Northrop Grumman will begin moving into its new Falls Church headquarters today, two weeks before it formally launches operations there.
The move will cap a lengthy process of transferring the company’s business from Los Angeles. More than a year and a half ago, Northrop announced it would relocate, spurring a jurisdictional fight to win the company’s headquarters. After an unusually secretive search, the company settled on a Falls Church building in the Fairview complex, making it neighbors with fellow contractors General Dynamics and CSC, which itself relocated from California in 2008.
Northrop Grumman spokesman Randy Belote said the new building will be home to about 500 employees — about 400 corporate personnel and an additional 100 from its business sectors, including representatives from its aerospace, electronic and information systems units.
Among the 400 corporate positions, the company is hiring 186 people locally. The remaining 214 include those relocating from the West Coast and staff moving from the Rosslyn office. Belote would not break down the numbers further.
He said the company expects most of the move to be complete by Aug. 22.
The relocation has proved costly for the company. In an April filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Northrop said it is offering relocation assistance to some employees who are moving, including two of its top officials.
For Wes Bush, the company’s chairman, chief executive and president, for example, the company has agreed to buy his current home, reimburse a loss on the sale up to $250,000 and pay for security additions to his new home in Virginia. Additionally, Northrop will pick up the bill for duplicate housing costs for up to two months and the moving costs for household goods and two vehicles.
Bush is forgoing other reimbursements, which could include expenses from house-hunting trips, closing costs on a new home or temporary living costs such as lodging, meals and a rental car.
In the filing, Northrop said it commissioned Brookfield Global Relocation Services to buy Bush’s home in California for $5.05 million — a figure determined by averaging the two closest of three appraisals. Brookfield then agreed to lease the home back to Bush for $22,000 per month on a month-to-month basis until he and his family moved to the Washington area.
James F. Palmer, Northrop’s vice president and chief financial officer, too is benefiting from relocation assistance. In June, the company approved a lump sum payment of $750,000 in relocation benefits, according to a filing with the SEC.
The move to the D.C. area comes as the company is facing a more challenging market threatened by Pentagon plans to cut spending. Company officials have said the relocation will improve Northrop’s ability to work with its customers more closely.
Last month, Northrop reported that its profit and sales dropped. The company announced profit of $520 million ($1.81 per share) for the three-month period, down nearly 27 percent from $711 million ($2.34) in the same period a year prior. Sales declined about 10 percent, to $6.56 billion.
Bush said the company’s customers were awarding contracts more slowly and spending more conservatively. He also cited troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan as dampening the company’s business.