Vice Mayor Kerry Donley let it be known Tuesday that the city is courting the National Science Foundation with intentions of a long, lucrative marriage.
The lease on the current NSF office in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington County expires in 2015. The institution, which is one of the federal government’s primary scientific research organizations, has begun the process of looking for a new office to lease.
“We’re going to pursue them and we’re going to pursue them aggressively,” Donley said, comparing the city’s pursuit to its successful courtship of the U.S. Patent and Trade Office a decade ago.
The belief is that bringing the NSF to Alexandria would signify an overwhelmingly positive addition to the city’s tax base and produce positive economic spin-off.
The NSF has a budget of about $7 billion and is the funding source for approximately 20 percent for all federally supported basic research conducted by U.S. colleges and universities.
It has a workforce of about 2,100 at its Arlington office.
Arlington will likely make a huge push to keep the organization within its borders, but the council plans to do what it can to bring the NSF a few miles south.
The four sites within Alexandria identified as potential spots for the NSF include:
- Victory Center, 5001 Eisenhower Avenue
- Hoffman Town Center, 2401 Eisenhower Avenue
- Carlyle Plaza, John Carlyle Street
- Former ATA site, 2200 and 2250 Mill Road
Old Town Alexandria Patch Editor Sharon McLoone contributed to this report.