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Fairfax official: Northrop negotiations 'intense'

Fairfax officials celebrated Thursday the decision by defense contractor Northrop Grumman to relocate its headquarters to the Northern Virginia locality, with one supervisor calling the months-long bidding war "intense but well worth it."

Northrop announced this week that it would move its headquarters from Los Angeles to an office park near Falls Church next summer.

The move is expected to bring 300 to 400 jobs to the looming 14-story Fairview Park office tower, which once housed Verizon, but officials noted that the biggest financial reward will be the creation of spin-off corporations to aid in some federal contracts.

"It's the spin-off business from Northrop that will bring the most jobs," Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) told a room of county staffers and business leaders Thursday. Supervisor John W. Foust (D-Dranesville) called the negotiations "intense" but credited officials for "landing the big fish."

Gerald L. Gordon, president and chief executive of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, said some planned transportation improvement projects would be "sped up" to facilitate the move. Those projects include possible lane widening and the construction of ramps at Route 29 and Gallows Road.

But Fairfax rebuffed requests to put "cash on the table," sticking to a longstanding county policy that states that government officials can only offer incentives that benefit the larger public. Fairfax did agree to help facilitate meetings between Northrop, Dulles International Airport and the owners of hangar space for a spot to keep the company's corporate jet.

"We couldn't think of a way we could stretch our policy to get them hangar space, at least in a way that we could explain to The Washington Post," Bulova said to laughing audience.

By Derek Kravitz  |  July 15, 2010; 2:33 PM ET
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Fairfax County , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  
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