Work Begins on Old Arena Site

Developers of a 460,000-square-foot retail center in Largo began razing the old US Airways Arena last week and said the $100 million project would be completed by fall 2003.

The main-street-style shopping center sat dormant for years. It was planned by Cordish Co. of Baltimore, which developed the Power Plant and White Marsh entertainment and shopping centers and Abe Pollin, chairman of Washington Sports and Entertainment and owner of the Washington Wizards.

Initially, retailers were reluctant to sign up for the project, called Boulevard at the Capital Centre, but in the past year demand increased, said David Cordish, chairman of Cordish. The project was set at 125,000 square feet two years ago and now has more than doubled. Forty tenants have committed, including anchors Borders Books and Music, Linens 'n' Things and Pier 1 Imports.

"It took on momentum of its own, Cordish said. "Each time we add a tenant it's much easier. . . . Prince George's will have the meeting place it's sorely lacking."

Last week Cordish announced that Nick & Tony's, an upscale steak house, and Red Star Tavern, an indoor-outdoor American restaurant, had joined the list of retailers there.

-- Krissah Williams


Systems Integration Wins Contract

Systems Integration Inc. of Landover was awarded a $1.58 million contract to provide services and personnel for the Transportation Security Administration's consumer response center, said James M. Loy, acting undersecretary for security.

Although the TSA has awarded several contracts to small businesses, this is the largest contract in dollars and complexity to go to a small business as a prime contractor for TSA, the agency said. The 15-month contract carries an option for a 12-month extension at a cost of $1.31 million.

The center was set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to respond to public comments, suggestions and questions. The center receives about 2,000 phone calls, 2,500 e-mail messages, and 200 letters and faxes each week. Several companies submitted proposals to the TSA, and Systems Integration emerged as the company providing the best value to the government, TSA said.

The center receives calls from the public on issues that include transportation security, inappropriate security screening, and items missing or damaged after screening.

-- Krissah Williams


Bringing in Biotech Jobs

Most biotechnology firms in the Washington area are in Montgomery County. But Fairfax County is trying to make inroads, now that many Fairfax tech firms are gone or a shadow of their former selves from just a couple of years ago. The county now is trying to expand its job base.

To that end, Gerald L. Gordon, president and chief executive of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, earlier this month visited bioscience companies, incubators, science parks and economic development officials in Germany and England, the agency's first marketing trip solely targeted at bioscience ventures.

"Germany and the United Kingdom are two of the premier bioscience centers around the world, and there are lots of great opportunities in both places that Fairfax County can take advantage of as we promote the county as a location for foreign-owned bioscience companies," Gordon said.

The trip, as is the case with most such ventures, did not immediately yield any new firms for Fairfax, but Gordon and the agency said they are hopeful the contacts might prove fruitful down the road.

-- Kenneth Bredemeier


Beaumeade Tech Campus Is Sold

Nottingham Properties Inc. of Towson bought the two-building Beaumeade Technology Campus in Ashburn, its first property in Northern Virginia. Terms of the deal were not disclosed

The campus is on 12 acres in Beaumeade Corporate Park, off Loudoun County Parkway less than a mile from Route 28 and Waxpool Road. The two one-story buildings total 132,240 square feet. Nottingham plans to lease the space.

-- Amy Joyce