- October 27, 2021
- Press Releases
Merritt Properties Completes Renovation of Loudoun Tech 10 in Dulles, VA
Amenitized Office Building Attracts Local Start-Up Sassy Woof
Merritt Properties announced today that it has completed its renovation of Loudoun Tech 10. The project includes the addition of extensive building amenities in alignment with current workplace trends where employers are seeking office environments that will help them attract and retain top-tier talent in a highly competitive hiring market. Local start-up Sassy Woof has signed on as the building’s first tenant.
Located along Route 7 in Dulles, Virginia, Loudoun Tech 10 is a two-story, 60,178-square-foot office building located within Merritt’s Loudoun Tech corporate campus. The building had long been occupied by a full-building user who consolidated operations in 2019 and vacated. Merritt then began strategic redevelopment plans to renovate and reposition the building to better serve emerging tenant requirements.
“An empty building afforded us the opportunity to research current trends in office development across the country, as well as the specific needs of the local business community,” said Michael Larkin, director of Merritt’s Virginia office. “Attracting and retaining top-notch talent is clearly a significant challenge among employers, so building amenities that enhance the daily work experience are additional incentives that our tenants can offer to candidates.”
Pre-COVID, millennials were surging into the workforce, drawn to corporate environments that supported wellness, community and social connection. According to a report published earlier this year by Gensler, “Many agree that collaborative environments, fluid locations, access to outdoors, proximity to food & beverage, and healthy enjoyable experiences will drive talent attraction, retention, and well-being.”
COVID, however, has placed new pressures on employers to find ways to entice workers to return to the office after months of being able to work from home. Hospitality- and wellness-oriented amenities will be key differentiators as companies compare office space options. While many employees are anxious to reconnect socially, they are also hesitant to forego the work-life balance they found while working from home. As reported by NAIOP in its most recent issue of Development Magazine, “Personalized service and convenience offerings will also increase because people got used to the ability to work and take care of personal business at the same time.”
In response to these trends, Merritt chose to renovate the common areas at Loudoun Tech 10 and amenitize the building with a new community lounge with kitchenette and seating areas, a fitness center, on-site events and services, professional development programming, and food trucks. Building employees will also have access to Merge by Merritt, the developer’s custom mobile app that allows tenants to reserve rooms, register for events, access virtual classes, enter contests and connect to concierge services.
With renovations completed earlier this month, leasing activity has been steady with interest from a wide variety of industries, including marketing firms, medical providers and government contractors. Local start-up company Sassy Woof signed on as the building’s first tenant, opening their new company headquarters in 5,400 SF of the first floor.
Founded in 2018 by Christine Chang, Sassy Woof focuses on delivering classic, modern, and affordable products to pet lovers everywhere. Chang started out of her basement with just six collections and the brand experienced rapid growth soon after launch. Over the past three years, driven partially by the explosion of ecommerce and pet ownership during the pandemic, Sassy Woof is now an international brand that can be found in over 500 small boutiques throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Their products can also be found in over 1,300 PetSmart stores in the U.S. and Canada and on PetSmart.com.
Chang, a former healthcare executive, transitioned into the pet retail world as a result of her petfluencer and “Sassy Woof Boss” Maya who has over 240,000 followers under her Instagram tag @mayathedox. Maya needed to be continually camera-ready, and Chang struggled to find quality, stylish accessories for her pet, which led her to create the Sassy Woof line of products.
The new headquarters at Loudoun Tech 10 have allowed Sassy Woof the flexibility to fulfill orders, as well as create the social media content that has driven the company’s success, all in-house. With colorful paint schemes, lots of daylight and a variety of spaces indoors and out, Sassy Woof is able to stage a wide array of photo shoot sets within the space.
“Our team is really enjoying being part of the Merritt family,” says Chang. “And, efficiency has increased by 2 or 3 times since our move.”
Chang has also focused on engaging her company in social enterprise efforts, supporting women across the globe in establishing affiliate companies in their countries, often staking these women with their initial order. All of the women in the affiliate program have successfully established their businesses and continue to grow in countries such as Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Italy, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
“It has been really rewarding to support the growth of a local company that has, in turn, seeded women-owned businesses here in the United States and internationally,” explains Merritt’s Shaelyn Mullaney, who is leading the leasing efforts for Loudoun Tech 10. “We are looking forward to her continuing story with Merritt.”