Refraction Eyes Larger Offices in Area to Accommodate Expansion

Reston-based Refraction is eyeing larger office space in the area in preparation for an expansion that will add 800 jobs in the next five years.

Currently located in Reston Town Center, Refraction plans to use a portion of the recent $1 million investment from Fairfax County toward securing new office space.

The county’s Board of Supervisors approved the use of the economic development funds yesterday (Nov. 20) for the company’s expansion.

Founded in 2014, Refraction (11911 Freedom Drive, Suite 850) is a coworking community for startups and high-growth companies. The “innovation hub” provides educational programs, along with networking and mentoring events. Currently, more than 55 companies are a part of the Refraction community.

Esther Lee, CEO of Refraction, said conversations about the move started a few months ago. Refraction wants to keep its Reston roots in order to strengthen the area’s “innovation ecosystem” by encouraging companies in its coworking space to stay and add new jobs.

A report by the Brookings Institution last year found that the D.C.-area has had the biggest loss of digital tech jobs in a five-year span compared to 50 other cities with large digital employment.

Lee called the report “alarming” and said she wants to see Refraction take an active role in boosting job growth in the region. “We want to grow the future Googles and Amazons of the world,” Lee said.

Refraction is looking to move to an office space in Reston that it roughly 25,000 square-feet in the next three to six months, she said, adding that finding a new location, receiving tenant approval and signing the lease all take time.

Refraction is working with Boston Properties to find another space in Reston Town Center.

The move to the larger space affects the launch of the Refraction’s apprenticeship program it is currently developing with the Northern Virginia Community College.

The apprenticeship, which is supported by the funding from the county, train workers for startups and high-growth companies. The goal is to launch the program early next year, Lee said.

“Lots of companies have a hard time hiring people with the right skill sets,” she said. “Many kids coming right out of college haven’t had startup experience.”

Photo via Refraction/Facebook

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Reston and Fairfax County Thanksgiving Closures

In case you were hoping to spend your Thanksgiving hanging out at government facilities around Fairfax, you may be out of luck. But on the bright side, all parking will be free at Metro facilities tomorrow.

The Metro will be running a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving day, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at midnight. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day and parking will be free at Metro facilities. Metrobus will also be operating on a Sunday schedule.

The Fairfax Connector will be running on a Sunday schedule for Thanksgiving Day. A full list of routes being run in the Reston area is available online. The day after Thanksgiving, the bus will run a holiday weekend schedule.

The Fairfax County Government offices will be closed tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday for Thanksgiving. Schools are closed today (Wednesday) through Friday.

The Reston Community Center will be open tomorrow from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and open on Friday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center will be open from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. tomorrow and 6 a.m.-9p.m. on Friday. The Reston Community Center Lake Anne will be closed both days.

Fairfax Libraries and Courts will also be closed tomorrow and Friday. The Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center and Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will also be closed.

The Recycling and Disposal Centers will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but both locations will be open on Friday if you have a substantial amount of post-holiday disposal to go through.

Photo via Flickr/Olin Gilbert

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Pet of the Week: Cheeto

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Cheeto, a tabby & domestic short hair mix kitten available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Little Buddies Adoption and Humane Society have to say about him:

Cheeto is a delightful young cat. He is full of affection and love.

He is quite the lap cat. His antics at play time will bring a smile to your face.

Cheeto was rescued from the outdoors. He gets along well with dogs and children. He will be about 4 months old the end of November.

(Note: Little Buddies has adoption events every Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at Pet Valu in the North Point Village Shopping Center.)

Are you and Cheeto a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Updated: Fairfax County Holds Hearing on Roland Clarke Redevelopment

(Editor’s note: This story was updated Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 1 p.m. to correct information from a Fairfax County press release that incorrectly said the Board of Supervisors approved the project on Nov. 20. The board held a public hearing and decided to defer a decision on the redevelopment until their Dec. 4 meeting.)

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on yesterday on Woodfield Acquisitions’ redevelopment of Roland Clarke Place.

The hearing came days after the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved a series of proffers for the redevelopment last Thursday (Nov. 15). The county’s board is set to make a decision on the redevelopment at their meeting on Dec. 4.

The development would replace a vacant, two-story office building at 1941 Roland Clarke Place with a 308-unit residential complex just south of the Dulles Toll Road.

The seven-story apartment building would be about a mile between the Wiehle-Reston East and Reston Town Center Metro stations. Plans for the building include two interior courtyards, an outdoor pool, seating on a third-floor patio and a 409-space, eight-level parking garage behind the building. About one-third of the new development is slated to remain as open space.

The existing office buildings on the site were constructed in the early 1980s. In 2008, the redevelopment of the buildings was planned into three new office buildings, but the plan was never implemented.

Nearby, two other residential developments are happening along Sunrise Valley Drive. On the east side of Roland Clarke Place, Sekas Homes is building a townhouse community. On the west side, Toll Brothers is adding 54 townhouses in its Valley and Park development.

Photos via Fairfax County Government

This story has been updated

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Del. Ken Plum: Happy Thanksgiving 2018

This is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Festivals of Thanksgiving have been celebrated throughout history with most centered around a time of harvest of food. Communities came together to support each other in the work of harvesting crops and to celebrate together the bounty of the fields. Early forms of religion gave significance to the harvesting process and to the gifts of their gods in providing sustenance to the people.

The official holiday of Thanksgiving as celebrated in America today has little resemblance to the early feasts. There are certainly foods that are associated with the holiday, but the attention to Thanksgiving today is divided among consumer sales specials, football games, and a prelude to the bigger holidays that follow later in the year.

President George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation to bring attention to the blessings the new country enjoyed. President Thomas Jefferson did not follow through probably believing it was too much like a religious act with which the government should not be involved. It was not until President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation to bring attention to the blessings the country had even during the Civil War that the tradition was revived and continues with some small tweaks to today.

The tradition of celebrating the harvest as a custom continued in many cultures and communities apart from the government naming it a holiday. The Commonwealth of Virginia celebrating its red-letter year of 1619 when the first representative assembly met in the new world and women and Africans were brought to the Virginia colony also points out that in 1619 an act of Thanksgiving took place at Berkeley Plantation on the James River when a new group of colonizers arrived. For many, what happened at Berkeley was the first English Thanksgiving in America and should be recognized as such. After all, the English on the James River in Virginia were celebrating a Thanksgiving before the Puritans left England for Massachusetts.

To learn more about Virginia’s plans to celebrate the “first” Thanksgiving and the other very significant events in a quadricentennial celebration of 1619, visit americanevolution2019.com.

Recognizing the long and multi-faceted celebrations of Thanksgiving, how can we cut through the commercialism of the holiday and give it meaning in today’s complex world? There is much that causes me and others a great deal of distress from our government’s loss of a moral compass to the rise in acts of hate to the hunger and poverty around the world. Within that, however, there are many wonderful people doing great deeds and communities of diverse people living together and looking out for each other in harmony and mutual respect.

Sharing foods as part of the tradition of Thanksgiving is good but should not be the end result. Thanksgiving offers a time for reflection. It can be less a time of acquiring or wishing for what we don’t have and more a time of appreciating what we do have. Find time to be grateful today. I am thankful for you!

File photo

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Crafthouse Donates Part of Bottled Beer Sales to California Wildfire Aid

Crafthouse, a Northern Virginia-focused eatery, is helping families affected by the wildfires in California.

The three Crafthouse locations in Fairfax, Reston and Arlington will donate 10 percent of all bottled beer purchases to the American Red Cross, which has a fund set up for California wildfire aid.

Two wildfires burning across California this month have claimed at least 84 lives, and one of the fires is now the deadliest and most destructive one in the state’s history, according to news reports.

The restaurant posted on Facebook that the donations started last Thursday (Nov. 15) and will continue through Dec. 15.

Owner Evan Matz told Reston Now he got the idea after watching the news. “I felt so bad, and I wanted to be able to do something,” he said.

Matz said he has family near Calabasas, Calif. — they’re safe– and knows firsthand the displacement and destruction caused by natural disasters. He said his family had to move temporarily when Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 hurricane that struck the Bahamas, Florida and Louisiana, hit in 1992.

Patrons have started expressing support for the donations, Matz said. “Instead of the draft beer, they buy the bottles instead,” he said.

Crafthouse’s Reston spot is at 1888 Explorer Street.

Photos via Crafthouse/Facebook

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Wegmans cements deal in Reston Crescent project — The supermarket chain will set up shop by Reston Parkway. [Washington Business Journal]

Try out American mahjong — Drop in to try out the game using tiles instead of cards for free at the Reston Community Center. [Reston Community Center]

“Green is the Secret Color to Make Gold” — There are only a few days left to see the photography exhibition by Caitlin Teal Price. [Greater Reston Arts Center]

Keep an eye on the Metrorail’s schedule — Riders can expect reduced hours and track work tomorrow and over the weekend. [WTOP]

Photo by Bill Burton

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