NGIC and DIA – What’s the Impact on the Charlottesville Real Estate Market?

One would think the NGIC/DIA move to the growing Rivanna Station Military Base would have a significant impact on the Charlottesville real estate market, and broader economy – NGIC, DIA, JUIAF, DOD … is Charlottesville really ready for this many more acronyms?

Right Now*, There are:

- 289 Homes for Sale within five miles of the NGIC/DIA facility on 29 North.

- 113 have “NGIC” in the public remarks. (one of these listings is mine, and it’s GREAT.) Update 3 May 2010: FranklyMLS shows 188 results with “NGIC “.

- 127 homes within a five mile radius of NGIC/DIA have gone under contract since the first of the year; 29 of these had “NGIC” in the public remarks.

Update 4 May 2010: From a comment on Facebook, I (and hopefully others) get an education.* We all knew that NGIC wasn’t moving and that DIA is, but the two entities are so often referred to in the same sentence … links & bolding added by me.

I think there is a big misperception on this move, as a result of BRAC 2005 legislation. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is moving. NGIC isn’t moving; they are already located in C’ville.

Some additional information: DIA works for the Department of Defense, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). NGIC works for the United States Army. More specifically, they are subordinate to the US Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (also known as INSCOM). While we have similar customers, there are major differences between our organizations. DIA is a National Level Intelligence Agency. NGIC is a service center that supports the US Army. Similar to the Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) — ONI is a service center that provides intelligence support to the Navy. More fun facts — DIA’s Director is a 3-star general, while NGIC’s Commander is an Army Colonel (O6).

People not understanding the difference between NGIC and DIA, and thinking we are one of the same has been my biggest frustration with this move/transition to Charlottesville. BRAC legislation wanted us to be co-located, to enhance communication, and breakdown barriers. Ultimately, in the end, everything that we will be doing will be in direct support of our national security, and our individual mission requirements.

Thankfully, NGIC has been such a large part of Albemarle County, and Charlottesville, the community has welcomed DIA with open arms. I am excited to be moving this summer.

Make no mistake, people are moving to the Charlottesville area for NGIC and DIA – see the comments … Just not as many as may have been anticipated. I’m curious as to whether the new chief of field support activity at the DIA would be willing/able to disclose what percentage of the move is complete and what percentage of those relocated have purchased.

The DIA is building a Joint-Use Intelligence Analysis Facility at Rivanna Station. The DIA is scheduled to relocate more than 800 of its employees to the facility by September 2011, according to the DIA.

NGIC Homes for sale in Charlottesville and Albemarle

Homes for Sale near NGIC and DIA

I think this comment from 2007 says it best regarding hiring locally:

I’m sure contractors in particular will make some effort to hire locally — nobody wants to pay relocation money. But understand that obtaining a new clearance, probably higher than TS, for most of the professional jobs at NGIC will be a long process (12 to 18 months), and site security policy may not allow personnel into the building until a clearance is finally granted.

In that case, two issues apply. #1, even if it takes 2-4 months and several thousand dollars to relocate, a pre-cleared person from DC or straight out of the uniformed services can come on much faster than Sara’s fresh, uncleared UVa graduate. #2, assuming that fresh, uncleared Hoo gets hired, what’s s/he going to do for the next 12-18 months while awaiting clearance? In the DC area, there are other government jobs where that kind of movement is expected, and the large contractors sometimes have other assignments in which to “stash” their personnel awaiting clearance. That infrastructure isn’t present here.

There are lots of ways to try to find a job at NGIC/DIA. In fact, ClearanceJobs.com lists 21 positions in Charlottesville. Yahoo answers has a decent conversation as well.

The NGIC effect has been much less than anticipated. However, it’s hard ignore the positive impacts of the NGIC/DIA move to Charlottesville. Quite a few people have been moving to and buying homes in the Charlottesville area due to the NGIC/DIA relocation, and I suspect there will be more as the move continues its phase-in over the next few years. How many more is anybody’d guess.

For those who are confident they will live in the Charlottesville area for a good while, buying makes sense. This is the anticipated “final move” for quite a few people.

Why aren’t some buying?

- A lot of those relocating aren’t moving here for a 5-10 year timeframe, but more of a 2-3 year timeframe. Renting makes more sense for these people.

- Some can’t buy because they can’t sell in their home markets.

- Some are commuting from NoVa to Charlottesville.

Related reading:

- C-Ville’s look at NGIC/DIA – one of the best stories to date.

- NGIC and DIA – Who’s Moving Here?

- 5k Population Impact thanks to DIA/NGIC

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* I would think most buildings should be designed to be “noncollapsible,” no?

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