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Incentive Lands BAE Here

County and state offer money to close deal.

The state and county have enticed a company to move to Reston.

Despite the economic downturn that has spread throughout the nation during the past months, one company is planning to open a new 135,000-square-foot office complex along Sunset Hills Road.

BAE Systems, formerly British Aerospace, employs 120,000 people worldwide with 22,000 U.S. employees. The company will move into the Reston offices in fall 2002. Four hundred employees will start at the Reston facility, with other employees located at government sites throughout the area. During the course of three years the company plans to create 1,000 new jobs, at a cost of $51.6 million.

"This location puts us in close proximity to one of our biggest customers — the U.S. government," said John Measell, BAE spokesperson. "It also puts us in the middle of an available talent pool. The people staffing the operation will be systems engineers and software designers. We felt there were a lot of those kinds of people available in the area."

<mh>Tech Workers

<bt>The Reston facility will house employees in the company’s integrated systems division. System integration involves linking up different technological components, such as hardware and software, so that the different parts of a system work together correctly.

To entice BAE into moving to Fairfax, the county applied for a grant from the state Governor’s Opportunity Fund. Gov. Jim Gilmore approved $25,000 from the state, then Fairfax County matched that money to make a total contribution of $50,000. The money will be put toward a sidewalk along Sunset Hills Road, in front of the BAE building. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) will also provide workforce training services, to help train BAE employees.

Jill Lawrence, from VEDP, said it is rare for the state to approve such a grant in Fairfax County.

"[Fairfax is] a very hot business location in Virginia," said Lawrence. "Usually we don’t have to use incentives, but we thought it was appropriate since there was some competition."

BAE was also considering expansion into Maryland or Washington, D.C. before settling on the Reston location. Lawrence said the Governor’s Opportunity Fund is used as a "deal closer," an extra incentive to convince a company that Virginia is the right place to expand.

"This is a huge win for Virginia," said Lawrence. "Airspace is a target industry for us. This is probably going to be one of our biggest deals for 2002. The Governor thought it was big enough to put it in his closing address."