovation was completed. BoundTrain said it most recently secured a lease renewal for Kastle Systems, a property technology company. The company is moving into 62,000 square feet of newly renovated later this summer after recommitting to the property long term.

Great collaboration in Northern Virginia: The FCEDA’s Assistant Director for International Business Investment Asher Kotz was quoted in a Forbes article: “The Challenge Of Cybersecurity At The Cutting Edge” by contributor Ron Schmelzer. Speaking from a state and local government level, Kotz brings a different perspective to cybersecurity challenges, according to the article. The challenge for state and local governments around emerging cybersecurity threats is even more significant given the highly distributed nature of the systems and limited resources available to deal with challenges.  “We work very closely with the county system and also on the regional level on protecting and securing critical infrastructure. I think our number one challenge is that we have a very distributed environment, 400 sites around the county. We have schools, we have critical infrastructure, we have about 1.1 million people in the county, even more than 200,000 students,” Kotz said. “So what the county has been doing every year or maybe every two years is to do a strategic planning, especially when things are changed, for example during the pandemic. 2020 was a big challenge to move to a mass education platform. The need is to collaborate. And I think, overall, we see a great collaboration of national and international knowledge, investment and technology in Northern Virginia.”

No. 1 top hospital: Inova Health System’s Fairfax Hospital was named the top hospital in the Greater Washington region and the Commonwealth of Virginia for the third consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, Inova Fairfax’s Obstetrics and Gynecology department ranked among the top 20 hospitals in the country. “Being honored as the top hospital in our region for three consecutive years is an extraordinary achievement, and one we do not take for granted,” said Dr. Steve Narang, president of Inova Fairfax Medical Campus. “We owe this success to the collective efforts of our dedicated team of medical professionals, team members and partners who work every day to deliver the highest standard of patient-centered care.” Two other Inova hospitals were ranked in the top 10 both regionally and statewide: Inova Alexandria and Inova Fair Oaks tied for eighth in the region and ninth in the state. U.S. News’ annual Best Hospitals rankings and ratings, in their 34th year, evaluate 4,500 medical centers across the country and are designed to help patients and their doctors make informed decisions about where to receive quality care. InsideNova has more.

The Black Union: A group of Fairfax County-based George Mason University students have launched The Black Union, a Black-owned online store, according to Black Enterprise. The group decided to start what they call “an ecosystem for the Black community.” The Black Union Shop is where entrepreneurs can showcase and sell products in a digital store that its founders hope will be known as an Amazon for Black-owned businesses, according to Baltimore Fishbowl.

Blast off! NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket with Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard lifted off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on August 1 at 8:31 p.m. EDT, NASA reported. This is Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman’s 19th contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station. This Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Friday, Aug. 4. The rocket will deliver more than 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. SciTechDaily has more. Watch the lift off on CBS News.

And a massive sprint: SpaceX launched a Tyson-based Intelsat communications satellite on Thursday, August 3, CBS News reported. The Falcon 9 blasted off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 1 a.m. EDT. Intelsat is refreshing its Galaxy satellite fleet, which provides C-band television relay services across North America and the eastern Pacific, as part of an FCC-mandated push to clear out frequencies for use by emerging 5G cellular networks. “It’s an interesting milestone for us. It brings to closure a comprehensive refresh of our Galaxy fleet over the United States,” said Bruno Fromont, Intelsat Chief Technology Officer, to Spaceflight Now. “It has been a massive sprint for the engineers, who have been working to complete the launch of eight satellites in the span of 10 months. Nobody else has done that in the history of the industry. So it’s a really nice achievement.”

New HQ: Long & Foster Real Estate, Long & Foster Companies’ parent company, announced that the Fairfax County-based business relocated to a new modern facility located at 3975 Fair Ridge Drive in Fairfax. The relocation aligns with the company’s broader strategy to reimagine workspaces post-pandemic and beyond, RISMEDIA reported. Nearly 200 of its headquarters team members will share the space, leveraging hybrid work schedules. “Real estate is changing, and so are we,” said Patrick Bain, CEO of the Long & Foster Companies. “We’re adapting our approach to workspaces and investing the savings into the resources that celebrate mobility and support the core of our business—our agents, employees and clients. Our offices no longer just provide a desk and a computer; instead, they are places to learn, collaborate, network and grow, connecting us with the communities where we live and work.”

Logical acquisition: Herndon-based ManTech International agreed to acquire Arlington, Va.-based Definitive Logic, a provider of digital transformation consulting and technology solutions to defense, homeland security and federal civilian agencies, WashingtonExec reported. The acquisition adds over 330 skilled and cleared employees to the ManTech team and will expand ManTech’s offerings in cloud, cyber, DevSecOps, data engineering and AI/ML. “With mission expansion and technology cycles accelerating at speed, our government customers rely on ManTech to bring our mission knowledge with our mastery of high-tech, high-end engineering, cyber and data solutions to solve their toughest security challenges,” said ManTech CEO and President Matt Tait. “Definitive Logic’s differentiated consulting and tailored technology solutions will further advance ManTech’s mission-focused strategy — Bringing Digital to the Mission. We are very pleased to welcome their highly talented team, sophisticated capabilities and valued government customers.”

Advancing national security priorities: Tysons-based HII Mission Technologies obtained a $1.4 billion contract to provide the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) and its mission partners with emerging technologies in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems and associated cybersecurity, communications and information assurance, Yahoo Finance reported. “This award illustrates our strength in the management and execution of U.S. government programs and growth as a premier service-solutions provider in all domains,” said Chris Kastner, HII president and CEO. “We are pleased to continue this mission-critical work together with the National Security Innovation Network and its mission partners. HII looks forward to leveraging new technologies and advancing national security priorities to protect peace and freedom around the world.”

Key strategic milestone: Tysons-headquartered memoryBlue announced the acquisition of Operatix, a sales acceleration services provider for B2B technology companies headquartered in London, U.K., with additional offices in the U.S. and Singapore. “Our merger with Operatix represents a key strategic milestone for memoryBlue,” said Chris Corcoran, managing partner and co-founder of memoryblue. “Not only does Operatix represent our first acquisition, but the transaction enables us to serve technology clients across the globe and be their go-to partner for business development efforts across North America, LATAM, the public sector, and now EMEA and APAC. This global reach is a capability we have long sought but haven’t been able to offer until now.”

Winning & contributing to customer and mission success: The U.S. Army has cleared a Reston-based Hypori virtual device for use by service members when they access protected military networks, data and applications, reported ExecutiveBiz. Jared Shepard, president and CEO of Hypori, noted the company has prioritized demonstrating the value of its platform to the service branch over the past 18 months. “Focusing on performance, privacy and security; developing new features; enhancing the user experience and delivering exceptional customer service is how we’ll keep winning and contributing to the success of our customers and their missions,” Shepard said.

Defending against drone swarms: Epirus, which is based in Los Angeles and maintains its east coast headquarters in Tysons, and Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Anduril Industries have combined their technologies to create a counter-unmanned aerial system with command and control capabilities in support of the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory’s ongoing technology assessment, reported ExecutiveBiz. Epirus’ high-power microwave counter-UAS technology Leonidas has been equipped with Anduril’s Lattice command and control system to provide warfighters with the capability to defend against drone swarm attacks.

Grow, grow, grow: Deb Gandy, who recently assumed her post as the first African American female chair of the prominent Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, said her top priorities include growing the organization’s membership and influence and enhancing diversity in regional business leadership, reported Washington Business Journal. Gandy, a three-decade veteran of the local finance industry, is a senior managing director at Chevy Chase Trust, an investment management firm with offices in Bethesda and McLean. As of July 1, she took the helm of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. She’s the first Black woman to serve in the role in the chamber’s nearly 100-year history. Her topmost priority is to “grow, grow, grow” the chamber’s “membership and reach,” she told the Journal in an interview.

Space innovation talk: Herndon-based HawkEye 360 SEO John Serafini was among the panelists during NightVision Fireside Chat: State of Space 2023, a July 26 teleconference hosted by San Francisco, California-based NightDragon. The panel focused on “Next Frontier of Space Innovation: Innovators discuss leading emerging technology categories and potential within the space sector.” With moderator Ken Gonzalez, Managing Director, NightDragon; the panelists for that session also included Payam Banzadeh, CEO, of San Francisco-based Capella Space; Rob Geckle, Chairman and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based Airbus U.S. Space & Defense; and Dave Broadbent, President, Space Business, Arlington, Va.-based RTX. Click here to see the event recording.

Asia-Pacific hub: Tysons-based Appian, a developer of business software, said it has opened new regional headquarters in Sydney, Australia. The company said the headquarters will serve as a hub for it to continue its growth throughout the Asia-Pacific region. “We’re thrilled to have expanded into new regional headquarters in Sydney. This premier space will provide a strategic hub for our teams across the region, enabling them to collaborate more effectively with our customers and partners,” said Marc Wilson, Chief Partner Officer & Co-Founder at Appian. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Contract Wins

Amentum (Chantilly) won an $818 million contract for adversary aircraft sustainment and modernization of the U.S. Navy F-16 fleet. Yahoo Finance

LinQuest (Herndon) received multiple single-award contracts from defense, intelligence and other government organizations, which together are valued at $700 million. The awards cover the areas of digital transformation, digital environment creation, model-based systems engineering and artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to bolster analytic capabilities. ExecutiveBiz

CACI International (Reston) won a 5-year, single-award $209 million mission expertise prime contract by the U.S. Fleet Forces Command to provide global logistics and technical training support to Naval Forces Logistics. WashingtonExec

Booz Allen Hamilton (Tysons) will continue its professional programmatic support for the U.S. Marine Corps Installations Command headquarters under a nine-month, $22.1 million bridge task order. ExecutiveBiz

ICF (Reston) will continue to help the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime run collective training and technical assistance efforts under a five-year, $14 million contract. ExecutiveBiz

Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area) will develop additional algorithms and software under a $13 million U.S. Navy contract to modernize the maritime sensor system of the service branch’s MQ-4C unmanned aerial vehicle. ExecutiveBiz

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

August 17 — GovFuture Forum. Attend GovFuture Forum, a monthly demo and panel event where government innovators, technologists, thought leaders, movers-and-shakers, government ecosystem partners, and interested people see showcases on cool new technology in a demo format, learn from innovators in high-value panels, and interact with each other. Click here to see the agenda, featured speakers and to register.

September 6 — Harnessing the Power of Economics to Solve Whole of Nation Challenges. With keynote speaker Dr. Emily Blanchard, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of State, MITRE Corporation is hosting a one-day conference at its co-headquarters locations in McLean, Virginia and Bedford, Massachusetts, as well as via Teams Meeting. This conference will join MITRE economists with speakers and panelists from government, academia, and industry to examine the role of economics in collaboratively solving whole-of-nation challenges. The conference will include presentations from distinguished speakers, panel discussions, breakout sessions, posterboard displays, vendor booths, and audience interactive activities. MITRE seeks to serve as a catalyst to foster collaborative cross-sector research, drive innovation, and inform decision makers. Click here to register to attend this free conference.

September 12 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority hosts Entrepreneurship 101, or “E-101,” a bi-monthly workshop that features a panel of small business experts on how to start a business. Presented by the FCEDA, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), the Community Business Partnership (CBP) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the workshop provides an overview of business start-up fundamentals.  Click here to register.

September 21 — Northern Virginia Space & Satellite Summit. Join the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce’s International Business Council at their Space & Satellite event at Womble Bond Dickinson in Tysons. Speakers will include: David Bettinger, CEO, Axta Space Team; Dennis Gatens, CEO and Founder, LEOCloud; George Nield, President, Commercial Space Technologies; and Stephen McCall, Director of Government Relations, Firefly Aerospace. The main objectives of this seminar are to provide insights about the current ecosystem of space and satellite assets and industry in the Dulles region; and to delve into the aspects of the commercialization of the space sector and discuss challenges and opportunities. Click here to register.

September 21 — GovFuture Forum. Attend GovFuture Forum, a monthly demo and panel event where government innovators, technologists, thought leaders, movers-and-shakers, government ecosystem partners, and interested people see showcases on cool new technology in a demo format, learn from innovators in high-value panels, and interact with each other. Click here to see the agenda, featured speakers and to register.

September 26-28, 2023 – Quantum World Congress 2023. Quantum World Congress 2023 will once again bring together leaders from across the quantum ecosystem around the globe to address pressing challenges and emerging trends and share insights that help to accelerate and commercialize quantum technologies. Programming will take many forms — from presentations and panels to fireside chats and networking sessions. QWC will enable relevant, timely, and industry-leading information sharing and relationship building across these formats to foster a responsible environment for quantum growth. QWC 2023 will be held at Capital One Hall in Tysons, Virginia. REGISTER NOW to lock in your early bird discount before August 7, 2023.

FCEDA is Here to Help Your Business Thrive

Fairfax County EDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and information. For direct assistance, email the FCEDA at info@fceda.org, or call 703-790-0600 to leave a voice message for our staff. And click here for resources available in the other nine jurisdictions that make up the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance.