Northrop Grumman chooses Fairfax for new corporate office

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires

Northrop Grumman Corp. announced Monday that it has signed an agreement to purchase an office building in Fairfax County as the new location for its global headquarters.

The decision to buy a 14-story, hexagonal-shaped tower at 2980 Fairview Park Drive near Falls Church ends weeks of conjecture by the region’s commercial real estate community on whether the Los Angeles-based defense giant would buy or lease. It had narrowed its choices to two buildings in Fairview Park and a building on Glebe Road in Arlington owned by the JBG Cos.

Noting that the deal has not closed, Northrop Grumman spokesman Randy Belote declined to disclose the purchase price. He did say the 334,000-square-foot office, located off Route 50 and the I-495 Beltway, offered “the total package,” a determining factor in why Northrop Grumman opted to buy.

“It offers a good location, proximity to our customer set, it was available, and it requires very little modification,” Belote said.

Owned by ING Clarion, the office tower was built in 1991 and most recently has been the home of a Verizon regional headquarters.
Belote said Northrop Grumman expects to settle on the property soon. The timetable for moving about 300 employees into the new headquarters is summer 2011.  Located in a suburban office park with a 20-acre lake, the office is less than two miles from the Dunn Loring metro station. It offers covered parking and is close to shopping, restaurants, hotels and the Washington Dulles International Airport. 

Northrop Grumman is one of the Washington region’s largest employers, with about 40,000 workers.  It decided in April to come to Virginia, following a heated competition between Maryland and D. C. for the corporate headquarters. Although it hoped to finalize its decision by late May, final site selection and negotiations took longer than expected.

Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, was elated by the company’s decision.
“This is the fifth big headquarters location for Fairfax County over the past few years,” said Gordon.  “I think that says there’s a momentum going on here, and the corporate community is taking notice so that other major corporations looking for a headquarters facility will at least give us a consideration.” 

To clinch the deal for Virginia, the state is offering incentives of about $13 million based on a $24 million investment by Northrop Grumman. That includes $3 million from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund and a $10 million Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant. Plus, Northrop Grumman is eligible to receive a Major Business Facilities Jobs Tax Credit, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.  The average annual salary for the 300 new jobs expected to be created is $200,000.

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