Following more lobbying on corporate jet, Northrop's site decision expected in days
Defense contractor Northrop Grumman's long-awaited decision on where it will relocate its corporate headquarters -- in Arlington or Fairfax counties -- is expected by early next week but where it will choose, local elected officials say, is anyone's guess.
Northrop Grumman officials chose Northern Virginia in April over neighboring Maryland and the District after a 100-day bidding war broke out among localities across the region.
But in an unusual move, Northrop did not specify which site -- the North Glebe Road office park in Arlington or the Fairview Park complex in Falls Church -- it would ultimately decide on. A final, final decision, officials say, would come in the next few weeks. Privately, many officials expected an announcement in a matter of days after the April 28 news conference featured Northrop Grumman chief executive Wes Bush and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R).
But that didn't happen.
Instead, several sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations told Virginia Politics that Northrop went right back to work lobbying officials and property managers in both localities to get the best deal. Chief among its lobbying points in Fairfax: a discount on hangar space at Dulles International Airport for the company's corporate jet.
"A consultant promised them space at Dulles but Fairfax doesn't put cash on the table and we also couldn't really justify getting a discount for them...That's not our policy," said one county official.
Said another: "They asked and we said no. And then they asked again. I think the consultant may have promised too much."
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors met twice behind closed doors in the past month to discuss Northrop, using an oft-cited section of Virginia's open meetings law to keep out the public. Officials who were at the meetings said Northrop's hangar space request was discussed extensively.
Northrop had previously criticized a Washington Post report, citing several unnamed sources, that said its consultants and brokers had asked for several perks, including the discounted hangar space. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, at Northrop's behest, issued a statement soon after, denying The Post's report and arguing that it had never formally asked for the perks.
But, noticeably, the hangar space request was not among those items denied by Fairfax economic officials. And Northrop officials have refused to discuss what it has, or has not, asked for.
May 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Fairfax County Board of Supervisors | Tags: Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, Northrop Grumman, bob mcdonnell
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