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Champion of the Month: Vornado/Charles E. Smith

Keara Mehlert
Keara Mehlert August 12, 2015 Keara Mehlert is a former Property & Development Services Program Director at Arlington Transportation Partners.
ATP TAKEAWAY: If your building is experiencing a vacancy problem, ATP can help you find a solution to better retain and attract tenants.

With over 20 office properties in Crystal City and the largest private property owner in Arlington, Vornado/Charles E. Smith has a significant presence in the County, attracting major businesses and thousands of employees to the area. Despite an increase in vacancies from the BRAC fallout, Vornado has been able to attract and retain several major organizations and agencies (a few who are also ATP Champions) as tenants, including PBS, USAID, Conservation International and the Smithsonian Institution. Crystal City’s convenient location, with new transportation options and streetscape improvements, plus Vornado’s work with the Crystal City BID has made it an attractive area for businesses to lease office space.

Vornado LogoThis year, several properties in Vornado’s commercial office portfolio enrolled in Champions and have been working with ATP throughout the summer to promote their own building amenities as well as local commute options for tenant employees. The Crystal Squares, Crystal Plazas, Crystal Malls and Crystal Parks properties have implemented various programs to encourage sustainable transportation modes and to mitigate the traffic impact in the Crystal City neighborhood.

The properties distribute customized transportation info to new and current tenants, including ATP’s Quick Glance as well as brochures and maps that are given out at events and placed in the four display kiosks throughout the Crystal City Underground. Vornado also held a series of four summer tenant picnics with ATP in June, where over 150 employees stopped by for free lemonade as well as giveaways and information about Capital Bikeshare, Metrobus, VRE and other commuting options. At the Crystal Parks tenant picnic, Vornado also raffled off five Capital Bikeshare annual memberships to participating employees.

ATP Event with VornadoIn addition to their individual property amenities, Vornado has been proactive in boosting the transportation programs in Crystal City as a whole. Vornado is a major partner of the Crystal City BID, which was instrumental in bringing the first Arlington Capital Bikeshare stations to Crystal City, and continues to actively promote biking through its annual Bike to Work Week event. Vornado has also been a sponsor of ATP’s annual National Walk@Lunch Day for the past three years, providing space and materials at the Crystal City Water Park for the popular program.

Future plans for Vornado in Crystal City include expanding the secure bike parking for employees in the garage of the Crystal Malls properties, as well as potential carpool and vanpool promotions for tenants. Vornado has also filed plans to convert 2221 S Clark Street into a mixed-use residential and office building for the WeLive/WeWork site, bringing a new demographic of office workers and residents to Crystal City. Through Vornado’s current building amenities and placemaking in Crystal City, plus future redevelopment plans in the neighborhood, the company has shown a continued commitment to sustainable transportation options, making Crystal City a better place to live, work and visit.

Tags: Property & Development, Arlington County, Champion of the Month, Champions


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