BALTIMORE, MAY 26 -- The Communication Satellite Corp. plans to consolidate its operations and most likely move from Washington, probably to Maryland or Northern Virginia, a published report said today.
Richard McGraw, Comsat director of corporate communications, said the firm will consolidate its operations starting later this year.
Comsat's operations are now spread out in Washington and Clarksburg in Montgomery County, and the company is headquartered at L'Enfant Plaza in the District.
The move could affect about 750 people spread out in several Comsat divisions, but McGraw said a new site for the consolidation has not been determined.
He said several properties in Maryland and Northern Virginia are under consideration and that the possibility of staying in Washington has not been ruled out.
However, the spokesman said staying in the district is ''not likely'' because of the expense of maintaining operations in the nation's capital.
McGraw said that aside from expenses, the company has other reasons for making a move out of Washington, citing problems commuting and plans for future expansion.
He told the Baltimore Sun the fact that it sometimes takes more than an hour to commute between some Comsat locations weighed heavily in the decision to consolidate operations.
If Comsat leaves Washington, it will be following in the footsteps of another major corporation that has abandoned the District because of the associated high cost of doing business. Earlier this year, American Telephone & Telegraph Co. announced the move of its Federal Systems Division out of Washington to the Maryland suburbs, citing expense as its reason.
Comsat still has six years left on its lease at L'Enfant Plaza, where it has been headquartered for more than 25 years.
Company officials said there is nothing to prevent Comsat from subleasing to another tenant. It already leases about half of the building to the Internal Revenue Service.
McGraw said Comsat Video Enterprises will likely be the first unit to move. That division shares a 400,000-square-foot facility with Comsat Laboratories along Interstate 270. Comsat Laboratories, the research and development arm of the firm, is expected to be the only division not affected by the move.
Comsat, founded in 1963, is a quasi-governmental company with about 1,400 employees, and had revenue of about $360 million last year.