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Arlington Is Staking Its Revival On Millennials And Tech Firms


Arlington’s Economic Development office is on a mission to reinvent the area as a magnet for tech tenants and other creative firms.

Part of that is a response to the ongoing trend of federal agencies—which previously accounted for the bulk of Arlington’s employers—shrinking their footprint in the area to cut costs.

But given that Arlington has one of the fastest-growing Millennial demographics in the country, it also just makes sense, says Christina Winn, director of business investment for Arlington Economic Development.

“In Arlington, we really felt the need to diversify our economy to reflect on the large Millennial population that lives here,” she says. “That means working to attract technology companies, startups, and then providing a community that’s appealing to them.”

To diversify Arlington’s economic base and put the area on a sustainable track, Christina and her colleagues have been marketing Arlington on a national scale, taking their message to events like SXSW Interactive and the CES tech expose in Vegas.

“We’re concentrating on bringing in the high-growth tech ventures nationally and internationally—the people in cybersecurity, in educational, medical and clean technologies, and big data,” Christina says.

So far that strategy seems to be working: in February alone software developer Basket announced it would relocate from DC to Arlington, creating 65 new jobs, and green tech firm Opower announced it would keep its headquarters in Arlington following a competitive bid process.

Arlington also recently entered into a public/private partnership to help overhaul its struggling Ballston Common Mall into a hip new shopping complex. The city is also working with local artists and small businesses to turn its Columbia Pike neighborhood “into a thriving business community just steps from major employers like the Pentagon,” Christina says.

We're thrilled Arlington’s EconDev office has joined us as a public sector sponsor of our Bisnow Beltway Bash, to be held on May 23 at 5:30pm at the Wynn's Intrigue Nightclub at ICSC Recon. We hope you'll join us. Register here!