After 10 years, disability services nonprofit relocates Merrifield HQ

Inside Venture X’s coworking space in Merrifield (courtesy Venture X)

Like many organizations, The Arc of Northern Virginia is rethinking its approach to office work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The local chapter of the national nonprofit, which provides services and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will move its headquarters to the recently opened Venture X coworking space at 3060 Williams Drive in Merrifield.

The new address will be effective starting Aug. 7.

With the lease for its current base at 2755 Hartland Road set to expire after 10 years, The Arc says the new space in Venture X will be more flexible and cost-effective. Many of its 28 employees have adopted hybrid schedules, working partly at the office and partly at home or other remote locations.

“The pandemic-related shutdown, the option of web-based and technology driven programming, and the wide adoption of more flexible on-site work requirements made us look seriously at how much office space we really needed,” The Arc of Northern Virginia Executive Director Melissa Heifetz said. “Our new office not only reflects the societal changes in the workplace, I’m confident it will help us attract and retain a dedicated workforce.”

Heifetz added that the relocation won’t affect “the high quality of programming and services” that the nonprofit offers to over 39,000 individuals across Northern Virginia.

Founded in 1962, The Arc helps people with disabilities and their families navigate social services, serves as an advocate on local, state and federal issues that affect the disability community, and provides resources to both caregivers and clients seeking to live more independently.

The organization’s Northern Virginia chapter isn’t the only employer pursuing smaller or more flexible office space.

Fueled by the pandemic, the trend toward remote and hybrid work schedules among white-collar employees has upended the office market, leading to lower demand and increased vacancy rates nationwide.

Some commercial property owners have responded by adding more amenities, while many developers have sought to replace or swap office space with housing and other uses. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal last month to convert the former Inova headquarters in Merrifield — less than a mile away from The Arc’s new base.