C-Ville looks at NGIC and DIA

Will Goldsmith with the C-Ville consistently produces outstanding work. Today is no exception. In just over 4,000 words, he provides one of the best, most insightful analyses I’ve read. (and gets a few swipes in at the DP)

But military intelligence isn’t likely to improve our quality of life in the way UVA does. It won’t have a repertory theater or beautiful public buildings or a world-class library accessible to all. It won’t provide anything accessible to all. In that sense, it is not much different than a GE.

With the DIA relocation, some people will clearly win: a few locals who successfully switch careers; qualified UVA students who want to stick around after graduation; engineers and analysts who want to resettle near an idyllic college town; the UVA research park and University employees who teach classes needed for military intelligence; developers with land near NGIC—most especially Wendell Wood and his heirs, who stand to keep selling land to the U.S. government as long as Rivanna Station keeps needing it.

For most of us, however, it’s a mixed bag. There will probably be a few new restaurants around Hollymead. A nice new couple could move in next door. Traffic will pick up even more on 29 North, and the northern Albemarle schools could fill up faster. Services from the county will likely decline unless taxes go up. For some, that trade-off will be worthwhile; others will grumble.

Is the NGIC expansion and DIA relocation a good thing for our region? Absolutely. Is it the panacea that is going to turn the Charlottesville regional real estate market around?


Realtor Jim Duncan says expect homes to be bought within a 45-minute drive of the DIA building. “I think it’s not going to be centralized around the 29 North region in Greene, Ruckersville, northern Albemarle,” stated Duncan.

As for the area real estate market, Duncan says expect some of the 3400 “for sale” signs to disappear, but he expects a lot of families to rent. Duncan contends this staggered move will not be a silver bullet. “It’s not going to be the thing that’s going to turn our market around,” he said.

The question about whether the DIA and NGIC groups would hire locally is one that has been asked for years (and answered eloquently by a commenter here on ReaCentralVA in 2007)*

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.

This is a very small sampling of homes for sale that meet the NGIC/DIA criteria –

[idx-listings linkid=”18516″ count=”5″]

* I so wish the Daily Progress had not nuked their valuable archives.

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  1. John January 26, 2010 at 14:11

    I agree, I doubt that it’s going to be a huge jump that some people hope for (or fear, I suppose). My problem is, how do I find employment with NGIC/DIA? I’ve tried the usual channels, websites, contractors, etc, and hit dead ends. I don’t have clearance now, which I know is huge, but that shouldn’t make it impossible, right?

    If I find a job there I will definitely be needing you to help me find a house closer in 🙂

    Anyone else, thoughts?

  2. Jim Duncan January 26, 2010 at 15:22

    John –

    Thanks for the comment. I honestly don’t know other than what you’re doing – contacting the recruiters with the various firms, networking … I’ve seen some job postings on Twitter.

  3. Kari Rippetoe January 27, 2010 at 10:14

    My husband is a government contractor working at NGIC. He already had a TS clearance when he landed that job, and he just needed to be “read on” to the slightly higher TS/SCI clearance; however, before that he just didn’t have access to certain information. When he first went through the clearance process for his first govt contract job in the DC area 5 years ago, he was allowed to work, but he had to be escorted into the building and to certain areas. Might be the same thing here.

    What we’ve both learned is that getting a government or contract job can be as much about who you know. Not all jobs are posted publicly, so networking with people who are inside is an absolute must.

    1. John January 27, 2010 at 11:44

      Thanks for the info Kari. I know exactly one person working up there so far. I have heard that they have some contractors working “across the street”, where it doesn’t matter that they don’t yet have clearance. But I’m sure you’re right about needing to know someone.


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