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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Business & Finance"

New Audi-only car rental comes to Dulles

WASHINGTON — There is a new addition to the rental car choices at Dulles International Airport, and this one rents only Audis.

Silvercar, acquired by Audi in 2017, is an entirely mobile app-based rental company. There’s no paperwork to sign and customers unlock cars with their phones.

The company has doubled down on plans to expand its airport footprint and has opened at a total of six new airport locations in recent months. It can be found at a total of 22 airport and non-airport U.S. locations.

Silvercar rents only two vehicles — the Audi A4 sedan and the Q5 SUV.

It also sets itself apart from other car rental companies with no fuel upcharges, no mileage restrictions and no additional fees for toll charges. There are also no fees for add-ons like “luxury” Peg Perego car seats and ski racks.

Daily prices start at $59 for the A4 and $79 for the Q5.

Why pick Dulles for its wave of expansion?

“With more than 15 million annual visitors from around the world coming to see Washington, D.C.’s historical monuments, we could not be more excited to provide our customers with premium vehicle rental to experience all that DC has to offer,” said Silvercar COO, Chris Donus. “And we’re not stopping there, we’ll continue our explosive growth strategy to deliver a better customer experience for travelers across the US.”

The post New Audi-only car rental comes to Dulles appeared first on WTOP.

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Marriott volunteers build Silver Spring playground in a day

WASHINGTON — Bethesda-based Marriott International held its annual employee volunteer day this week, with 2,700 of its local employees volunteering on various project throughout the Washington metro area.

One of those projects included transforming an empty site in Silver Spring into a kid-designed, state-of-the-art playground — and they did it in just six hours.

The playground, at Park Montgomery, was a project tackled by volunteers from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, who worked with the Community Preservation and Development Corporation and nonprofit KaBOOM!, which helps communities build playgrounds.

Earlier this year, children from the surrounding community worked on a plan for the playground they wanted. The result is based off their drawings.

“This great project will provide the children at Park Montgomery much better access to a key factor for growing up healthy — a high-quality playground — and will boost our Community Impact Strategies, which provide our low-and moderate-income residents space and resources to create greater opportunities for their families,” said J. Michael Pitchfork, president of the Community Preservation and Development Corporation.

The Park Montgomery playground is the 12th playground Marriott volunteers and KaBOOM! have partnered to build.

Marriott’s volunteer day, called “Spirit to Serve Our Communities Day,” is part of its Associate Appreciation Week.

The post Marriott volunteers build Silver Spring playground in a day appeared first on WTOP.

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Ex-liquor board director sentenced in bribery scandal

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — The former director of a Maryland county’s liquor board has been sentenced for a bribery scheme, involving payoffs to politicians in exchange for help with legislation that would expand the county’s liquor sales.

The Washington Post reports former Prince George’s County Liquor Board official David Dae Sok Son was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison, followed by supervised release after pleading guilty to bribery, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He also was ordered to forfeit $86,000.

Son owned up to wrongdoings that included upending an ongoing investigation by tipping off others being scrutinized by the FBI. In addition to facilitating bribes to elected officials, Son also skimmed more than $86,000 in payments.

Former County Council member and Maryland delegate William Campos is among others who have pleaded guilty or were convicted in the investigation.


Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

The post Ex-liquor board director sentenced in bribery scandal appeared first on WTOP.

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Bluestone Lane, and its ‘Avocado Smash,’ come to Capitol Riverfront

WASHINGTON — Australian-influenced coffee and cafe chain Bluestone Lane will open its third D.C. location at Capitol Riverfront this fall.

The new location will be in developer Skanska’s 99M, a 234,000-square-foot office building at the corner of First and M Streets, SE. It will be part of the building’s 11,000 square feet of ground floor restaurant and retail space.

The New York-based Bluestone Lane has several dozen locations mostly in New York and California. Its other D.C. locations are in Georgetown and the West End.

In addition to its gourmet coffees, Bluestone Lane is popular with fans for its cold-pressed juices, organic teas and healthy breakfast items. Its signature dish, the “Classic Avocado Smash,” is served on multigrain toast with heirloom cherry tomatoes, feta, sunflower sprouts and olive oil.

“We are very excited to become a new local for the Capitol Riverfront community. We’ve had a lot of interest in Bluestone Lane from residents moving into the area, and 99M is the perfect fit for us,” said Nicholas Stone, founder and CEO of Bluestone Lane.

Bluestone Lane joins about 50 cafes and restaurants in the Capitol Riverfront area.

The post Bluestone Lane, and its ‘Avocado Smash,’ come to Capitol Riverfront appeared first on WTOP.

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Arlington’s newest farmers market: Arlington Forest

WASHINGTON — The Arlington County Board has given nonprofit Field to Table Inc. approval for a farmers market in the parking lot at Barrett Elementary school.

That brings the county’s various farmers markets to nearly a dozen.

The Lubber Run Farmers Market, at 4401 North Henderson Road, will be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. through November.

The Lubber Run Farmers Market, in Arlington’s Arlington Forest neighborhood, will have up to 20 vendors. It is within walking distance of both the Buckingham and Ballston neighborhoods.

“This farmers market is in a great location, in a school parking lot near the Lubber Run Community Center. We wish it success,” said Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol.

Field to Table runs several farmers markets in Arlington County, including the Westover Farmers Market, the Fairlington Farmers Market and the Marymount Farmers Market on Marymount University’s main campus.

The Arlington Mills Farmers Market on Columbia Pike opened earlier this month, the county’s 10th regularly scheduled market.

Arlington County residents can find at least one farmers market open almost every day of the week.

Others include Clarendon, Rosslyn, Ballston, at the Arlington Courthouse, and another on Columbia Pike at S. Walter Reed Drive.

The post Arlington’s newest farmers market: Arlington Forest appeared first on WTOP.

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‘Bio-center’ planned for downtown Bethesda

WASHINGTON — Developers StonebridgeCarras and the Donohoe Cos. will jointly develop a bio-center in downtown Bethesda, Maryland, to attract life sciences companies to the new co-locating facility.

The 175,000 square foot Bethesda Bio building will be developed at 8280 Wisconsin Avenue.

The building will focus its commercial space on bringing life sciences companies to the Bethesda Central Business District.

“The Bethesda Central Business District has continued to demonstrate its great success in attracting a wide range of companies to its premier mixed-use environment,” said Douglas Firstenberg, principal with StonebridgeCarras.

“It represents one of the most attractive untapped markets to locate life sciences near two world-class institutions — the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Medical Center,” Firstenberg said.

The purpose of the building will be to meet the need for premier lab space.

Already 75 percent of the commercial lab space in the D.C. region is located in Montgomery County’s I-270 corridor.

“One of the greatest challenges to continue the growth of Montgomery County’s outstanding Bio market is quantity and quality of commercial lab space,” said David Petr, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation.

“The development … allows Montgomery County to compete with other urban markets such as Cambridge in Boston and the East Bay in San Francisco to provide an urban option located next to the largest support and driver of bio research in the world at NIH.”

The developers have begun the approval process and expect to begin construction in the third quarter of 2019, with the building completed in the summer of 2021.

The post ‘Bio-center’ planned for downtown Bethesda appeared first on WTOP.

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Virginia tourism hit $25 billion in 2017

WASHINGTON — Tourism in Virginia continues booming.

The tourism industry, the state’s fifth-largest employer, reached $25 billion in revenue in 2017. That’s a 4.4 percent increase over 2016, according to new statewide data released Tuesday.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said tourism in Virginia supported 232,000 jobs last year, a 1.1 percent increase.

Overall, the industry provided $1.73 billion in state and local revenue, up 2.8 percent.

Domestic visitors spent $68 million a day in Virginia last year, the state said.

The tourism industry in Virginia was responsible for $5.9 billion in payroll income last year, up 4.8 percent from 2016.

“Our tourism industry is an important and vital component of economic growth and job creation in Virginia,” said Brian Ball, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “As the tourism sector continues to grow and new product is developed, our communities across the state become even more dynamic and vibrant.”

The Virginia Tourism Corporation is sticking to its “Virginia is for Lovers” marketing brand, which marks its 50th anniversary next year.

Virginia is for Lovers is the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country.

The post Virginia tourism hit $25 billion in 2017 appeared first on WTOP.

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Overtime pay balloons in local DC government

WASHINGTON — The amount of overtime that local D.C. government employees receive in their paychecks has been going up at a rapid pace in recent years, a new report found.

According to the Office of the D.C. Auditor, overtime spending in the District increased from $40.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to $108.2 million in fiscal year 2017.

Fiscal years run from October through July.

Over the course of the 2017 fiscal year, 41 employees more than doubled their annual salaries by working overtime, according to the report. Another 380 employees made at least 50 percent of their annual salaries in overtime.

The police department had the most overtime pay of any D.C. agency at $32.2 million followed by the fire department at $20.9 million.

“The use of employee overtime is a necessary tool for every government and especially important for public safety agencies,” said D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson. “However, this report’s recommendations would help minimize the use of overtime and save District taxpayer dollars.”

Those recommendations include stronger management, more specific regulatory guidance and improvements in policies and practices such as “conducting staffing needs assessments and making permanent hires where possible.”

The report found that insufficient permanent staff was a common cause for increased overtime.

For example, the inmate population in D.C. has been growing, going from 1,600 a few years ago to around 2,100 in 2017. That has led the local corrections department to create 60 recurring posts every day, using overtime, in order to ensure safety and security.

Auditors found that unauthorized staff absences also led to a lot of overtime use, requiring other staff to work more hours to fill necessary positions.

Four agencies were reviewed in the report, including the departments of corrections, public works, youth rehabilitation services and forensic sciences.

According to auditors, the four agencies have loose overtime policies and often do not comply with guidance from human resources on how to authorize it, creating a risk of waste and abuse.

The post Overtime pay balloons in local DC government appeared first on WTOP.

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The College Board expands Reston HQ, adds jobs

WASHINGTON — The College Board will keep its Reston Town Center headquarters, lease more space and hire additional employees after getting a grant from Virginia.

The nonprofit, founded in 1900 to broaden access to higher education, has more than 600 employees at its Reston headquarters, at 11955 Democracy Drive. It will lease an additional 74,000 square feet, and create 120 additional jobs.

Gov. Ralph Northam approved a $750,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund as part of the expansion.

Fairfax County has been on a headquarters expansion roll this year.

In March, MicroStrategy opted to stay in Tysons Corner and to add 300 jobs to its headquarters there.

Tysons-based software maker Cvent Inc. announced in April it would lease additional space to expand its Tysons headquarters and increase the size of its workforce by 35 percent, including the addition of hundreds of jobs in Washington.

Reston-based software maker Appian Corporation also announced in April it would keep its headquarters in Northern Virginia and add hundreds of jobs, by moving to the former Gannett Co. headquarters on Jones Branch Drive in McLean.

The post The College Board expands Reston HQ, adds jobs appeared first on WTOP.

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Lidl now delivers in Northern Virginia

WASHINGTON — Lidl, the Washington area’s newest discount grocer, now delivers in Northern Virginia.

Lidl has partnered with online grocery delivery company Shipt for home deliveries from Lidl stores in Ashburn, Manassas, Woodbridge and Fredericksburg.

The Shipt model is based on an annual membership fee with free delivery for orders over $35. The Shipt membership fee is normally $99 a year. It says new Shipt members who sign up for Lidl delivery in Northern Virginia will receive an annual membership for $49.

Through its partnership with Northern Virginia Lidl stores, shoppers can choose a one-hour delivery window, note preferences, and pay for their order, all within the Shipt app. Shipt’s shoppers select, bag and delver items.

Shipt is also hiring more shoppers in the area.

Rival Aldi notes on its website that home delivery is “coming soon” to the Washington area through a partnership with Shipt rival Instacart.

Lidl, which has thousands of stores in Europe, began its Washington area expansion last year and in 2015, picked Crystal City for its North American headquarters, where it employs more than 700. It also has distribution centers in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and Cecil County, Maryland.

Lidl has said it plans more than 100 stores on the East Coast eventually.

The post Lidl now delivers in Northern Virginia appeared first on WTOP.

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