Civic Association Newsletter

January/February 1997 - Volume 20, No. 4


The Association encourages members and interested citizens to attend the Community Meeting on the FY 1998 Action Plan for Economic Development. This meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 30, 1997, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m., at the CENTRAL LIBRARY, First Floor Meeting Room, 1015 North Quincy Street. This meeting is sponsored by the Arlington County Economic Development Commission, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and the Arlington County Civic Federation.


Arlington's local economic development efforts must focus on a series of broad outcomes related to increasing jobs, raising incomes, expanding and diversifying the taxable base, improving the physical quality of the community and developing the educational and skill level of the labor force. Each of these is fundamental to improving the overall quality of life in our community.

Economic growth results in increases in the taxable base. Real estate, gross receipts, personal property and consumer related expenditures will all yield greater revenues in a growing economy, with tax rates held constant. Investment in economic development as a vehicle to achieve substantially increased revenues in the long run is implicit in Arlington's strategy.

Economic development also leads to improvement in the physical development of the community. New private investment in buildings and the environment are by-products of economic growth. Similarly. public investment in infrastructure and beautification results in higher rents, higher values, and expanded taxable base.

Economic development aims to both increase the number of jobs and to ensure that the new jobs are appropriate, e.g., that they reduce unemployment and underemployment in the community and not merely result in the importation of outside labor. Targeting industries or sectors with occupational profiles that match those of the current and projected labor force is an important program element.

The creation of jobs which will raise the incomes of area residents is frequently a key target. Increasing the wealth of the community, especially of those at the lower end of the wage scale, will substantially reduce public social welfare costs in addition to improving the quality of life of the population. A corollary of increased incomes is increased job skills. Enhance and coordinated access to education and training at all levels will increase the suitability of Arlington's labor force for a wider variety of higher wage employment.

Because it is difficult to affect employment, real wage growth, and taxable base directly, this Action Plan addresses indirect approaches to foster business development, retention, and recruitment as well as investment in infrastructure and education.


The mission of Arlington's economic development effort is to promote and support a vibrant business climate that is competitive with those of other jurisdictions in the region so that Arlington's corporate and business citizens can be successful and meet their customer's needs. A strong business environment will help provide needed services, employment, and a fair share of the tax base which allows Arlington to continue to be attractive, livable, and financially sound for all business and residential citizens.


Arlington County's five key economic development goals are to:

The first goal is to focus attention on the businesses that already exist within Arlington and to aid their growth and development. A successful effort will result in a higher rate of retention and increased job growth by existing companies. Additionally, Arlington will facilitate the establishment of new enterprises and foster entrepreneurship within the County resulting in employment and income growth.

Many of Arlington's existing businesses were founded elsewhere and have relocated or expanded into the County. Business recruitment or attraction, especially from outside the region, can be effective in increasing jobs and wages and expanding the taxable base. Those businesses which are relocating or consolidating are often larger, nationally known, organizations yielding substantial impacts in job, income, and tax base growth. Leveraging the major marketing programs of the Greater Washington Initiative and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership will result in additional recruitment for Arlington.

A supportive business climate is comprised of a series of factors such as competitive and equitable tax rates, reasonable tax and land use regulations, and the receptivity of appointed and elected officials to the needs of business. It also includes the fiscal stability of state and local government and the effective and efficient delivery of essential government services.

The improvement of Arlington as a marketable product to businesses and residents is an important element of economic development. The provision of functional and attractive infrastructure by both the public and private sectors supports Arlington's position at the upper end of the rent scale in the office market. These investments are directly related to the ability of the County to maximize it's market position.

A skilled labor pool supplying the needs of targeted industries is essential to successful business recruitment and retention efforts. Analysis of the regional labor force, in comparison with business employment needs, is the first step in developing policies and programs to provide a local labor pool attractive to business. Enhancing the skill level of the labor pool through continuing and higher education targeted at specific business needs is an essential element.


There are a number of objectives that have been developed to describe the principle strategies to be used in achieving the County's goals. These objectives provide the basis for the development of projects and program activities that comprise each year's Action Plan.

  1. Develop relationships between business and federal agency executives and Arlington staff and elected officials to foster sound business-related policies, resolve current and future issues, and improve the business climate.

  2. Use existing businesses and agencies to publicize the message that Arlington is supportive of economic growth and publicly recognize successes.

  3. Support the creation and expansion of business through technical assistance, education, and access to capital. Encourage business participation in international commerce through both trade and reverse investment.

  4. Market and promote Arlington as an excellent business location with quality education, excellent transportation, diverse cultural and leisure amenities, a choice of housing opportunities, and a safe environment for both residents and employees.

  5. Exploit Arlington's unique position within the Commonwealth and the region while leveraging other public and quasi-public marketing efforts.

  6. Target marketing efforts to expanding industries and agencies where Arlington has existing or potential competitive advantage. Focus on those sectors where occupational and educational characteristics will provide increased employment and higher income opportunities for area residents.

  7. Strive for increased economic diversity through development of counter-cyclical or less cyclical industries and high-value federal agencies.

  8. Cultivate strong linkages among Arlington businesses, federal agencies, schools, higher education institutions, and residents to increase understanding and appreciation of the role each plays in the success of the community as a whole.

  9. Provide the market, economic, product, and demographic information needed to support the general business and real estate communities. Increase the quantity, quality, availability and utility of the information base.

  10. Continuously improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and procedures that foster economic development and promote a positive business climate.

  11. Provide policy support for competitive tax rates and stable financial and administrative practices.

  12. Promote the availability and quality of both public and private education and training opportunities that meet the needs of businesses and their employees.

  13. Provide high quality public infrastructure that improves the quality, capacity, and appearance of the community.

  14. Facilitate the revitalization of targeted business districts to enhance their economic viability, appearance, and the type and quality of goods and services in the community.

  15. Integrate economic development considerations into the land use planning process. Adopt policies that accommodate new and more diverse building product types in response to market demand.

  16. Increase the number of viable business locations by encouraging revitalization, redevelopment, and infill projects, especially in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

  17. Coordinate and support the activities of organizations, work groups, and individuals within the County government to facilitate economic development.

  18. Coordinate with and participate in the activities of public and private organizations external to the County government, at the local and regional level. Combine and leverage resources where appropriate.


The FY98 Action Plan continues and expands the activities detailed in the FY97 Action Plan. Summaries of the various program components are described below.

The Business Development program continues the commitment to the Business Ambassadors Program, focus groups, survey of business conditions and attitudes, small business seminars, Business Tips videos, database reports and special studies.

Continued commitment to key publications such as the Update and Annual Development Summary, as well as prospect tracking and assistance and marketing outreach and leveraged cooperation with area marketing initiatives are features of the Business Recruitment program. Emphasis for FY98 will be given to implementing the 18-month marketing plan completed in FY97, and the development of niche materials and an international component as enhancements to the original Plan. The annual marketing plan for FY99 will also be prepared in FY98.

The Supportive Business Climate program continues the commitment to business appreciation events, the Resource Guides, speakers/experts bureau, policy analysis, and the Internet. Two new topics (to be determined) will be added to the policy analysis component. Work on the Internet presence will shift from development of the Homepage to its updating and maintenance. A new initiative will be feasibility study of a simplified business permitting process.

The commitment to product development/site studies, the Business Conservation Program (BCP), sign ordinance review, CIP, streetscape/site improvements and interim use analysis is maintained by the FY98 Attractive Infrastructure program. For the BCP, emphasis will be on implementing the redesigned program in targeted areas based on analysis of information provided by the commercial sites inventory. Review of the sign ordinance will shift from focus groups and issues identification to interdepartmental review and support for the EDC subcommittee tasked with this item. CIP program efforts will focus on integration with GIS. Streetscape and site improvements will be targeted in support of the revised BCP and will strive to establish linkages with outside resources to improve program impacts.

The Skilled Human Resource program for FY98 focuses on a regional labor force study and development of a catalog of training, education and job placement programs, as well as identification of need for expanded offerings.

Related Program Support efforts for FY98 will continue to focus on performance measures/program evaluation and staff support to groups and organizations both within and outside County government that relate to economic development.

Business Development

Task 1: Continue to Implement the Business Ambassadors Program

Business Ambassador calls are made on a selected sample of established and new businesses/agencies to determine their satisfaction with County services and with Arlington's business environment. Visits also provide a forum for the resolution of outstanding issues or problems facing a business/agency, for gaining information about the company, and for providing each company with a personal contact within the County government. Private sector Ambassadors are essential team members when conducting business visits, and may be called upon to aid in the County's recruitment efforts by welcoming prospects and facilitating relocation into the community. Approximately 80 visits are targeted for FY98.

Task 2: Gain an Understanding of Specific Business Sector Needs and Issues Through the Use of Focus Groups

Focus groups provide for the facilitated interaction of selected business leaders/agency managers in order to gain responses to a series of structured questions regarding Arlington's business environment. Discussions also highlight business issues or problems. Two focus groups, to be targeted throughout the year, are planned for FY98.

Task 3: Collect and Analyze Information Regarding the Future Outlook for Business and Evaluate the Current Business Climate

A survey of business trends and attitudes towards the future will be conducted in conjunction with George Mason University's Institute for Public Policy. The survey will be used to highlight economic trends, business expansions or contractions, and satisfaction with the business environment. A sample of approximately 300 businesses will be surveyed, representing a variety of industries and business sizes.

Task 4: Develop Business-related Curricula to Meet the Specific Needs of Small Business

The educational component of the Small Business Development Center will be augmented by two special topic seminars sponsored by OED. These seminars will be offered by George Mason University at their Arlington Campus in addition to those developed during FY97. Other offerings will include successful seminar topics developed by the Enterprise Center. OED will collaborate with GMU in the development of each of these new seminar offerings. Production of the Business Tips television series will continue.

Task 5: Increase Understanding of the Arlington Economy Through Special Studies

OED will prepare a series of technical reports focusing on discrete elements of Arlington's economy. Specific topics will be selected throughout the year in response to identified needs for in-depth analysis. Up to four (4) such reports are planned. Additionally, economic impact analyses prepared upon request will be conducted as part of this task.

Task 6: Maintain a Database of Arlington Businesses in Support of Business Expansion and Recruitment

A series of lists and brief analytical summaries will be produced using the Marketplace database. Lists of Arlington's largest employers, technology companies, associations, etc. will be prepared as handouts. This information will also be used to match businesses with opportunities identified throughout the year, and to identify potential partners in targeted business recruitment initiatives.

Task 7: Maintain a Database of Existing, Planned, and Available Sites, Building and Space in Support of Business Expansion and Recruitment

A quarterly Available Space Report will be produced and customized proposals prepared in response to prospect requests. Analyses of trends, based on the Co-Star database and County real estate records will be prepared as new sites are approved. This information will be available electronically.


Task 8: Develop an Annual Marketing Plan

An annual marketing plan identifying the strategies, techniques, and specific events and media to be used during the FY99 will be prepared. A consultant will be retained to conduct an analysis of international marketing opportunities and to prepare positioning statements for use in such marketing.

Task 9: Develop Marketing Materials in Support of Business Recruitment Efforts

Several niche marketing pieces will be produced in order to highlight Arlington's advantages to key market sectors, e.g. associations. These will augment the principal materials developed during FY97. A quarterly marketing piece to position Arlington with national and international site selection consultants will also be produced.

Task 10: Support the Real Estate Community With Current Information on the Arlington Market

A monthly publication combining information on economic indicators, new development, leases and relocations will be produced and distributed to the real estate community mailing list (1,200). A statistical compilation of development and economic growth in Arlington County will also be produced jointly with the Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development.

Task 11: Provide Direct Assistance to Prospects Considering Expansion or Relocation

A fundamental aspect of economic development is working directly with companies on relocation, retention or expansion. Such activities may be associated with marketing, referrals, technical assistance, financing, or negotiations.

Task 12: Market and Promote Arlington

Marketing activities will be identified and developed in the FY97-98 marketing plan completed in December 1996. Such tactics as trade shows, advertising, trade missions, corporate meetings, direct mail, public relations, and special events will be programmed at that time. Marketing activities will be developed to leverage the marketing resources of collateral marketing efforts such as the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Greater Washington Initiative.


Task 13: Sponsor Events Which Will Provide Direct Economic Development Benefits

OED will sponsor or co-sponsor a number of special events including the ABBIES, a commercial brokers event, Infobits, and an economic development Report to the Community.

Task 14: Conduct a Feasibility Study of a Simplified Business Permitting Process

Analyze the feasibility and cost of consolidating processes relating to BPOL registration, zoning permitting, and fictitious name registration into a single "one stop" procedure that can be completed in a single visit to a single location.

Task 15: Produce or Update Resource Guides That Provide Referrals to Business Resources

Resource guides will be developed or updated providing a variety of referrals to information or service resources. Distribution will be through the SBDC, libraries, community centers, partnerships, Universities, the Arlington Chamber, and business services organizations.

Task 16: Provide Speakers and Experts Bureau

Speakers on a variety of topics related to the Arlington economy and economic development will be provided to community organizations and business groups. At least two "stock" presentations with slides or overheads will be developed by OED. Presentation materials will be made available to groups such as the EDC, the Arlington Chamber, etc.

Task 17: Prepare Policy Analyses Aimed at Improving Arlington's Economic Competitiveness and Business Climate

Two policy studies are planned with the specific research objectives to be determined throughout the year. The studies will be focused on issues of current concern as determined throughout the year as determined by the County Board, staff, and the Economic Development Commission.

Task 18: Maintain a Comprehensive Internet Presence

Continuous up-dating and maintenance of the economic development portion of the County's homepage is required. Both new and updated documents, tables, and "news" will be placed on the server on a regular basis.


Task 19: Prepare Product Development or Site Studies

Preliminary planning, design and economic feasibility analyses will be conducted to facilitate the redevelopment of major projects where land assembly or joint ventures are required. In addition, staff will monitor the available sites and buildings in the County and identify opportunities for development and gaps in the available development types. In both cases, staff will work with property owners, lenders, users and developers to bring projects to fruition. The focus will be on projects located in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor. The coordination of the disposition of surplus County-owned sites is included within this work element.

Task 20: Continue and Expand the Business Conservation Program

The Business Conservation Program (BCP), as re-designed in FY97, will be implemented. As a result of an intensive physical inventory of the County's commercial areas, program responses will result in leveraged capital investments in targeted areas. The physical inventory data will be loaded into GIS for coordination with other capital programs to determine County-wide priorities for capital expenditures. Urban design, planning and other technical assistance will be provided to businesses, partnerships, civic groups, etc. relating to commercial revitalization.

Task 21: Continue the Sign Ordinance Review

OED will work as part of a multi-departmental team that includes DCPHD as the lead agency in reviewing the County's signage provisions with regard to the many comments and issues emerging from ongoing focus group activities. Staff support will be provided to the EDC sub-committee working on this project.

Task 22: Prepare and Monitor the Capital Improvements Program

OED staff will prepare an annual Capital Improvement Program for DED as part of the County's CIP and will participate on the multi-departmental Capital Task Force to budget, monitor and coordinate County (and VDOT) capital projects. OED staff will also work with DPW to find ways to more efficiently integrate GIS with capital projects.

Task 23: Design and Coordinate Streetscape and Site Improvements

Streetscape and site improvement projects will be designed and constructed in support of the targeted Business Conservation Program. To the maximum extent feasible, additional outside resources will be sought to increase the impact of these activities.

Task 24: Prepare Additional Interim Use Analyses in Support of the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor Enhancement Project

Physical and economic analyses of the potential for the interim use of county-owned properties in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor will be continued as part of a county-wide business plan initiative to enhance that appearance and economic viability of the area.


Task 25: Participate in a Regional Analysis of the Characteristics of the Labor Force

Arlington will participate as part of a regional analysis of the labor force to include changing demographics, education, mobility, and occupation. The analysis will lead to proposed policies to meet the employment demands of the growing information and telecommunications sector.

Task 26: Catalog the Programs for Training, Education, and Job Placement

Prepare a comprehensive description of the program offered by Arlington County government and schools, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and private and non-profit providers. Analyze this information to identify gaps between the needs of business and the services offered.


Task 27: Develop and Evaluate Performance Measures for Program Activities

The County budget document defines a series of performance measures for a variety of program activities, several of which will require some survey research. In addition, the performance of individual projects needs to be measured in order to constantly improve program effectiveness. Staff will develop a series of performance measures and perform evaluations of selected program elements.


Task 28: Provide Program Support for Related Activities

Staff support is needed for a wide variety of both internal and external activities. OED staff serve on 17 internal County teams as well as serve as members or liaisons to more than 40 external organizations. The commitment of time to a number of these organizations, especially the Greater Washington Initiative, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Federal Space Liaison Committee, CONANDA, MWAA, the Arlington Chamber and the partnerships is substantial. The update of the Action Plan are additional work efforts."

The Association encourages members and interested citizens to attend the Community Meeting on the FY 1998 Action Plan for Economic Development. This meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 30, 1997, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m., at the CENTRAL LIBRARY, First Floor Meeting Room, 1015 North Quincy Street. This meeting is sponsored by the Arlington County Economic Development Commission, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and the Arlington County Civic Federation.

Also, for your information, the FY 1998 Action Plan for Economic Development will be discussed at the Tuesday, February 4, 1997, Arlington County Civic Federation meeting, to be held at the Arlington Hospital Til Hazel Conference Room, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

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