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BDM International, Inc. (TRW)

Experience Helps Secure Coveted Site

In late 1995, BDM International, Inc. (later acquired by TRW) began searching for a new headquarters building of more than 225,000 square feet in Fairfax County. Soon, BDM executives realized the scarcity of appropriate buildings meant the company would have to consider a build-to-suit.

“We knew we needed someone as experienced as possible in the building business to help us,” says Diane Reboulet, Director of Real Estate Operations and a member of the BDM relocation team. “We felt confident once we had someone with Jim Wright’s experience representing our interests.”

Anticipating the turnaround in Reston
Wright identified a desirable site for BDM in Reston, VA. By studying local real estate trends, he had a hunch Reston would once again become a northern Virginia hot spot for office development after the overdevelopment in the early 1980s. That meant the site identified for BDM might soon be snatched up by competing corporations.

“The site in Reston was a great parcel because it fit so many of BDM's requirements — a prominent position by the Dulles Toll Road, proximity to amenities, and enough room for a 12-story building,” says Wright. “I knew BDM execs had to move quickly and decisively.”

They did — and their trust in Wright's real estate experience was rewarded. “BDM secured the best possible site at the lowest possible cost,” says Ray Ritchey, Executive Vice President of Boston Properties. “Jim has the unique ability to combine real estate professionalism with a sense of integrity and honesty. His facts are always in order.”

Navigating the finances
As a federal government contractor, BDM had to comply with Federal Acquisition Regulations. Ultimately, the company decided to go with a straight lease to avoid any complications with the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

Wright's financial background proved invaluable in the transaction. “The fact that Jim was a CPA helped a great deal,” Reboulet says. “He helped us understand the complex real estate acquisition issues as well as the government accounting issues – so we could make the best decision for BDM.”

Creating a win-win transaction
Having decided against owning part or all of the building BDM, executives wanted Wright to negotiate the lowest-possible rental rate and terms.

“I was really getting squeezed between BDM and the developer,” Wright says. To make certain he did everything possible to get the best rate for BDM, Wright ordered a series of financial models with the company’s specifications.

That was the key to making BDM comfortable — BDM learned it had already achieved the lowest possible rental-rate, one that ended up saving the company millions of dollars. Moreover, the tenant and developer avoided an adversarial situation. “The depth of Jim’s experience in real estate made a very complex process manageable,” says Jim Green, then senior vice president of administration for BDM. “He was invaluable in pulling our team together to look at all aspects of the transaction — finances, project management, architectural issues, and dealing with the developer.”

“I build long-term relationships with my clients,” Wright says. “I work to make certain that everyone ends up happy with the entire transaction — and confident they got what they needed.”

BDM International, Inc. (TRW)
Reston, VA

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