On February 19, Marc McCauley, Director of the Real Estate Group of Arlington Economic Development, briefed the WBC Regional Development Committee on development activities in the 26 square mile county across the Potomac River from the District.  All within an hour, Mr. McCauley provided a rich overview of development activity, county development policies and development challenges in this small, but dynamic jurisdiction.  In addition, he adeptly fielded numerous Committee questions.    (POWERPOINT PRESENTATION)

Positioned at the heart of the region with strong economic and quality of life attributes, Arlington County offers one of the hottest real estate markets in the Washington region.  Thus, Arlington County is one of the hottest jurisdictions for construction opportunities.  Under construction are 18 projects constituting 1.6 million sf of office, 192 thousand sf of retail, over 3 thousand housing units and 183 hotel rooms.  These construction projects include such projects as Founder’s Square in Ballston, 3001 Clarendon Blvd., 1400 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, Boeing Regional Headquarters in Crystal City, and 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn.   More impressive and perhaps closer to our interests, is 31projects in the pre-construction pipeline.   These include the 8 near-term construction starts, 15 awaiting market or phasing and 8 pending zoning review.   The quantity of such development dwarfs current construction: 7.8 million sf of office, 384 thousand sf of retail, 402 thousand other sf, 4,629 housing units, and 1,116 hotel units.

Arlington County attributes much of its building robustness to its location, its infrastructure, demographics and frankly its attractiveness as a “hot place” to live.  Market analysts point out commercial real estate decisions are increasingly influenced by where the creative workforce lives.  Mr. McCauley made clear that Arlington County steadfastly promotes and follows policies to attract to young professionals.  Among other things that means pro-transit, high quality amenities, pedestrian friendly development.  Don’t look to Arlington County for support to widen I-66!

Despite the relative robustness of Arlington County, Mr. McCauley discussed several real estate headwinds that Arlington County must contend with.  These include Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), federal budget uncertainty, shifting office market dynamics, shortage of skilled workers, and the county’s entitlement process.  Mr. McCauley used the Accenture’s move to 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston as an example of the challenge to office space demand and to Arlington County’s ability to adjust.  He explained that Accenture took just half the square footage per employee that they had at their Reston headquarters by applying the hoteling concept for employee work space.

For details regarding development activity in Arlington County go to the Arlington Economic Development web site http://www.arlingtonvirginiausa.com/.  Besides Marc McCauley, we wish to also thank Jennifer Ives and Catherine Miller at Arlington Economic Development for making this valuable presentation possible.

Up-coming Regional Development Committee activities include:   Future Regional Development Committee meeting are tentatively planned that will visit Reston Station – Comstock project, George Washington University, and the Federal Drug Administration.  For more information on the Regional Development Committee, contact Chuck Claar, c.claar@hubertco.com, Chairman of the Regional Development Committee or Steve Kenton, WBC President, kenton@wbcnet.org.