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Long-awaited influx now close to reality
BRAC jobs coming soon to region

 Exterior work has been completed on the Russell-Knox building, which will house five investigative agencies.
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Date published: 1/29/2011

BY BILL FREEHLING

For the past six years, Fredericksburg-area business leaders and civic officials have brought up BRAC again and again in analyzing the region's economic prospects.

They've pointed to the effects BRAC could have on the health of the area's housing, commercial real estate and labor markets, not to mention the tax base of local municipalities.

Now, six years after the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure Commission decided to bring nearly 3,000 new jobs to Marine Corps Base Quantico, the long-awaited and much-discussed BRAC arrivals are drawing near.

Exterior construction ended last month on the new 718,000-square-foot, $312 million Russell-Knox building on Telegraph Road in North Stafford. It will house five military department investigative agencies.

Parts of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Defense Security Service and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command will all move into the space by Sept. 15.

Wilma Vaughn, a community relations officer at the Quantico Marine base, said security and IT work is now under way inside the vast building--which is nearly four times the size of the average Walmart Supercenter and was built by Hensel-Phelps Construction Co. Vaughn said the new jobs will start arriving in phases between now and September.

Most of the arrivals will come between April and July at a rate of about 200 people per week, according to the Quantico Growth Management Committee, which is composed of elected representatives from Stafford and Prince William counties as well as a liaison from the Marine base.

Because the jobs aren't yet here, it's difficult to gauge the economic effect at this point. It's unknown how many of the new workers will move into the Fredericksburg region and how many will commute here from Northern Virginia. A U.S. 1 road-widening project is planned in the area.

Early indications are that the looming BRAC jobs are already having an effect on the region. Stafford's economic indicators--including taxable sales, housing prices and building permits--appear to be improving more rapidly than the overall Fredericksburg region's.

The Silver Cos. is making plans to build a third 140,000-square-foot office building at the nearby Quantico Corporate Center to house government contractors looking for close access to the new building and the rest of the growing Quantico base--showing the offshoot effects that the military jobs will have. The first two QCC buildings are full and sold last year to the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust for $68 million.

Additional office developments are planned along Garrisonville Road in Stafford, and the nearby mixed-use Town Center at Aquia is gearing up for development following years spent stumbling through the recession.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: bfreehling@freelancestar.com