National Science Foundation Headquarters Moving To Alexandria | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

National Science Foundation Headquarters Moving To Alexandria

Play associated audio
The National Science Foundation's current headquarters at 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Va. The agency is moving to the Carlyle section of Alexandria after the city offered a $23 million tax break.
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation's current headquarters at 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Va. The agency is moving to the Carlyle section of Alexandria after the city offered a $23 million tax break.

 

The National Science Foundation is moving from its Arlington, Va., headquarters to Alexandria, Va., in a multi-million dollar deal that includes a significant tax break. The government agency will relocate from Ballston to the Carlyle neighborhood of Alexandria, near the Eisenhower Metro station. 

Alexandria city leaders landed the prestigious foundation by offering to charge a lower tax rate. The deal is projected to provide a $23 million tax break to the property owner over the 15-year lease. City leaders said the NSF's move will bring $50 million in new tax revenue to the city, even after the incentive. 

But reactions to the agreement have been mixed.

"I'm torn about that whole tax credit thing because it's just pitting jurisdictions against each other, and they are losing money ostensibly to make it up later and that's not always the case," Jordan Engel said. 

Alexandria City Council member Tim Lovain said governments offer incentives all the time, and Alexandria simply offered a better deal than Arlington.

"We've heard from a neighboring jurisdiction a bit of sour grapes in the claim that what the city is doing is extraordinary and unprecedented," Lovain said. 

Alexandria Deputy City Manager Mark Jinks disputes that claim. He said municipalities have given tax incentives to private companies for many years, and the last five years have seen incentives also offered to government agencies.

"Increasingly we are seeing people realize that their office buildings and their development plans aren't going to automatically happen if they just sit and wait for growth of the federal government to arrive," Jinks said. 

The General Service Administration estimates the agency's move to Alexandria will save federal taxpayers $65 million over the initial lease period. The new building will also use considerably less energy and water than typical office buildings.

But that isn't enough of an incentive for Dale Bell, who has worked at the NSF for more than three years.

"I'm personally disappointed because I live in Maryland so it's going to add at least another 30 minutes on my trip, which is unfortunate," Bell said.

NPR

When Wildlife Documentaries Jump The Shark

Networks like the Discovery Channel have been criticized for pushing entertainment at the cost of science, with fake "documentaries" about everything from mermaids to mythical monster sharks.
NPR

Can Oxfam Nudge Big Food Companies To Do Right?

Oxfam is scoring the 10 biggest food companies on a scale of 1 to 10 on a host of issues, from worker rights to climate change. But will promises translate into concrete changes?
NPR

Rick Perry's Legal Trouble: The Line Between Influence And Coercion

The Texas governor is charged with abuse of office and coercing a public official, but he claims he was just doing what governors do: Vetoing a budget item.
NPR

New GoPro Camera Harness Captures Dog's-Eye View

This past week, the camera maker GoPro unveiled the Fetch harness, which allows people to attach the durable cameras to their dogs. The company was inspired by some DIY efforts at pet videography.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.