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Arlington County Loses TSA, "Disappointed but not Surprised"

Earlier this year, on March 13, we growled about the challenges of economic development in Arlington County. The lede of the Growls said:

"At the monthly meeting of the Arlington County Civic Federation on Tuesday evening, March 3, 2015, delegates heard the chair of Arlington County Economic Development Commission, Sally Duran, discuss "the importance of a flourishing business community which will substantially benefit Arlington taxpayers." The slides from her PowerPoint presentation are available here. The Civic Federation website provides additional, related information as well."

The Growls was quite extensive in its discussion of the importance of Arlington County's commercial tax base, especially to residential property owners.  Consequently, a story today at ARLnow.com caught our attention because it said, "Arlington Loses Another Big Government Office Tenant." Here's how ARLnow.com framed their story:

"The Transportation Security Administration will move from its headquarters in Pentagon City to a new office in Alexandria, the federal government announced today.

"TSA currently occupies a complex at 601 and 701 12th Street S. in Pentagon City, across from the Pentagon City mall.

"It’s planning to move to the Victory Center building at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue, near the Van Dorn Metro station, in about two years. (In 2013, the TSA renewed its lease in Pentagon City for five years.)

"The General Services Administration touted the new lease as a money-saving move that will save taxpayers more than $95 million over a 15-year lease. The government is paying rent of $36 per square foot, more than 25 percent below projected market rents, and getting $50 million for tenant fit-out costs and moving expenses."

ARLnow.com then adds:

"This is just the latest office loss for Arlington County, which is coping with relatively high office vacancy rates.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moved its headquarters from Ballston to Falls Church last year, while the National Science Foundation is planning to move its headquarters and more than 2,000 employees from Ballston to Alexandria by 2017. In both cases, the GSA said the moves would save millions of dollars in leasing costs.

"Victor Hoskins, who took over as the county’s head of economic development earlier this year, said the county was disappointed but not surprised by the deal."

In commenting on the issue in March, your humble scribe Growled:

"Instead of increasing the bureaucracy, Arlington's economic development department should develop a plan that involves ways of reducing the tax and regulatory burden for the Arlington County business community, including recommendations by which the Virginia General Assembly can partner with the County Board in those reductions."

The ARLnow.com story has a number of links, which we did not recover. However, here is the link to the GSA press release on which they based their story.

As we growled in March, readers who are Arlington County taxpayers are urged to write or call the Arlington County Board to tell them it's time to reduce the tax and regulatory burden of Arlington's business community to ensure their competitiveness with neighboring jurisdictions. Just click-on the link below:

  • Call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130.

And tell them ACTA sent you.

UPDATE (8/13/15): In a Washington Post article, posted earlier last evening for today's print edition, Jonathan O'Connell and Patricia Sullivan report:

"The deal constitutes one of the largest commercial real-estate leases signed in the Washington area this year. It is comparable to a roughly 700,000-square-foot lease that Fannie Mae signed to move into a new building downtown that will replace the current offices of The Washington Post.

< . . . >

"Alexandria has been planning street and infrastructure improvements in the Eisenhower Avenue area for the past 18 months, Euille said.

"He dismissed concerns about whether the addition of nearly 4,000 workers would create traffic problems, noting that the TSA building will have on-site parking and is near the underused Van Dorn station.

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