It aint’ Amazon HQ2, but it’s still a pretty big deal. Bechtel Corp., the global engineering and construction firm, announced its intention yesterday to move its headquarters from San Francisco to Reston.
The Reston office, which had relocated from Frederick, Md., in 2011, has functioned as the de facto “operational headquarters, with CEO Brendan Bechtel based there along with 1,300 other employees. But the move has big symbolic value because the the company had claimed San Francisco as its HQ for more than a century.
The company has asked about 150 employees to relocate to Reston from San Francisco and Houston. Executives are hoping that consolidation in Reston will enable more streamlined decision-making, reports the Washington Post. Even in the Internet era, it seems, there is value to keeping key employees in close proximity to one another.
Proximity to the federal government doesn’t hurt either. “Today a large portion of Bechtel’s revenue comes from government contracts for major infrastructure projects,” writes the Post. “It was the eighth-largest recipient of federal contract dollars last year, taking in $5.5 billion from the U.S. government, most of it from the Defense Department and the Energy Department.”
Bacon’s bottom line: As the national center of political power, the Washington metropolitan area is rapidly becoming a national center of business power. Corporations gravitate to Washington to be closer to the nation’s largest buyer of goods and services, the federal government, as well as to the center of lawmaking and regulatory rule making.
The governor’s office normally issues a press release for every economic development deal consummated by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, along with details of state and local grants, tax breaks and incentives, but none was forthcoming for Bechtel. There was none from the Fairfax Economic Development Authority either. The allure of doing business near Washington is so great, it appears, that there was no need to bribe Bechtel to move its headquarters.
From a prestige perspective, snagging Bechtel confers considerable bragging rights upon Fairfax County, which is home to eight Fortune 500 companies. Bechtel is one of the largest privately owned corporations in the United States, generating 2016 revenue of $33 billion.There are currently no comments highlighted.