What went wrong for the state of Maryland in its quest to persuade General Dynamics to locate its headquarters north of the Potomac River? The answer seems to be that the Free State isn't close enough to the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and two of Washington's three regional airports.
With those geographic factors weighing heavily against Maryland, it was little wonder that General Dynamics, the nation's second-largest defense contractor, selected Northern Virginia as its new corporate locale. The company decided to move its main office from St. Louis to the Washington area so 200 top officials could be close to prime customers in the military and key decision-makers on the armed services committees. It didn't hurt, either, that General Dynamics already has a 60-person office in Arlington, Va.
Virginia won this contest even though the Schaefer administration in Annapolis quickly put together a far superior assistance package, including $2.5 million for training new workers and for relocation costs. That was $2 million more than Virginia's offer. Gov. William Donald Schaefer pulled out all the stops to woo General Dynamics, including a posh dinner at the Governor's Mansion. Still, Maryland had two strikes against it before the bidding began.