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It’s official: Intelsat will move U.S. headquarters to Fairfax County

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Christmas came early for Fairfax County Monday when Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that Intelsat ― the world’s leading provider of satellite services ― plans to move its U.S. headquarters from Washington, D.C., to a new office tower at Tysons Corner Center in Fairfax County. The relocation, in mid-2014, will move 430 employees to Virginia.

Several news organizations reported last week that Intelsat was expected to close a deal to become the anchor tenant in what now is largely a speculative project. Intelsat signed a 15-year agreement to lease about 188,000 square feet at Tysons Tower, or about 37 percent of the 524,000-square-foot building, with an option to expand to 50 percent.  The 20-story office building is under construction by Macerich, the owner and master deveoper of Tysons Corner Center along with the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.

The new skyscraper is adjacent to the Tysons Corner Metro station, scheduled to open in December 2013.  Intelsat’s decision marks the first major announcement of a company locating in a building near one of the four Metro stations due to open in Tysons on Metro’s Silver Line.

The timing couldn’t be better as Fairfax girds for reductions in federal spending.  “It gives us great pride to have Fairfax County chosen as the new home for Intelsat’s U.S. headquarters,” Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), said in a statement. 

Gordon noted that Intelsat will broaden Fairfax County’s economic base. “Intelsat’s leadership role in the satellite industry gives Fairfax County strength in yet another commercial sector,” he said. “As the Washington region’s business community prepares for reductions in federal procurement, Intelsat, with its rich history of technical leadership and commercial innovation, represents an important diversification of and stabilization for the Fairfax County economy in the future.”

Tysons Tower will be located at 7900 Tysons One Place in McLean. The building will be one of three towers that comprise a 1.4 million square-foot, mixed-use (office, hotel and residential) expansion that’s currently underway. The three towers will be connected by a skywalk bridge plaza, a short walk from the planned Tysons Corner Metro station.

Intelsat will occupy the 14th to 20th floors of what will be the tallest building in Tysons Corner. The company, based out of Luxembourg, plans to remain in its current Washington D.C. location until it moves to Fairfax County.

“In selecting a new location, we sought an environment that reflects the innovative and dynamic nature of our industry,” Intelsat CEO David McGlade said in a statement. “Given our highly skilled work force and global presence, our requirements warranted a modern and collaborative workspace with access to well-educated professionals, a first-class transportation system and compelling amenities.” 

In remarks during a press conference at Tysons Corner Center, McDonnell welcomed Intelstat to Virginia. “Adding an industry leader such as Intelsat, with its rich and storied history, to the roster of companies doing business in Virginia is a testament to the strong business climate that we are focused on continually improving,” he said.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) to secure the project for Virginia. McDonnell approved a $1.3 million grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Fairfax with the project. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment, training and retraining activities.


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