Editor's note: This column marks the debut of a new feature in the Fairfax Extra that will expand coverage of the county's business activities.

Lots of Hoopla

Former Black Entertainment Television executive Curtis Symonds has broken ground on Fairfax County's first for-profit basketball complex: Hoops Magic, a $5.3 million, 65,000-square-foot facility being built on Murdock Street in Chantilly.

"The idea behind the building is to get young kids off the street," said the McLean resident, who coaches a team in the Fairfax Stars AAU basketball league.

The idea might also be simple market supply and demand, given the rapidly growing county's appetite for indoor recreation space. "We have too many kids and too many adults that want to play, and we don't have enough facilities," said Karen Avvisato with the county's community and recreation services department. Avvisato said the county has had to reduce court time for leagues such as the Fairfax Stars, forcing groups to look to non-public facilities.

Symonds's privately run complex will include a college-size basketball court and six high-school-size basketball courts. The rec center will offer volleyball, taekwondo, wrestling, and other athletic activities.

Hoop Magic will charge a daily user fee, which will probably be around $9 or $10, Symonds estimated. Monthly and semiannual passes will also be sold. Symonds also plans to sell naming rights on a few of the courts.

In financing the facility, Symonds has gotten a little help from his cable TV friends: He said that Cox Communications has agreed to help fund an education room. He also said that he has gotten financial commitments from Coca-Cola and Salamander Farm, the Middleburg estate owned by BET co-founder Sheila Johnson.

Symonds said that the Fairfax location near Dulles International Airport will draw ball players from throughout the area, including Loudoun County and the District of Columbia. "If there's good basketball, kids will find the gym," he said.

Giving Fairfax a Little Seoul

Given the county's diverse and robust economy, the county Economic Development Authority can't do it all from its headquarters in Vienna. So the county's economic boosters have recently opened a satellite office: in Seoul.

The overseas outpost is part of Fairfax's aggressive push to attract high-tech companies. Already 51 Korean companies have operations in Fairfax, including Samsung SDS, Korea Telecom and Korean Airlines. Plus, more than 40,000 people of Korean heritage live in the county, said Gerald L. Gordon, president of the economic development authority.

"This is almost a no-brainer," said Gordon. "We look at the world's markets that are really booming, and South Korea is one of those markets."

This isn't the first international mission for Fairfax's economic development gurus. The authority also has agents to market Fairfax County to foreign-based technology companies in London, Frankfurt, Tel Aviv and Bangalore, India.

And the authority has a domestic agenda to expand the county's booming technology and federal contracting business sectors, too: In the fall, the business group plans to woo high-tech companies right from the heart of Silicon Valley, with the opening of an office in the San Jose/Santa Clara area. The effort will mostly focus on companies looking to expand or enhance their presence on the East Coast, said Gordon.

Primary Business

Last Friday morning, Virginia Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine said that pro-business Democrat was not a contradiction in terms. The gubernatorial hopeful didn't get any heckling: He was speaking to about 90 local business leaders assembled for a breakfast meeting of the Northern Virginia Democratic Business Council.

"I grew up in a small business household," he told the crowd.

Kaine pushed four agenda items: more funding for transportation, support for Virginia small business development, property tax relief and fiscal responsibility.

In the race to replace Kaine in Richmond, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce's political wing, the NOVABizPAC, has thrown its support behind Republican Sean Connaughton, who is currently chairman of the board of supervisors in neighboring Prince William County.

"He knows and understands the issues Northern Virginians deal with every day," explained Nancy Reed, vice president of government affairs for the chamber.

In local delegate races, the chamber's PAC has made contributions to Democrats Steve Shannon, Jim Scott and Brian Moran, and Republican Gary Reese.

Top of the Charts

Last month, Black Enterprise magazine listed six Fairfax County businesses to its top 100 list of African-American owned businesses. This month, in Hispanic Business magazine, eleven Fairfax businesses made the top 500 Latino-owned businesses list.

The companies and their rankings are: MVM Inc., Vienna (27); Geologics Corp., Alexandria (81); Kfoury Construction Group Inc., Reston (82); Tessada & Assoc., Newington (134); Priority One Services, Alexandria (143); BRTRC Inc., Fairfax (178); Preferred Systems Solutions, Fairfax (184); Kemron Environmental Services, Vienna (193); Engineering Management & Integration, Herndon (285); Cairo Corp., Chantilly (344); and Mac Aerospace Corp., Chantilly (455).


Have news about business in Fairfax County? Send an e-mail to silvermane@washpost.com or call 703-383-5103.