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Northrop Grumman discusses headquarters move with Md. leaders

Two top executives from Northrop Grumman, which announced plans last month to move its headquarters to the Washington region, spent more than an hour in the State House in Annapolis on Friday, meeting with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and legislative leaders.

Maryland, Virginia and the District are all vying to host the defense contractor, which is planning to relocate from Los Angeles.

Maryland still appears to be in the game, as potential locations were discussed Friday including National Harbor, the Gaithersburg-Rockville area and College Park, according House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), who sat in for part of the meeting.

The Northrop Grumman representatives were Wes Bush, the company's new chief executive and president; and Gaston Kent, vice president of finance.

"We've put forth our offer, and we're working very closely with them," said O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec. "We're obviously very hopeful."

UPDATE: Our colleague Anita Kumar reports in the Virginia Politics blog that Bush also visited Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) Friday in Richmond.

Adamec would not disclose the contents of the state's offer but said O'Malley asked Democratic legislative leaders to attend part of the meeting to show a unified front. The budget impact of an incentive package could require legislative approval, Adamec said.

The Northrop Grumman officials were spotted walking through the halls of the State House Friday afternoon with O'Malley, Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert). Also with them was Christian S. Johansson, O'Malley's secretary of business and economic development.

O'Malley, who had just returned from surveying the snowstorm's impact in Western Maryland, was clad in a camouflage hunting jacket and boots.

Following the meeting in the governor's office, O'Malley asked Miller, a history buff, to show the Northrop Grumman officials the historic Old Senate Chamber in the State House, Adamec said.

Busch said he is "hopeful" that an incentive package, along with the defense giant's deep ties to Johns Hopkins University and federal facilities in the state, would provide the nexus needed to beat out competing efforts by Virginia and the District.

Two sources with knowledge of Northrop Grumman's site-selection process told The Post last week that company executives are looking at a June 2011 move-in date to an existing facility for about 150 employees. Four sites are being considered in Fairfax County and one in Arlington County, the sources said.

Northrop Grumman spokesman Randy Belote last week said a selection had not been made, saying the company has yet to receive formal proposals from officials in any of the three jurisdictions.

-- John Wagner and Aaron C. Davis

By John Wagner  |  February 12, 2010; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , General Assembly , Governor , John Wagner  
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Highly doubtful Northrop will choose maryland

Posted by: | February 12, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

College Park. Metro, beltway, I-95, NASA Goddard, University of Maryland, M-Square.

Posted by: PrinceGeorges | February 12, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Put it in PG. they can't plow streets, but so what, welathy blacks, sleazy pols, great place.

Posted by: VikingRider | February 13, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Let's see ... corporate tax rate in MD is 8.25% and only 5.5% in VA. MD has a projected $8 billion deficit over the next four years with a Legislature that will probably implement another "largest tax increase in state history" after the 2010 elections. In addition, the MD Legislature has tax and spend addiction, and they treat businesses like ATM machines. Maryland doesn't have a chance to win Northrop Grumman's affection to relocate in our borders and bring much-needed jobs.

Posted by: SteveWhisler | February 13, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

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