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Report: Alexandria May Subsidize NSF Move

Two Alexandria sites have entered proposals for a new headquarters for the National Science Foundation.

In an attempt to lure the National Science Foundation to the city, Alexandria may subsidize the institution’s potential move, according to the Washington Business Journal

The General Services Administration is currently evaluating proposals for a new headquarters for the NSF. Submissions were due Jan. 9.

The NSF is currently headquartered in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington County. The institution is one of the federal government’s primary scientific research organizations and would be a huge economic boon for Alexandria. The NSF has a $7 billion annual budget, 2,400 employees and a contractor tail of another 2,200.

Val Hawkins, president and CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, and Mark Jinks, deputy Alexandria city manager, briefed City Council in December on two Alexandria properties that submitted lease bids—one in Carlyle Plaza and another at the Hoffman Center.

Hawkins did not offer specifics on potential subsidies in the Washington Business Journal report.

“We’ve got a great product, and if they do decide to move we would love to have them,” Hawkins said in the report. “If they did relocate, it would be a significant gain for the city. It’s highly competitive; they’ve been in Arlington for 20 years.”

Jeff Zell, a member of the Carlyle development team competing for the NSF, told the Washington Business Journal that his group’s plan for a 33-story, 333-foot office called Carlyle Plaza Two would meet the institution’s needs and requirements.

The NSF is seeking a 15-year lease on 668,000 square feet of office space within a half-mile of a Metro station.

The Hoffman Center site, located at 2401 Eisenhower Ave. between a movie theater and the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station, and the Carlyle site, located on John Carlyle Street, updated their permits with the city this year. That could potentially give the sites an advantage over other applicants.

“All the basics of the buildings, if not all down to the details, what got approved by council in 2012 will meet the proposal for the NSF without any material changes,” Jinks said in December.

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) said he was "optimistic" the NSF would stay in Ballston.

Linda Kelly January 31, 2013 at 03:18 AM
Hmm, are the economic benefits of bringing the NSF here sufficient to outweigh the infrastructure costs their presence would impose, let alone justify a subsidy? I am extremely skeptical.
Leslie Hagan January 31, 2013 at 05:53 AM
Alexandria needs to stop giving our tax dollars to businesses and developers and start spending the few dollars we have on the needs of the residents (aka voters). The argument that dollars given to lure in businesses and developers earns more money via an increased tax base is specious. The City ties up any money earned into long term costs for their infrastructure so the residents never see any benefits, just steadly increasing taxes. Council, somewhere ib the 90s, seems to have forgotten whom they are supposed to serve.
NoBS January 31, 2013 at 12:51 PM
I can see both pros and cons to this. There would be some benefit to restaurants and other businesses in Alexandria, but there would also be increased crowding, traffic, etc. Property values might increase if demand for Alexandria residential real estate increases, but out schools suck so it may be a wash.
DRM February 01, 2013 at 06:05 AM
Those who live in the city continually vote for the same people for city council and then are surprised and mad when they approve government buildings like BRAC!! Try voting for different representatives and then maybe you'll get the results you want.

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