About 1,400 Defense Department workers are about to be moved out of Northern Virginia and into new quarters in Southeast Washington.
But unlike the controversy over moving 16,000 employes from the Crystal City area to Washington, the suburban politicians aren't fighting this transfer.
The reason: Arlington County doesn't stand to lose any taxes as a result of the transfer of about 1,400 Defense Intelligence Agency employes who are being reassigned from the Arlington Hall military intelligence installation off Arlington Boulevard (Rte. 50) to a new $102 million headquarters building at Bolling Air Force Base.
In all, said DIA spokesman Jim Speer, the agency will consolidate nearly 2,800 employes in the new facility from such scattered locations as Rosslyn, Crystal City, the Pentagon and its training school at the Anacostia base by next June. "We'll be sorry to see them go," said Arlington County Board Vice Chairman John G. Milliken. "We always hate to lose jobs in the county. But this is different from the Navy move from Crystal City because this Arlington Hall is government-owned property."
The Navy plan, which Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) says he recently killed again in committee, alarmed county officials because those employes account for 10 percent of Arlington's work force and their transfer would have left several large Crystal City buildings vacant.
Also, the county has made substantial investments to improve that area and derives income from the Navy employes who live and eat there and revenue through real estate and sales taxes. Neither the county nor private businesses have made any significant investment in the Arlington Hall area.
Still, the DIA move will be monitored by county officials with interest since they long have eyed the valuable 90-acre site between Glebe Road and George Mason Drive as a prime location for recreational, cultural or residential uses.
The county may have to wait a long time because the Army, which owns the property, has no present intention of relocating its almost 1,500 civilian and military personnel assigned to the other major command there, the Army Intelligence and Security Command.
Lt. Col. William Birdseye, a command spokesman, said last week that despite previous Army proposals to consolidate the command's operations at Fort Meade, Md., "There are no plans to move the Army out of here." If the Army were ever to declare Arlington Hall surplus property, other federal agencies would have the first chance at claiming it before it would be put up for sale to Arlington or a private party, Birdseye said.
Should that day ever come, predicted Arlington County Board member Dorothy T. Grotos, "It'll be the Civil War all over again. Some people would want that property for housing, some for parks. Some would want it for higher education. It would really be a free-for-all. Each interest group would be pushing for their own thing. And some people would want it to be put on the tax rolls."
A former women's junior college before the Army took it over in 1942, Arlington Hall still has overwhelmingly World War II-vintage cinderblock buildings, recently spruced up with pastel green paint to blend in with the large shade trees at the compound, which is otherwise noted for its rings of barbed-wire fences and guarded gates.
As federal property, Arlington Hall is not on the county tax rolls. William O'Neill of the county assessor's office said the land is appraised at $22.4 million and would yield about $220,000 annually in real estate taxes if it were sold to private developers.
County Board Chairman Ellen M. Bozman said the property, currently zoned as public space, would "make a great location for a midcounty recreational facility." But she said she is skeptical county voters would approve a substantial parks bond issue for one piece of property, if the opportunity to purchase Arlington Hall should ever arise.
Because the installation is surrounded by neighborhoods of single-family homes, county officials see little prospect of any rezoning that would accommodate the high-technology and industrial firms that have snatched up large parcels of land in other parts of the metropolitan area.
The complex's neighbors "would never stand still for any zoning like that," said Grotos. "I know the strength of our neighborhoods and they would not support a high-tech or industrial complex like those at Tysons."
"Such a proposal would not meet with much favor," added Bozman. "Although there is reasonable automobile access . . . it's certainly not as attractive a location for large firms as the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor might be because you're never going to have Metrorail in there--unless the cost is less."
Bozman said she expects that the heaviest civic pressures would be for residential uses, with some of the site set aside for park, educational or cultural uses. "High rises," she said, "are not likely to happen there." CAPTION: Picture, Exterior of the new $102 million headquarters building at Bolling Air Force Base where Defense Intelligence Agency employes are being reassigned. By Douglas Chevalier--The Washington Post