2018 Arlington County Board

Members of the 2018 Arlington County Board include Erik Gutshall, Vice Chairman Christian Dorsey, Chairman Katie Cristol, John Vihstadt and Libby Garvey.

Arlington taxpayers will be on the hook for nearly $8 million over 10 years to subsidize a lease that will retain the Office of Naval Research in the county.

The incentive package, approved by the County Board July 14, will keep the federal agency in its current 314,000 square feet of office space in Ballston.

Keeping the agency in Arlington “is a vital component of the science-and-technology research cluster in Ballston,” Arlington Economic Development officials said in a pitch to County Board members.

The funding, to be paid out at just over $780,000 per year, will allow the property owner to lower the rental rate by $2.50 per square foot. The funding will flow directly to the property owner (an investment group).

Arlington officials have come under criticism in recent years for offering incentives to attract and retain office tenants. Officials counter that the incentives are needed to keep Arlington competitive at a time when office-vacancy rates in the county remain historically, and stubbornly, high.

The lease extension will keep the Office of Naval Research in Arlington through at least Sept. 1, 2027.