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Appian announces a headquarters expansion to Tysons that will add 600 jobs

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Print this page By Paula C. Squires
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Appian, a fast-growing vendor of business process management software, announced Tuesday it will move into the former Gannett Co. headquarters building at Tysons in a headquarters expansion that will retain 600 existing jobs in Virginia and create 600 new jobs over the next five years.

During an announcement with Gov. Ralph Northam and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority at the new building, Appian revealed plans to invest $28.4 million in what will be its first corporate campus, integrating all of its offices and people under one roof.  Building owner Tamares Group and representatives of CBRE also joined the governor for the event. Tamares recently completed a multimillion dollar redesign of the building while CBRE served as the broker representing Tamares in the transaction.

Appian CEO Matt Calkins said in an interview with Virginia Business that it has signed a long-term lease for 200,000 square feet at Valo Park, a two-building complex at 7950 Jones Branch Drive in McLean. Appian will be the anchor tenant on the top floors of the Southern Building, and it also will have rights to space on the top floors of the Northern Building for future expansion.

“There are some great things about Reston, but we’ve been split between two and three buildings in the town center, and that’s a bit of a disadvantage. Our lease is running out … and so we had to find a new home,” Calkins said.

The CEO added that he was attracted to Tysons because of its central location, public transit and amenities that he said will give his company and employees a “real campus. There’s tennis courts, basketball, a cafeteria, a field, a lake, a running path. We just had slices of buildings in Reston Town Center.  This will be the first building that we will feel like is our building, and it will bring us together. ‘’ Appian plans to move to the new location in the second quarter of 2019.

Designed by architect Kohn Pedersen Fox, Valo Park comprises 785,000 square feet of trophy office space and tenant amenities including conference facilities, a 20,000-square-foot fitness facility and a 300-seat auditorium. Tenants also have access to a newly renovated lobby restaurant and coffee bar and a full-service eatery. Additionally Valo Park’s 16-acre campus includes gardens, outdoor picnic areas and art installations.

“Appian’s major headquarters expansion and the overall impact of 1,200 valuable jobs is an important win for Northern Virginia, the commonwealth, and our booming IT sector,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement.  “We are proud this innovative tech leader will remain on Virginia’s headquarters roster, and we thank Appian for its significant investment and corporate partnership.”

Appian’s expansion follows one of the most successful IPOs of 2017. The company debuted on the NASDAQ on May 25, 2017, with a $75 million filing. It sold 6.25 million shares at $12 each, with the shares closing 25 percent higher by the end of the market’s close at just over $15 a share. Today Appian’s stock is selling for $26.44, and it has been as high as $43.26.  

The company currently employs 1,000 people, including 600 who work in Northern Virginia. It plans to add 600 more jobs in Virginia to meet what Calkins said is a growing demand for the company’s software development platform. 

Founded in 1999 in a Northern Virginia apartment, Appian designs a platform that enables other companies to customize and create their own individual software programs. “We’re selling something that companies everywhere are scrambling to buy,” Calkins said. “We’re seeing a lot of growth just doing what we do … Appian is the world’s easiest way to make sophisticated, unique software.” 
The company’s customers include companies such as Sprint, Cigna, Barclays, Edward Jones and several federal agencies. 

Virginia competed against Atlanta and Raleigh for Appian’s expansion. According to Calkins, the incentive bids from these cities were higher than Virginia’s. “The bids were substantially more than what Virginia put forward. However, I didn’t want to go anywhere. I’m flattered by the outreach, but I wanted to stay in Virginia.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Fairfax’s Economic Development Authority to secure the project for Virginia. Gov. Northam approved a $4 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the county with the project. Funding and services to support the company's employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

Fairfax County also plans to accelerate $4 million in infrastructure improvements for a road project near Tysons that Calkins said would benefit all tenants in addition to Appian.

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