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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Federal Leasing Outide the Beltway in Northern Virginia

Federal Leasing Activity Outside the Beltway in Northern Virginia
by Dan Gonzalez

Of all of the reshuffling of federal operations outside the Washington Beltway in Northern Virginia, the Springfield submarket has been and will continue to be a major beneficiary of the changes, due in large part to the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) and other relocations. Aligned federal and defense contractors are helping to revamp and bolster the Springfield submarket for the foreseeable future.

The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) is moving to a new 2.4-million-square-foot operation in Springfield. A staff of about 8,500, both federal employees and contractors, will relocate there. And, the Missile Defense Agency headquarters command is relocating to Fort Belvoir, along with other army and defense programs. In anticipation of leasing demand by affiliated defense contractors, Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) has begun construction on 7770 Backlick Road, a 240,000-square-foot building adjacent to NGA’s new facility.

Major federal leases signed in 2011 in Northern Virginia outside the Beltway include:

• The FBI leasing 182,035 square feet at Mission Ridge in Chantilly. The Bureau is consolidating several locations and expanding its cyber-security operations; and

• The Defense Logistics Agency leasing 70,056 square feet at 8111 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church.

A major loss to the Northern Virginia outside the Beltway market was the Defense Information Agency (DIA) vacating 395,800 square feet at 5275 Leesburg Pike for a move to Fort Meade, Md.

Overall, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about leasing activity relating to federal users and government contractors for outside the Beltway facilities, which is attributed to predicted defense cutbacks and the political stalemate and gridlock in Washington.

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