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Ahead Of The Curve: How Arlington Buildings Are Addressing Tenants’ Demand For Transportation

Secure indoor bike parking at the Waterview

Experts say it's a buyer's market, and they don't expect the tables to turn anytime soon. For office building owners and tenants, this means tenants' demands have more and more influence over what amenities buildings offer.

In the D.C. area, those tenant demands often involve better transportation amenities and greater accessibility to public transit.

Transportation options in Northern Virginia have made the area attractive to big-name corporations like Nestlé and Amazon. While some attribute these major relocations to proximity to an educated workforce and the federal government, Dag Alemayehu, business development manager for Arlington Transportation Partners, said it is common knowledge among local CRE stakeholders that ease of commute was also a major factor.

Alemayehu believes that when buildings step up to serve this need, with offerings like easier access to public transit or support infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, everyone benefits.

“In places like Arlington, access to and ease of transportation is a major consideration for tenants as they decide where to work and where to live. Building owners and developers who understand that and provide innovative options are going to be able to make life better for their tenants, which puts them a step ahead of the competition," Alemayehu said. "But just as importantly, these transportation options and initiatives reduce our reliance on single-drive car commuting, which helps reduce carbon emissions and mitigate traffic congestion in the Arlington area. That improves the quality of life for the community overall.”

Arlington Transportation Partners’ Champions program recognizes and rewards commercial buildings in Arlington County that lead the way in implementing new and innovative transportation policies.

In 2018, the program recognized two property managers as Platinum-level Champions — Transwestern’s 300K SF pair of Class-A office buildings at 3001 and 3003 Washington Blvd. in the heart of Clarendon, and JLL’s Rosslyn office building, The Waterview. The companies took different approaches to providing tenants with exceptional transportation offerings.

First, Transwestern dug into finding out exactly what its tenants wanted. The developers partnered with ATP to survey its tenants and tailor transportation opportunities based on findings about tenant commuting needs and habits. ATP compiled survey feedback and presented recommendations to the building's owner.

Resulting from this process, Transwestern implemented several programs, including a collaboration with Lyft to create geofenced travel patterns and facilitate car pools for tenants commuting to the Pentagon and Reagan National Airport. They also purchased pre-loaded SmarTrip cards and offered them to new and existing tenants, encouraging employees to try multimodal commute options to and from work.

The Waterview

The Waterview focused on bike transit. Home to large office tenants including Deloitte, the building provides tenants with secure indoor bike parking equipped with a fix-it station, a shower and locker facilities to support multimodal commutes and continued bike advocacy on the building level.

Thanks to these offerings, the Waterview and JLL have maintained a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business designation since 2011. The honor, bestowed by the League of American Bicyclists, recognizes and rewards companies and properties across the U.S. for their leadership in wellness, sustainability and corporate responsibility, helping to set it apart for tenants in the competitive landscape, while improving commuting for Arlington at large.

But a dedication to better transportation alternatives goes beyond the two office properties: Fifty-eight of last year’s Champions honorees were commercial buildings.

“Those buildings are ahead of the curve, and they’re seeing the benefits of that,” Alemayehu said. “We hope to see this number grow in 2019.”

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Arlington Transportation Partners. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.