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Synetic Theater To Stay In Crystal City For 3 Years As Amazon Moves In

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Crystal City-based Synetic Theater's production of "Cyrano de Bergerac"

The show will go on at National Landing.

JBG Smith has extended the lease of avant-garde Synetic Theater until 2022 at 1800 South Bell St., below one of the first offices Amazon will move into for its Crystal City HQ2.     

The physical movement-based theater company, started in 1996 by Paata Tsikurishvili, has occupied its subterranean studio and theater since 2010. Bisnow reported in January that the troupe’s leases, along with many other retailers in the area, were not renewed by JBG Smith, Crystal City's dominant landowner, this past summer.

Amazon’s arrival — and Synetic’s consequent leasing dilemma — left Arlington residents and community organizers concerned about the future of the region’s artistic scene. In fall 2018, representatives from JBG Smith said they were working with Synetic to find a new space for the theater company to relocate.

Synetic Theater will continue to perform in its current, 12K SF performing space until late 2022. Synetic’s lease on its separate, studio space has not been renewed past the end of 2019, and Tsikurishvili said he’s working with Crystal City and Arlington County to find additional space.

“In the last month, I believe [JBG Smith] realized there was no reason to move Synetic out,” Tsikurishvili told Bisnow with a laugh. “JBG Smith is familiar with us, they understand how much value we bring to the community itself. I don’t think Amazon realized we can really offer great amenities for the community, and for their future employees that are moving into the area — how much we can offer and serve them in terms of nightlife, entertainment, classes and strong family programs.” 

With Amazon’s selection of National Landing, JBG Smith is expediting its plans to make Crystal City a vibrant, mixed-use community by breaking ground on Central District Retail, a 109K SF entertainment and retail destination, as well as developing plans for a specialty grocer, restaurants, bars and hundreds of apartments in the area.

“A thriving arts scene is a vital component of any successful mixed-use community,” JBG Smith Executive Vice President Andrew VanHorn said in a press release. “Synetic Theater has been one of National Landing’s leading cultural organizations for nearly a decade, and this agreement ensures that the theater’s work will continue to enrich and inspire the community for years to come.”

While Tsikurishvili said he is thrilled and thankful to Amazon and JBG Smith for the lease extension, as well as Arlington County and Crystal City for their assistance in finding a new studio, he said he will still be keeping an eye out for open spaces in 2022, should the troupe need to relocate. For now, the extension has given him the opportunity to focus — and announce Synetic’s upcoming season. 

“Three years gives us a great opportunity to find us a new location. But, for now, we’re going to be under the same roof as Amazon’s headquarters,” Tsikurishvili said. “I will invite everybody to see our productions, become their friends, and go from there. I think Amazon will become pleased to get to know more about Synetic. It’s world-class theater. I hope we can come to a good agreement and become good friends.”