E-Bird Newsletter

November 4 E-Bird newsletter: Reston Next is coming online, MicroStrategy ups bitcoin strategy, Hilton going to the dogs

What’s next in Reston: Boston Properties delivered the first 285,000 square feet at its Reston Next development, to be anchored by Fannie Mae, according to its third quarter earnings report last week. The $715 million expansion of Reston Town Center, totaling 1.06 million square feet, will include the new home of Volkswagen of America too, and is 85 percent leased overall, the Washington Business Journal reported. The Reston Next development, adjacent to the Reston Town Center Metro Station, is the first of three major Washington, D.C.-area Boston Properties projects near completion — representing a $1.2 billion investment, the Business Journal notes.

Upping the crypto ante: Tysons-based MicroStrategy said it added nearly 9,000 bitcoins in the third quarter and is considering raising additional funding to keep accelerating its cryptocurrency-investment strategy. The Tysons business software company said it counted more than 114,000 bitcoins in its holdings as of the end of September. It had raised nearly $400 million through September 30 via share offerings and says it has another $596 million in shares available for sale, the Washington Business Journal reported. “We will continue to evaluate opportunities to raise additional capital to execute on our bitcoin strategy,” said CEO Michael Saylor.

Furry frenzy: Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta said his Tysons-based company hopes to capitalize on the surge in new pet ownership during the public health crisis by appealing to would-be customers set on traveling with their newly adopted canines. That’s because of a partnership announced in September with McLean-based Mars Petcare and other efforts to make more of its hotels pet friendly, the Washington Business Journal reported. “During the pandemic, approximately 23 million U.S. households brought home a new pet, including my own, and like so many others, my family loves traveling with our new dog, Miller,” Nassetta said. “Our guests are eager to travel with their furry little friends, and by making that simpler, we’re able to capture demand and bring new business into the system.”

Birds-eye view: Satellites are being used to observe and mitigate the effects of climate change. New satellites and sensors are also being used to track human activity that might be taking advantage of environmental calamity. One example is in the Arctic, where melting ice has led to a steady rise in commercial and military activity, particularly in the summer months, reported Politico. “It’s really opened up that whole region,” said Adam Bennett, a senior director at Herndon-based HawkEye 360, which operates satellites that can detect radio frequency (RF) signals. “People don’t always know what’s happening up there. So we did some sweeps and it was interesting to see here how we detected all kinds of additional RF activity in some cases in places we never would have expected.”

Not a myth: Herndon-based ManTech International intends to acquire Gryphon Technologies, a systems engineering firm, from AE Industrial Partners for $350 million. Gryphon provides advanced digital and systems engineering capabilities for Department of Defense agencies. The acquisition adds over 1,500 highly skilled employees to the ManTech team and will expand ManTech’s DoD footprint and suite of capability offerings with signature digital engineering solutions. Citybiz picked up a release about the deal.

Fueling the fire: The aforementioned AE Industrial Partners, a Florida-based private equity firm, said it has made a “significant” equity and debt investment in Fire Team Solutions, a Reston-based provider of technology services to intelligence agencies. Fire Team provides cloud, cybersecurity and software services to intelligence and defense clients. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

An enterprising move: Fairfax-based ICF International acquired Rockville-based health information technology firm Enterprise Science and Computing (ESAC). The acquisition adds 40 employees to ICF’s 7,500-member workforce. It wasn’t immediately clear what the combination would mean for companies’ local real estate footprints, the Washington Business Journal noted. ICF is expected to move into a newly built headquarters in Reston in 2022.

X marks the spot: Tysons-based 10Pearls, a digital development company, acquired Atlanta-based Xtensifi, a provider of digital development and technology to the financial services industry. The acquisition adds consulting and engineering talent, as well as an array of clients such as banks, credit unions and fintech firms. “Xtensifi allows us to broaden our expertise in fintech innovation and onboard experienced leadership in the financial services business vertical,” said 10Pearls CEO Imran Aftab. This marks the company’s third acquisition this year. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

No runway required: Falls Church City-based Electra.aero recently debuted the design of its hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing airplane, which is a low-emission aircraft that can transport up to 1,800 pounds of cargo or seven passengers, for up to 500 miles. The plane, Electra says, needs only 100 feet to take off — no runway required. “You start your journey and you end your journey closer to where you are or where you really want to be, without these long detours through a conventional airport,” said CEO John Langford. Find out more in the Washington Business Journal.

If you build it, they will come: Tysons continues to evolve as a place where people go to live, work and play as well as shop. The latest example, courtesy of the Washington Post real estate section: the Monarch, a 94-unit high-rise condominium building going up less than a half-mile from the Tysons Corner Metro Station. The building, at 7887 Jones Branch Drive, made headlines for having the Tyson market’s highest condo prices. Construction came to a halt last year as the project changed contractors, but it’s underway again.

Getting a piece of history: Part of George Washington’s original Mount Vernon estate sold last week for $50 million, the highest residential sale ever in the Washington, D.C., region. The 16.5-acre property in southeastern Fairfax County boasts 400 feet of frontage on the Potomac River, a dock and a 16,000-square-foot main house with views of the water from almost every room. Known as the River View Estate, the deal — which included $2 million in personal property — is the priciest residential transaction ever recorded across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., according to the Multiple Listing Service, Mansion Global reported.

Sinking Reston roots: A new assisted living development called “The Canopy” is coming to Reston by 2023. Silverstone Senior Living, a Dallas-based company, plans to build a three-story assisted living development at 10819 Leesburg Pike. “As Silverstone expands its portfolio in the D.C. region, we wanted to provide the next generation of assisted living and memory care in a community with deep roots such as Reston. Reston was ranked as the Best Place to Live in Virginia by Money magazine for its expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses, and bridle paths,” the company spokesperson said. The Canopy was chosen to reflect the area’s tree canopy and the parks and woodlands that the company says make Reston a “highly desirable place to live.” Reston Now has more.

Housing help: Cornerstones, a Reston-based nonprofit is working with Loudoun and Fairfax counties to build 214 new affordable housing units over the next three years. The new homes will bring both counties closer to their goal of creating more affordable housing for low-income families and single people at risk of homelessness. Cornerstones has provided services such as affordable housing, childcare, and emergency shelter to Fairfax residents since 1970. Its subsidiary, Cornerstones Housing Corp., owns and operates 106 affordable housing units in Reston, Herndon, and Centreville that primarily serve households below 30 percent of the area median income and individuals who were previously homeless, according to InsideNoVa.

Only in Springfield: Now in its 33rd season on TV, “The Simpsons” is set in “Springfield.” A replica of Moe’s, the community’s go-to bar and restaurant from “The Simpsons,” is coming to the Springfield Town Center. JMC Pop Ups is bringing its “Moe’s Pop Up Experience” to a space on the lower level by the Macy’s entrance. It will look authentic with one big difference from the show: No Duff. Or any beer. “This is not an actual bar,” per the website. “This is a family friendly event.” So how did JMC replicate Moe’s? “Entirely too many episodes of The Simpsons,” Sam Shutter of JMC said. The Washington Business Journal has more.


Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Leidos won a five-year, $531 million contract to provide operational support to the Air Combat Command’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance program. Virginia Business

Northrop Grumman received a $108.8 million contract modification from the Air Force to continue logistics support of RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems for South Korea. ExecutiveBiz

ICF secured a five-year, $20 million contract from the Department of Justice to provide training and technical assistance services in support of a Bureau of Justice Assistance center. ExecutiveBiz


Featured business events

November 4 — Veteran & Military Family Career Day. Presented 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 is being held at the National Museum of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir and virtually. Click here to register.

November 10 — Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, PR Summit D.C. Co-produced by Potomac Tech Wire and Capitol Communicator, the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit brings together over 500 CMOs, senior marketers, communicators, agency professionals and technology executives at Capital One Hall in Tysons and virtually. Sponsored the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, the summit features dozens of panels, keynotes, and presentations. Click here to register.

November 10 — Digital Transformation – Opportunities for Success in the USA. Hosted by the Netherlands America Chamber of Commerce, this webinar is intended for Dutch tech firms interested in doing business in USA.  Speakers will include Jatinder Kaur Khosla, business investment manager for Europe at the FCEDA and board member, NACCWM. Click here to register.

November 10 — The 5 Most Obvious (yet overlooked) Areas of Your Business Where Profit Hides. Hosted by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and featuring Mary Pociask, a strategic-partner with Schooley Mitchell, as the speaker, this workshop is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. 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. 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.