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Stafford County

Defense contractor moving to Stafford
March 30, 2006 12:50 am


Stafford County is increasingly building its economy on the backs of the defense and national security sectors.

It's a strategy economic development director Tim Baroody has emphasized since arriving three years ago, and one he said makes sense for a county that's home to a portion of Quantico Marine Corps Base, which not only houses Marines but includes a DEA training facility, an FBI training facility and the FBI's internationally known forensic lab.

"We're trying to play to our strength," Baroody said.

Last week, the county announced the latest addition to the North Stafford landscape--the Joint Project Management Offices for Individual Protection and Decontamination/Chemical, Biological, Radio- logical and Nuclear Defense Systems.

Employees there provide support for both warfighter and homeland defense programs, according to a Stafford County news release. A company spokesperson did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

That office is scheduled to move off the Marine base and into the North Stafford Center for Business and Technology this summer--as soon as the 400,000-square-foot office complex is complete.

The move will bring 115 employees and occupy 18,000 square feet of office space on Garrisonville Road, Baroody said.

Project employees are expected to be joined by contractors who provide direct support.

Baroody said local developers recognized several years ago that Stafford was ideally situated for defense contractors and started developing class A office space to lure them.

At seven sites across the county, 5 million square feet of office space is finished or in the works.

One property, Quantico Corporate Center, is at Boswell's Corner. Four office complexes are being built along Garrisonville Road--the North Stafford Center for Business and Technology, Stafford Marketplace, Stafford Commerce Park and North Stafford Corporate Center.

Along U.S. 17 in southern Stafford, office space is being created at Riverside Business Park and within the Celebrate Virginia development.

The Celebrate Virginia project is the largest planned space, with 3 million square feet expected.

Baroody foresees the defense industry gradually moving beyond North Stafford and throughout the Fredericksburg region. He expects expansion of the University of Mary Washington's graduate program offerings to help pave the way.

Baroody said defense and national security businesses bring professional jobs to the county and increase the county coffers through real estate tax revenue on the offices they occupy. He estimated that in 10 years the new office space will bring in more than $500,000 annually.

Stafford officials recognize that the majority of the Fredericksburg region's work force commutes north to work. If companies can instead keep that talent within the region, Baroody sees benefits for everyone.

"We think, obviously, expansion here locally is working to solve many problems--especially congestion in Northern Virginia," he said.

To reach PAMELA GOULD: 540/735-1972
Email: pgould@freelancestar.com

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