Developments could bring employment boom to Springfield under BRAC

By Gregg MacDonald
Fairfax County Times
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Four major development projects that are underway or soon will be finished promise to forever alter Springfield.

Three developers and the Inova Health System are preparing for an unprecedented boom in employment in which an expected 18,000 military, federal and contracting jobs will come to the area this fall.

Setting the stage for growth is the federal Base Realignment and Closure process. In September, 8,500 jobs from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency will move to Springfield's former Engineer Proving Ground, which now is known as Fort Belvoir North.

The agency already has begun moving some employees into its new 2.4 million-square-foot campus at Fort Belvoir, which will gain about 6,400 workers on its main campus in September as part of BRAC.

As a result, many federal contractors will move their operations to Springfield. One of their destinations is the 1.3 million-square-foot Metropark Complex.

The 37-acre facility, near Beulah Street and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway, already is home to SAIC Inc., DCS Corp., Calibre Systems Inc. and CGI Group Inc., which soon will be joined by fellow government contractor VSE Corp.

VSE is moving its headquarters from the Huntington area, said Marc DeLuca, a spokesman for ING Clarion Partners, the owners of Metropark.

VSE is contracted to move into a new 95,000-square-foot-building by early 2012. The company will occupy the entire building, which is nearing completion, DeLuca said.

Another 330,000-square-foot building is under construction within the Metropark complex, he said.

The new and existing buildings within the complex originally were built by ING Clarion Partners on speculation. DeLuca said the risk was a calculated one.

"I'd like to tell everyone that we were really brazen to do it, but it really has been a no-brainer," he said. "Every building that we have started building on [speculation] has turned out to be 100 percent leased by the time we are done with it." Clarion did not disclose its development costs.

Monument Realty also is preparing to build on speculation in the same area of Beulah Street and the parkway, Monument co-founder Michael Darby said.

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