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February 4, 2009  

A salute  to our friends at Group Goetz Architects, just ranked by Interior Design magazine as #5 nationwide among "Top Design Giants in Government Interiors." And ranked again in the Top 100 Design Giants overall. Congratulations!


Is Fairfax winning all the corporate HQ contests, not just here, but in America? Last year Volkswagen went from Auburn Hills to Herndon, and CSC from El Segundo to Falls Church; then this morning Hilton Hotels announced it's moving from Beverly Hills to an as-yet undisclosed spot in Fairfax. Experts are hard pressed to name other big corporate relo's anywhere else in the US in recent times.


In his office this morning: Fairfax County Economic Development Authority president Jerry Gordon. Jerry's the man of the hour, whose 34-person staff helped persuade Hilton to come here. He says the significance to the county besides 300 new jobs is that it's diversifying its economy. Jerry started 25 years and one month ago in his job, and remembers an early, similar victory: Mobil's relocation. Jerry now leads the largest non-state EDA in the country, with other offices in Seoul, Bangalore, Tel Aviv, Frankfurt, London, and (Jerry says their "most exotic foreign office") San Francisco.


How'd they snag Hilton? Jerry says they heard from consultants three months ago that a corporation was looking, and his staff narrowed it down and made direct contact. He credits his marketing team with great research and persistence. Why did Hilton choose Fairfax? Jerry says they liked the county's business buzz, educated labor force, and convenient airport. Of course, it may not hurt that CEO Chris Nassetta grew up in Arlington and used to work at Host Marriott across Legion Bridge. But the real trick is that Jerry knows about hitting and fielding. As his wall tells, he's a major Yankees fan: Whitey Ford on the left, signed by both Ford and famed artist LeRoy Neiman; and on the right, Joe DiMaggio homering at DC's old Griffith Stadium, near where Jerry was born.


The current Hilton world headquarters in Beverly Hills, just so you know what their taste at least used to be. Hilton hopes to be in place by the end of the year, and in its press release this morning said it will invest at least $17 million in the move, and that the incentive program for the relocation from Virginia and Fairfax totals $4.6 million "in cash grants and other significant incentives."


As for where it might land, we have no knowledge but will just stir the pot with pictures from our archives of interesting Tysons buildings. Here's one we took in November '07 of Quadrangle chairman Bob Gladstone, AEW principal Dan Bradley, SmithGroup's Steve Lewis, and Hensel Phelps Construction's Steve Speer  for a groundbreaking of 8030 Towers Crescent Drive, 13-stories and 295K SF, leased by Jones Lang.


And here's a picture we snapped in January of 2008 of BF Saul prez Frank Saul III, second from right, at a broker lunch showing Park Place II, 11-stories and 312k SF on Jones Branch, designed by Leo Daly near Freddie Mac and Gannett. With Frank, Cushman's Brian McVay and Moe Hamilton, and Saul director of leasing Steve Corey. See, you should always look good when we take your picture; we could use it years from now.

Reznick Group
Cardinal Bank
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