BNA Inc., a publishing company, will move its headquarters and 1,300 employees from the District to Arlington County in 2007, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner announced yesterday.
BNA, which publishes print and electronic reports on government agencies and public policy, will relocate from the District's West End neighborhood to Crystal City in the spring of 2007.
Officials hope the new BNA headquarters on South Bell Street in Crystal City will contribute to a renaissance in the neighborhood, which is trying to freshen its dated image of steel-and-glass office park with a new streetscape and high-end restaurants.
Arlington officials applauded BNA's decision, which came in the midst of local anxiety over the Pentagon's plan to shift 23,000 Northern Virginia defense jobs from inside the Capital Beltway to Fort Belvoir and locations in other states.
Arlington is set to lose 20,000 jobs, according to County Board Chairman Jay Fisette (D). Officials at the news conference donned navy-blue "Save the Brains" buttons -- a nod to the county's efforts to preserve the high-tech and research jobs slated for transfer.
"This is a shot in the arm for all of Northern Virginia as we wrestle with the [Base Realignment and Closure Commission] process," Warner said. "We are absolutely united with Arlington to make the case that the Department of Defense facilities in Arlington should remain here."
The state helped lure BNA to Crystal City with a $1 million grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund, which rewards employers for investments that create new jobs.
The District had provided BNA, one of its largest private employers, with a 10-year property tax deferral scheduled to run out in 2007, officials said.
Officials said BNA is acquiring new headquarters in a deal with Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty, which owns most of Crystal City. Under the deal, Smith will buy BNA's current headquarters on 25th Street NW, and BNA will acquire from Smith a 290,000-square-foot office building on South Bell Street.
Chief executive Paul N. Wojcik said he was concerned about Crystal City's image as an forbidding canyon of office buildings when the neighborhood was first suggested to him as a possibility.
"That was my concern early on," Wojcik said. "But going there and seeing how it's changed in the last five years -- seeing the new restaurants and people walking on the streets -- I realized there was a vitality there that was good."
The Arlington location's proximity to Capitol Hill and other government sites was a plus, he said, as was the savings associated with the move. Wojcik would only describe the savings as "substantial."
Company employees, 40 percent of whom already live in Virginia, were told of the decision yesterday morning, Wojcik said. He fielded concerns on such issues transportation to affordable housing.