Picture 1, 2, Dr. John Gibson and Victor Trapasso are partners in commercial and industrial warehouse development here. Identification was reversed for photos in Wednesday's Business & Finance section.

Washington, the seat of federal government, has become a mass distributor of the taxpayers' largesse.

And affluent metropolitan Washington apparently is destined to become one of the nation's premiere distribution centers for the private economy - a community where goods and services are stored in huge quantities and later shipped to points of consmption.

Warehouses and distribution centers for the Middle Atlantic States have been concentrated previously near Baltimore and in Tidewater Virginia. But the D.C. area's population expansion in recent decades, coupled with affluence and strategic geographic location, are a powerful magnet.

It was no accident that when the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade invited businessmen from other cities to tour the area recently, a large number of inquiries came from companies or investors interested in land for warehouses and light industrial parks.

Some D.C. government and business leaders hope to boost the city's economy in future years by attracting such complexes. But for now, suburban Washington is the growth market for distribution businesses, primarily because of available land and lower taxes.

Two prime examples of this booming suburban economic sector are Gibson Warehousing Co. and the Shell Oil Co. Gibson is a home-grown enterprise, and Shell is part of a British-Dutch international oil giant. Both have money to invest, and they have bet on Northern Virginia.

Dr. John Gibson, an Alexandria dermatologist, teamed up with Victor Trapasso, a graduate engineer, former real estate attorney and past president of Alexandria Hospital, to develop some 2 million mercial and industrial warehousing properties here in the past decade.

Gibson Construction Co. has been general contractor for these projects, and Gibson Realty and Management Inc. leases and manages the complexes as well as commercial brokerage throughout the area.

The latest venture of the Gibson Trapasso Group is a 170,000-square-foot warehouse in the $20 million, 900,000-square-foot Fleet Industrial Park in Franconia-Springfield, started without any lease commitments.

But 70 percent of the space now has been signed up, for one customer the Veterans Administration, which plans to house a forms and publications depot, printing plant and audio-visual shop there starting later this month.

"Through the years, the G-T Group has learned to build a warehouse shell that has broad appeal for many different types of businesses, knowing that the space may end up as a laboratory with a controlled environment , an office or sports complex or remain a shall warehouse," Trapasso notes.

Other warehouse shell built at Fleet Park now house Xerox, Volvo, Dockside Sales, Automotive Research Corp, and printing firms. Tenants at the separate Dulles Industrial Aerospace Park include the 5-0 Washington Redskins, British Aircraft and Project Hope.

Shell, meanwhile, has attracted 11 tenants to its 135-acre site near Alexandria at the intersection of Interstate 95 and the Capital Beltway. Shell's land investment division is planning about 2 million square feet of ground-floor space (multistoried buildings will add to the total (on buildings on 108 acres. The oil firm purchased the land for $6.4 million three years ago.

The Public Broadcasting Service has its satellite communications center there, and other current or future tenants include Johnson Controls, Prudential Insurance Co., Aaron Rents, Delta Electronics, Leatherwood Coach Co., Marlo Furniture and Safeway Storage.

WE EAT A LOT: The Columbia periodical Food World reports that midAtlantic wholesaler grocers now have a total annual volume of $1.85 billion at the warehouse level. The largest is Richfood Inc. of Mechanicsville. Va., which expects a volume this year of $450 million, an increase of $70 million from 1977.

B. Green & Co. of Baltimore is second with sales of $180 million. Among Washington area firms on the list of 69 wholosalers are M. Loeb of Landover ($80 million). Smelkinson Bros. Corp. of Jessup ($40 million). Mazo-Lerch of Alexandria ($26 million), I. Feldman of D.C. ($21 million). Halco/Wilkins of Landover ($16 million) and Alphat Foods of D.C. ($8.2 million.).

WE EXAND A LOT: Among recent studies of the local economy, the Prince George's County economic development department says some 1.2 million square feet of office space in scheduled for completion in 12 months (on top of 4.6 million today), with county growth in the past eight years measured as follows: retail sales up 100 percent, home prices up 102 percent, bank deposits up 80 percent and personal income up 97 percent.

In Alexandria, City Manager Douglas Harman's annual report shows an increase of $36 million last year in the sales tax base to $447 million. Employment is up 8.8 percent since 1974, and median income has risen 9.4 percent since 1973, he said.

The U.S. Commerce Department, in its annual survey of per capita personal income in all the states, found a nonstate - the District - in second place in 1977 at $8,999. D.C. ranked behind only Alaska, where per capita income was $10,586. Maryland was ranked No. 10 at $7.572. and Virginia was No. 24, at $6,865.

WE LOOK AHEAD: Virginia's Chamber of Commerce and public and private groups throughout the Commonwealth are expecting a large crowd for the 30th annual conference on world trade, the nation's oldest continuous statewide trade promotion.

Scheduled for Oct. 11-13 at Williamsburg, the meeting will focus of trade and investments in the 21st Century. One luncheon session will deal with Mobil Oil's relocation to Fairfax County.

Closer to home, Fairfax City businesses are holding a day-long exposition on Saturday at Fairfax Mall. Some 40 businesses will offer displays on retail, professional and service operations to give city residents a better idea of local commerce. The show was developed by the city's chamber of commerce.

On Oct. 12, the Metropolitan Washington Minority Purchasing Council and Greater Washington Business Center will conduct "Opportunity Fair '78" at the Sheraton Park Hotel. Designed to help establish business ties between minority companies that supply goods or services and purchasers, the fair will feature informational booths of purchasing agents.

AROUND THE BELTWAY: Marriott Corp. is building a new headquarters complex in Bethesda but, like other area businesses, it likes the prestige of a Washington address. An internal memo that surfaced recently said Marriott executives decided to retain D.C. as a mailing address.

Richard Lawton, president of Fist Financial of Virginia Corp., a major savings and loan company in Virginia, has projected earnings of $5 a share in fiscal 1979 compared with $4.21 in the previous year. The company's Washington-Lee S&L closed $87.8 million of mortgage loans in the recent year, up 35 percent from fiscal 1977, Lawton told analysts here. The boost in loan volume helped improve profitability for the S&L firm, which has $300 million in assets.

Most cabins have been rented on the cruise to luxury liner M/S Caribe, due to sail up the potomac on Nov. 5 and dock in Alexandria, for a Caribbean vacation trip, United States Travel Agency has promoted the cruise.

Craigic Inc. is planning a small-investor fund for tax-exempt bonds from Virginia communities and agencies, the first such fund ever established.