Arlington County Board members have approved a partnership that will allow the non-profit Arlington Independent Media (AIM) to expand its footprint in the community by using space at a county-owned facility at 3700 South Four Mile Run Drive.
“Team AIM is excited to bring community media to South Arlington, we look forward to connecting with the local community, meeting residents and business owners, and more,” said Whytni Kernodle, who was tapped to head Arlington Independent Media after the organization dealt with budget and other challenges both before COVID and during the pandemic era.
In addition to expanding the work of Arlington Independent Media – which has cable-television, radio and online operations based in Clarendon – to South Arlington residents, “the partnership also furthers the goals and vision for a thriving ‘arts and industry’ [area]” in the Four Mile Run corridor, County Board Chairman Katie Cristol said.
Constructed as a Pepsi-Cola bottling plant in the mid-1940s, the building at 3700 Four Mile Run Drive later served as WETA’s radio-broadcast facility. When the county government acquired the facility in the early 2000s to provide theater and gallery spaces, three soundproof studio spaces were preserved and have been used occasionally for both government and independent projects.
“This new partnership is an ideal opportunity to activate these purpose-built studios through AIM’s production and outreach activities,” county officials said.
In addition to access to the studios, AIM will occupy several offices and storage spaces that, all combined, total just under 1,100 square feet, as well as having three parking spaces. The organization will pay annual rent at a rate of $20 per square foot initially, with 2-percent annual increases, although the agreement permits AIM to withhold rent payments for up to six months each year if encountering financial hardships. Any such deferral would require county-government approval and would have to be paid later, with interest.
The contract term runs for five years, with extensions for up to an additional 20 years. AIM can terminate the contract with a one-month notice to the county government; the county government can vacate it with a three-month notice to AIM.