As of today, there’s exactly one year left to go until the deadline for 17,000 Department of Defense workers to move out of Arlington as a result of the Base Realignment and Closing Act. The vast majority of those workers, it turns out, are still here.
Only about 1,000 workers have left as a result of BRAC, estimates Andrea Morris, BRAC coordinator for Arlington County.
Morris says there will be a slow trickle of BRAC moves for the next six months. But starting in May 2011, the floodgates will open. After the initial wave in May, BRACed jobs will continue to leave Arlington at a staggered pace up to the Sept. 15, 2011 deadline.
Some of those moves may be delayed by a bill currently being considered by the U.S. Senate. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), would delay the move of 6,400 workers to Alexandria’s Mark Center project until transportation bottlenecks can be solved. The bill has been approved by the House but has yet to come out of committee in the Senate.
The area with the most to lose from BRAC is Crystal City. With 3 million of the 4.2 million square feet of BRAC-affected office space in Arlington (much of the remainder is in Rosslyn), Crystal City will be noticeably emptier after BRACed employees leave.
“I think it is going to be noticeable, absolutely,” said Morris. But she noted that numerous non-DoD government agencies and private companies have been inquiring abut the available space. And the mix of government and private employers moving in after BRAC will help diversify Crystal City’s economy.
Morris said a BRAC job fair in Crystal City is in the works for later this year.