Wondering what those cranes are building? (Courtesy of Patrick Martin)

Drive down Stonecroft Boulevard south from Route 50 in Chantilly, and the blue-and-white cranes are unmistakable. Enormous holes are being dug, dozens of construction workers swarm the site, and if the cranes are any indication, something big is on the way.

So...what’s going on with all the cranes in Chantilly?

Those who know their way around Chantilly may be aware that the National Reconnaissance Office, a U.S. intelligence agency, is located just north of this construction site, on Lee Road. The NRO was formed in response to Russia’s launch of Sputnik way back when and it designs, builds and operates the country’s spy satellites.

The construction site is for a government contractor that is probably pretty happy to be moving next door to the NRO.

A rendering of what the campus will look like when the first phase is complete. (Courtesy Aerospace Corporation)

The Aerospace Corporation provides research, development and advisory services to government agencies including the Air Force, NASA and....the NRO. In June it broke ground on a new 40-acre campus off of Stonecroft Boulevard that will ultimately be the workplace for 2,700 employees.

The campus is being built in phases. The first phase, underway now, includes a seven-story office building, concourse, visitor’s center, data center and underground parking garage (thus the holes).

Phase one should be complete in 2014 and is on track so far, according to Aerospace spokeswoman Pam Keeton. There is no start date for future phases, which include three more buildings and a parking garage. “At this point we don’t have it on the calendar,” Keeton said.

There is something else Keeton would like to inform folks about Aerospace. “A lot of people don’t realize that we are actually a non-profit defense contractor,”she said. A non-profit that specializes in spy technology? Sound fishy.

Is there a project, building or property in your neighborhood that you want to learn more about? We’ve previously written about the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center, the Hill East development, the Arlington Funeral home site and others. You can send suggestions to oconnellj@washpost.com

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz