South of Downtown Washington, D.C. across the Potomac River, we find Crystal City, an Arlington County “urban village” lined by high-rise residential complexes, office buildings, towering hotels and a host of shops and restaurants. In transportation terms, Crystal City enjoys an advantageous situation, located a short car ride from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Virginia Railways Express Station, and also accessible via the yellow and blue lines of the Metropolitan Washington Metro Rail System, local expressways such as Jefferson Davis Highway, and the famous cyclist commuter lane, the Mount Vernon Trail.
Historically, Crystal City’s proximity to the nation’s capital has lent itself well to the establishment of large federal government tenants locally, e.g. the U.S. Department of Labor, the EPA, the U.S. Marshals Service all occupy a large swath of office space here. But more recently, Crystal City has undergone an economic transformation into a regional technology hub, attracting tech startups by creating a vibrant urban ecosystem of the future. The chief impetus here is Crystal City’s federal neighbor who has a host of technological needs and innovation demand that local startups focus on servicing. For instance, Sandboxx – a social network for veterans – moved from Greenwich, CT to be closer to the government. Likewise, 540.co’s business model is predicated on helping the Federal government reduce its technology costs via smart data management. Incubators and shared workspaces such as 1776, Eastern Foundry, Techshop, and WeWork – to name a few –