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Consulting firm Technomics adding 150 jobs in Arlington in HQ expansion

Amazon will bring more than 25,000 workers to the region as it opens its new headquarters. Experts weigh in on how this could impact gentrification and jobs. (Video: Hadley Green/The Washington Post, Photo: Jackie Lay/The Washington Post)

The defense consulting firm Technomics is adding 150 new jobs in Arlington, its executives announced Wednesday, further growing its presence in a slice of Northern Virginia that is increasingly fashioning itself as a hub for the tech and aerospace industries.

While the employee-owned firm already has been based out of the Crystal City neighborhood for two decades, it joins major defense contractors Boeing and Raytheon in further committing its corporate identity to this D.C. suburb.

Both of those companies moved their headquarters to Arlington earlier this year, putting them a stone’s throw from the Pentagon — and seemingly cementing the area’s ties to the defense sector, analysts said.

Yet an expansion from the much smaller Technomics is poised to bring what those better-known heavyweights have not been able to provide so far: more jobs that can fill Arlington’s increasingly empty office space.

Expansion is a commitment. It’s a commitment that we are going to fill up more space with more people, more people that we’re going to pay, and therefore we need more clients in order to support them,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) said at a Tuesday ceremony announcing the expansion at the Technomics offices on South Clark Street. “That is a step of faith.”

Technomics, which employs about 225 people in Arlington, had previously occupied 30,000 square feet in the South Clark Street building, which is managed by JBG Smith, the primary landowner in the area.

The firm’s expansion includes 10,000 additional square feet there that Youngkin toured on Tuesday, plus another 10,000 square feet that Technomics CEO Al Leung said the company was actively searching for.

The company stands to receive up to $105,000 in economic incentives from Virginia for the 150 jobs it plans to add in Arlington through the state’s discretionary Jobs Incentives Program. These pay-as-you-go incentives are meant to help companies expand or retrain their workers.

Leung, who presented a blue Technomics vest to Youngkin during the ceremony, said the company was taking a bold step given predictions about a coming recession.

But “rather than hunkering down and playing it safe,” he said, “we’re leaning forward.”

About 20.8 percent of all office space in Arlington was empty in the second quarter of 2022, according to the county’s economic development office, marking a steady increase since the coronavirus pandemic emptied out downtowns in 2020.

Residential and office towers have continued to go up in the surrounding neighborhood as many companies shift to remote and hybrid work. (Those buildings include the planned second headquarters for Amazon, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post.)

The county depends on commercial properties to generate about half of its overall tax revenue. But the arrival of major defense contractors has not reversed the trend of office buildings emptying out during the coronavirus pandemic.

Boeing said its decision to shift its headquarters to Virginia has not created any jobs at its facility in Crystal City. Raytheon, too, has said there would be no “net increase” in positions as the company’s top executives moved from Massachusetts to existing office space in Rosslyn.

Questions about office space have also hovered over Amazon, which recently announced a wave of corporate layoffs around the country — even as it nears completion on two 22-story towers with more than 2 million square feet as part of its second corporate headquarters.

The e-commerce giant has said it would be bringing in at least 25,000 jobs to these and other new offices in Arlington by 2030. Company executives have so far offered no indication of those plans changing.

Amazon most recently said in April that it had 5,000 employees based in Arlington, keeping it just ahead of the hiring schedule necessary to receive economic incentives from Virginia. State officials do not owe those annual payments to Amazon until fiscal year 2024 at the earliest.

The company stands to receive up to $573 million in subsidies from local and state governments if it meets its hiring and office space occupancy targets, or as much as $773 million if it exceeds them.