Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for August 17, 2021: mixed-use West Falls Church plans, Amazon invests, EdgeConneX expands again

(Rendering courtesy of WMATA)

Next stop… redevelopment: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority signed an agreement to redevelop the West Falls Church Metro Station site as a more than 1 million-square-foot mixed-use development. Construction is expected to begin in 2023. Plans for the redevelopment of Metro’s parking lots include adding apartments, townhomes, neighborhood retail and public green spaces. It will connect to the proposed mixed-use redevelopment of Meridian High School (formerly George Mason High School) with bike lanes, sidewalks, public parking spaces and a secondary grid of streets to alleviate congestion. The project results from several years of work between Metro, the development team and Fairfax County to amend the comprehensive plan for the site. On July 13, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to the comprehensive plan to support development of the Metro site and the adjoining Virginia Tech site, Virginia Business notes. “I am pleased that [the proposal] envisions a vibrant mixed-use, pedestrian friendly environment and attractive public spaces, while respecting nearby established residential communities,” said Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (Dranesville District).

Amazonian investments in Virginia: Amazon, which is building its “HQ2” in Arlington County and maintains its east coast campus of Amazon Web Services in Herndon, says in its latest economic impact report that it invested $34 billion in Virginia from 2010 to 2020 — 6 percent of the company’s total U.S. investment since 2010. It’s the third-largest among the states, only exceeded by Washington and California, the report says. Out of Amazon’s total dollars dedicated to infrastructure and compensation in Virginia, Northern Virginia has won the lion’s share — almost 84 percent — a tally of $28.5 billion from 2010 to 2020, the report says. Amazon said it has filled 27,000 full- and part-time jobs on corporate, technology, logistics and operations teams in Virginia since 2010, the Washington Business Journal notes.

Cloud high: The aforementioned Amazon Web Services won a $10 billion (that’s with a B, folks!) cloud computing contract from the National Security Agency, Nextgov reported. According to the report, the contract awarded to Amazon’s cloud subsidiary appears to be part of the NSA’s effort to update its GovCloud platform, the intelligence community’s classified data repository. This latest award comes as intelligence, defense and other federal agencies continue to advance modernization efforts, says GovConWire.

Connecting to another edge: EdgeConneX, a Herndon-based data center operate, said it will acquire Israel-based counterpart Global Data Center. Once completed, the acquisition will expand EdgeConneX’s footprint to the Middle East with a pair of subterranean data centers in the Tel Aviv area. The news comes four months after EdgeConneX announced a multi-market expansion in North America, as well as plans for a new data center in Spain. Since late 2013, the company has built over 40 data centers. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Inking a new market sector: Swiss company SICPA, which specializes in developing security inks for bank notes, currency, IDs and passports, as well as tax authentication services, performed what was considered an essential service to federal state and local governments — keeping the company’s 200 local employees on the payroll, said Greg Dunn, president and CEO of SICPA’s North American subsidiary that is based in Springfield. But a greater focus on security has led SICPA to explore new ways to authenticate identity beyond the physical world. The newly minted CEO sees upside in exploring that more digital-focused market for the company’s services, he told the Washington Business Journal. “One of the areas we’ve been focusing on as a company is how do we infuse a digital component to our current solutions,” Dunn said.

Welcome to the mall: Three emerging business concepts are getting help to jumpstart their success through Tysons Corner Center‘s first-ever DreamStart competition. The competition allows the winning brand, product, service, food vendor, maker, or idea to get reduced rent for space inside Tysons Corner Center and other support to build their business. The grand prize winner is Bisnonna Bakeshop, a local traditional Italian bakery based in Annandale. The runner-up is Garcon Melanine, a Black-owned children’s fashion brand based near Quantico, and the second runner-up is The PopCorn Bag DC, a gourmet dessert bar specializing in unique gourmet popcorn flavors. The three winners receive a prize package valued at more than $100,000 with reduced rent offerings, promotional resources, visual merchandising and marketing support and a grand-opening event, McLean Patch reported.

Blast off: Northrop Grumman‘s Cygnus spacecraft was launched last week onboard an Antares 230+ rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to the International Space Station as part of a commercial resupply mission with NASA. Cygnus arrived at the orbiting laboratory on Thursday, bringing with it various scientific investigations and other materials. Experiments onboard the spacecraft tackles 3D printing using regolith, engineered tissues for declining muscle mass in microgravity, two-phase heat transfer systems, a thermal protection technology for spacecraft re-entry, in-space carbon dioxide emission and mold behavior in near-zero gravity environments, reported ExecutiveBiz.

Space traffic cop: U.K.-based OneWeb, which has its North American headquarters in Tysons, and San Francisco-based Spire Global, a space-based data and analytics company with operations in Tysons, will be part of a group testing a new collaboration platform developed by El Segundo, Calif.-based Slingshot Aerospace to help satellite operators share space traffic information, SpaceNews reported. The system, called Slingshot Beacon, “will be used as a centralized communication and coordination platform to resolve on-orbit conjunctions and notify others about planned maneuvers,” the company announced Aug. 12.

Growing fast: Nine Fairfax County-area based companies ranked on CRN’s annual Fast Growth 150 list, which ranks solution providers in the US and Canada with annual sales of at least $1 million, by their average two-year revenue growth rate: no. 12: Ntiva (Tysons); no. 36: Three Wire Systems (Falls Church area); no. 38: Advanced Computer Concepts (Tysons); no. 40: Guidepoint Security (Herndon); no. 52: Aligned Technology Solutions (Alexandria/Mt. Vernon area); no. 63: Perspecta (Chantilly); no 72: Carahsoft (Reston); no. 136: CACI (Reston); and no. 141: Thundercat Technology (Reston).

Chow call: The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), based in Herndon, invested an unspecified amount in Norfolk-based ChowCall, an on-demand food delivery service focused on military bases and federal installations. The investment came from CIT GAP Funds, which makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean energy and life science companies. ChowCall, which currently serves Hampton Roads, Va., as well as the North Carolina communities of Jacksonville and Fayetteville, said it will use the funding to expand into one-third of U.S. military base communities by the end of 2022. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Play ball! Four counties in Northern Virginia have combined efforts to launch SportsNOVA, a regional sports tourism partnership that will market the area for sports-related travel. The goal of the partnership between Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties is to generate economic impact and foster community development in the region. As part of the brand announcement, the group also launched the SportsNOVA.com website to promote the venues, hotels and attractions available in the region to sports-event organizers. InsideNoVa kicked in the story.

4 is our lucky number: Kiplinger ranked Fairfax County ranked no. 4 in its latest annual assessment of the top 10 richest counties in the U.S. With a population of nearly 1.5 million people, the annual median household income in Fairfax County is $124,831. More than 62 percent of Fairfax County’s residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, while more than 31 percent were born overseas. Those figures compare to 39.6 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively, at the state level, the article notes. Elsewhere in Northern Virginia, Loudoun County ranked as no. 1, Stafford County at no. 2, and Prince William County at no. 7.

Population growth: Newly released 2020 Census figures recorded a population of 8.63 million Virginians. That’s 7.9 percent higher than 2010. Fairfax County, by far Virginia’s most populous jurisdiction, grew at a 6 percent rate to a population of 1.15 million, which is 13.3 percent of the statewide total. Also, Fairfax is now a majority-minority county. The census shows a white population of 47.1 percent, Tysons Reporter noted. Communities of color, particularly Asians and Hispanics, have grown since 2010: 20.3 percent of the county’s population is Asian, while Hispanic or Latino individuals now constitute 17.3 percent of the populace and 10.6 percent of the population is Black or African-American. Tysons Reporter also noted that Fairfax County is now the second most racially diverse county in Virginia, according to Census data. Only Prince William County scores higher on the Census Bureau’s Diversity Index.

Rescue team deployed: An urban search and rescue team from Fairfax County deployed to Haiti after the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on August 14. Virginia Task Force 1, sponsored by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, joined federal disaster response crews. A team of 65 rescue professionals took 26 tons of rescue and medical equipment to the country, plus four search dogs. NBC News 4 reported on the team’s departure.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Peraton obtained a five-year, $979 million contract to help the Department of Defense, U.S. Central Command and its partners gain operational edge in information systems and strengthen national security. ExecutiveBiz

Northrop Grumman received a multi-million dollar contract to provide full aircraft lifecycle sustainment support for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force. ExecutiveBiz

ProtectedBy.AI won a $7.6 million Department of Defense contract to help combat criminal cryptocurrency transactions. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Featured business events

August 26 — Everything you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines, mask mandates, and Virginia workplace safety. Join Alexandria SBDC for a presentation by R. Doug Taylor, Shareholder, Bean, Kinney & Korman, P.C. Click here to register.

September 14 — Entrepreneurship 101. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the Community Business Partnership and the U.S. Small Business Administration, conducts a free workshop for those persons that are interested in starting a business in Fairfax County.  The workshop provides an overview of start-up basics (licenses and permits), workforce services and training programs, and SBA resources including financing and certification programs. This session’s guest speakers in the Entrepreneurial Spotlight will be Scott and Cyndi Hoffman, the founders/owners of Ono Brewing Company in Chantilly. Click here to register.

September 14-15 — LEADS (Leadership, Excellence, and Adaptability of business built on pillars of Diversity and Sustainability). The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is partnering with FICCI, a prominent trade association based in India, for the second edition of a global thought-leadership initiative with an overarching theme of “Future of Partnerships.” This hybrid program brings together business leadership from 12 countries to describe their vision of the future of fundamental aspects of global economic prosperity built on pillars of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), engaging audiences from east, central and South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa, West Asia, the Americas and the Pacific. Click here to register.

September 15 — 2021 Virginia Veterans & Military Affairs Conference. The Virginia Chamber Foundation, Virginia Veterans Services Foundation, and Virginia Department of Veterans Services’ third annual Virginia Veterans & Military Affairs Conference and presentation of the V3 Awards. Fairfax County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Victor Hoskins will  introduce two panel discussions: “Innovating the Workplace for Military Spouses” and “Virginia: The Best State for Military Families.” The FCEDA and the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance are program sponsors for the conference. Click here to register.

November 4 — Veteran & Military Family Career Day. Sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Fort Belvoir, the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, this event will be held at the National Museum of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir. Save the date! Registration information to come. If your company is interested in participating please click here.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

The FCEDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and information. Visit the FCEDA’s Covid-19 Business Resource Hub for up-to-date 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.