Feb. 10 E-Bird newsletter: New office tower planned for Tysons; Capital One grants support Black-owned businesses

Building a glass tower: Another glass office tower is planned for Tysons, WTOP reported. Lerner Enterprises will add a 21-story office building to its Tysons II master-planned development. The 490,000-square-foot building, to be designed by Gensler, will be at 1725 Tysons Boulevard. It will include space for a fine dining restaurant, a reflecting pool at the motor court, a lobby level outdoor terrace, conference center, fitness center, rooftop sky-deck, and social, business and gaming lounges. Plans also include an outdoor garden amphitheater for local performances and concerts. “Tysons II continues to be at the forefront of sustainability and technology,” said Lerner Enterprises Principal Mark Lerner. “As we continue growing Tysons II and Tysons III…this market defining project will be innovative and a truly unique workplace, offering unrivaled convenience, access and connectivity to the cast array of walkable amenities including Metro.” Loyal E-Bird readers know that Tysons is the largest commercial district in Fairfax County with 28 million square feet of office space as well as the Tysons Galleria and Tysons Corner Center super-regional malls.

Building resilient futures: Tysons-based Capital One is partnering with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) “to support Black-owned businesses in building resilient futures,” by awarding $10,000 grants to Black-owned businesses. The program aims to supplement revenue that was lost during the height of the pandemic. “The combination of preexisting systemic inequities and pandemic-related setbacks has created a uniquely challenging environment for Black business owners to navigate,” said AEO President and CEO Connie Evans. ZDNet has more.

Back to the future: Herndon-based Volkswagen Group of America will debut its electric bus during this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, which will be held in March in Austin, Texas, Virginia Business reported. Designed to recall the iconic Type 2 Microbus introduced in 1967, the ID. Buzz is Volkswagen’s second noncommercial electric vehicle. With a VW fast-charge system, the bus can recharge about 80 percent of its energy capacity in 30 minutes at 150 kilowatts. “South by Southwest’s commitment to innovation and technology, coupled with its access to culture and creativity, makes it the perfect venue for the ID. Buzz to make its first-ever public appearance,” said Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Scott Keogh.

Online safety: Safe Kids AI, a Vienna-based developer of software to block harmful content for kids online, closed on $1.5 million in seed funding. Using AI technology, the startup’s technology aims to intercept online threats to kids, while also trying to redirect kids to more appropriate content. The company is initially focused on providing the software to schools and organizations, before eventually releasing it to individuals. “The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue of kids’ social lives existing primarily online. Safe Kids AI supports them in stepping back from their devices and connecting with trusted peers and adults,” said Atif Bhanjee, COO of Safe Kids AI. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Landing in Tysons: Cloud security company Zscaler, based in San Jose, Calif., created Zscaler U.S. Government Solutions, a subsidiary in Tysons, that will accommodate 75 employees to support agencies and their systems integration partners, ExecutiveBiz reported. Peter Amirkhan, senior vice president for the public sector at Zscaler, said the company works with more than 100 government organizations and federal integrators and aims to grow the partnerships through its newly formed entity.

Piecing it together: The Greater Washington area’s first LEGO Discovery Center is coming to Springfield Town Center next year, InsideNoVa reported. Real estate investment trust PREIT executed an agreement with Merlin Entertainments to launch the 32,000 square-foot indoor attraction accessible on one level right off the main entrance to the property. “Our LEGO themed attractions have been a huge success across the globe, providing an opportunity for adults and children to spend fun and quality time together in an awesome LEGO world,” said Meike Lippert of Merlin Entertainments.

Travel connection: CIBT, a Tysons-based mobility services company focused on technology for managing immigration documents, acquired the mobility software package of Viselio, a Switzerland-based technology company that digitalizes the process of applying for a travel visa. Along with the software, a team of developers from Viselio will join CIBT. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Air analytics: Tysons-based Aireon, a global company focused on in space-based air traffic surveillance and aviation data analytics, partnered with London-based aviation analytics company Cirium, which has a Reston office. Under the terms of the agreement, Cirium will gain access to Aireon’s real-time data service product. Aireon, for its part, will gain access to Cirium’s flight status data, which includes real-time flight information, such as estimated and actual arrival and departure times, aircraft type, delay calculations, as well as Cirium’s airline schedules, KPVI 6 reported.

A longer view: Westminster, Colo.-based Maxar Technologies, which maintains Chantilly and Herndon locations, extended its partnership with European Space Imaging and Space Imaging Middle East in a new five-year agreement to share satellite imagery. The company will furnish the affiliated imaging partners with high-resolution imagery that will enable government and commercial use, ExecutiveGov reported. The imaging companies will then farm the satellite data out to users, who will implement it for purposes such as border security, disaster response and agriculture.

About face: SOC Telemed, a Herndon telemedicine provider, inked an agreement to sell to Patient Square, a Menlo Park, Calif., health-care investment firm, and return to privately held status about 15 months after it went public by combining with a special purpose acquisition company. The transaction with Patient Square would return SOC Telemed to its former status — it spent 16 years functioning as a private company after its founding in 2004 as Specialists On Call, according to the Washington Business Journal.

New digs: Commercial real estate firm JLL is moving to another Tysons location. JLL will occupy nearly 24,000 square feet of the building, owned by Lerner Enterprises, with the move set during the first quarter of the year. The  12-story, 320,000-square-foot office tower is located at 1800 Tysons Blvd., a block from the Tysons Corner Metro station, according to Virginia Business.

Affordable housing for Tysons: Fairfax County supervisors okayed the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority to use funding of just over $33 million to finance development of the planned 175-unit Dominion Square West Phase 1 affordable-housing development in Tysons. The development “will be a significant and positive step forward in providing affordable housing for working families close to Metrorail,” said Fairfax County Supervisor Walter Alcorn (Hunter Mill District). “This important project will provide much-needed housing for families and individuals working in Tysons and at locations all along the Silver Line and beyond.” Tysons Reporter has more.

Admirable accolades: Seven Fairfax County-based companies placed on Fortune magazine’s 2022 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies“:  Booz Allen Hamilton (Tysons): CACI International (Reston); Capital One Financial (Tysons); General Dynamics (Reston); Hilton (Tysons); Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area); and SAIC (Reston). Fortune collaborated with Korn Ferry on this survey of corporate reputations, starting with about 1,500 candidates: the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue, along with non-U.S. companies in Fortune’s Global 500 database that have revenues of $10 billion or more.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

CACI International secured a $20.4 million contract to support a program initiated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop autonomous network configuration software. ExecutiveBiz

Featured business events

February 23 — Funding for Virginia Startups and Growing Companies. Are you the owner or part of a startup and growing company that is looking for funding and support to expand? Join the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and the Northern Virginia Technology Council Digital Transformation Community for this free virtual event. Our expert panelists will tell participants about grants available to tech companies to commercialize their products, grow their international sales and fund technical research and development, and we will provide information on free resources to Virginia companies to build their business. Click here to register.

February 23 — All Things COVID – Impact, Trends, and Concerns. Presented by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce this event features Dr. Craig Cheifetz, INOVA’s vice president for Corporate Health and Premium Services, who will discuss “All Things COVID” –  community concerns, workplace trends, corporate impact, mental and physical impact, employees and teams. Click here to register. This event is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

February 24 — Small Business Conference. Presented by the Society of American Military Engineers, D.C., this event brings together state, local and federal agencies and businesses throughout the Washington area to network, discuss upcoming contracting opportunities and connect with potential teaming partners. Fairfax County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Victor Hoskins will be among the panelists in a discussion about regional economic development. The conference will be held at Capital One Hall in Tysons. Click here to register.

March 1 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting A Business in Fairfax County. Presented by 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, this webinar will provide the business fundamentals needed to successfully start a business. The Entrepreneurial Spotlight this session will feature Chef Errin Roth, a veteran who is founder and owner of Mrs. Jo’s Petite Eats, the soon-to-open patisserie and cafe in the PenFed building in Tysons. It started as Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets, a dessert business out of a commercial kitchen in Lorton and expanded to include corporate catering. Roth appeared on five episodes of the FOX show “Crime Scene Kitchen” in 2021. Click here to register.

March 3 — Choosing a Business Space in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Fairfax County Land Development Services, this free webinar will focus on the important considerations you need to know when choosing the best space for your small business. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

The FCEDA 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.